How to keep your child safe in a sports club
You can make sure your child has a safe and enjoyable time in sport by checking whether the sports club:
- has a safeguarding policy
- had Disclosure and Barring Service checks on their staff or volunteers
- has appropriately trained coaches and volunteers. This should include regular safeguarding training and recognised qualifications from a sport’s National Governing Body or World Federation
- has considered how the club keeps children safe on a day to day basis, and when travelling to off-Island events
- promotes the welfare of children. Whether they take a register, have first aid provisions, their coach to children ratios, how they collect and retain your child’s data and so on
Even though the club may appear professional and seem to have everything in order, you shouldn’t make assumptions about the way a club is run until you have checked it yourself.
Jersey Sport promote a set of Safe and Sustainable Sport quality standards that outline expected standards and recommendations for high quality sport and physical activity delivery. All sports organisations in Jersey should be working at or above these standards.
Spotting inappropriate sports club conduct
Inappropriate situations that may affect your child include:
- activities where parents are discouraged from staying to watch or from becoming involved
- individuals who take charge and operate independently of organisational guidelines
- coaches, staff or volunteers showing favouritism or rewarding specific children
- encouragement of inappropriate physical contact
- poor communication and negative responses to questions about safeguarding
- a “win at all costs” attitude towards the sport or activity
- children who drop out or stop going for no apparent reason
- invitations for children to spend time alone with staff or volunteers, or even to visit their home
If you think any of the above may be happening, contact the sports club, Children and Families Hub, or if a child is in immediate danger you must call 999.
What to do if your child has concerns
It’s important to teach your child what to do if they feel they uneasy or are being treated inappropriately by someone who is supposed to be responsible for them whilst they are under the care of a sports club.
This can cause them to feel uncomfortable or unhappy in their sport, and they may no longer want to take part. This can make it difficult for children to open up and talk about what’s going on. Try to talk to them and reassure them that what is happening it isn’t their fault, and you will ensure that it doesn’t continue.
If a child discloses a concern or you witness poor practice, you must report the matter to the sport’s local Welfare Officer or Safeguarding Lead. If you:
- have reported something and nothing has been done
- are unhappy with the outcome
- feel uncomfortable with contacting the sport directly
Contact the Children and Families Hub on +44 (0) 1534 519000. If a child is in immediate danger, you must call 999.