New safeguarding program puts members first

  • Integrity Blog

Having policies is one thing, putting them into action is the next important step for sports. Our Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program will help.

Australians should feel safe to participate in sport at any level and wherever they play. That’s why Sport Integrity Australia has designed a Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program – aimed at embedding safe culture into sport’s culture to ensure that all members and participants are protected.

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe said the program is voluntary and encouraged sports to sign up to better protect our athletes, now and into the future.

“With more children and young people being tempted by the prospect of a Brisbane Games, it is important that we do the work now to ensure that the pathways are safe for all, regardless of the sport they play,” he said.

“We need to put members first and ensure they have a safe, fun and positive sporting environment. Ninety-five per cent of the complaints that Sport Integrity Australia received last year were related to safeguarding and member protection, so it’s clear that across the board sports need to do more to protect their members.”

Participation in the Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program is open to any National Sporting Organisation (NSO) or National Sporting Organisation for People with Disability (NSOD) that is currently recognised by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

The Continuous Improvement Program will be contextualised to each sport’s needs, recognising that each sport has different risks and considerations. It involves each participating sport being assessed to determine the maturity of their child safeguarding and member protection practices. A tailored action plan will then be developed for each individual sport.

The program consists of three phases (Recognise, Achieve and Embed), with each phase taking a collaborative approach to implement child safeguarding and member protection requirements across nine core themes – all of which meet the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and best practice member protection processes.

Sport Integrity Australia will work with each sport to help implement each action plan by providing support, guidance and resources.

The objectives of the program are to:   

  • Build the capacity and capability of Australian sporting organisations to keep children and members safe.  
  • Lead a cultural shift which prioritises the safety of children and members, by empowering every level of sport.
  • Enhance organisational capability to respond to child abuse threats.
  • Bolster community confidence that sports are safe for children and members.
  • Enable sports to demonstrate their commitment to child safeguarding and member protection.

Mr Sharpe said the program recognised the work already undertaken by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, sporting organisations and clubs in relation to child safeguarding and member protection.

“The aim is to build on and complement this work. This program provides a nationally consistent approach to safeguarding across the sector so that the same standards will apply to every sport and at every level of sport.”

Visit the Safeguarding page to find out more, or email the Safeguarding team via: safeguarding@sportintegrity.gov.au

Related information

Safeguarding in sport continuous improvement program