Safeguarding Resources for Clubs and Sporting Organisations

A crucial part of child safeguarding is ensuring any person involved in sport knows how to manage a safeguarding breach. 

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    Reporting

    A crucial part of child safeguarding is ensuring any person involved in sport knows how to manage a safeguarding breach. You must follow the actions below if you suspect there has been an alleged breach of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy [PDF 592KB].

    Flow Chart detailing the steps that need to be taken if there is a suspected breach of the Child Safeguarding Policy

    Recruitment and Volunteer Screening

    The screening of new staff and volunteers during recruitment is a critical part of protecting children and young people in sport. Even though we know sports depend on volunteers, it’s important that we do appropriate checks of anyone who will be working with children and young people before they start. The risk to children and young people if we fail to do this is much too great.

    What is a Child-Related Position?

    A Child-Related Position is any role in your club, organisation or sport that involves, or may involve, contact with children or young people. When identifying if a position is a ‘Child-Related Position’, ask the following questions:

    Does the position/role…

    • Involve supervising children and young people?
    • Involve being alone with children or young people?
    • Involve engaging with children or young people in a way that is not observed or monitored?
    • Involve activities with children or young people away from the organisation’s usual location?
    • Involve direct contact (in a group, or one-on-one) with children or young people via phone, letter, email, online or social media?
    • Involve supervising child-to-child or young person-to-young person online contact?
    • Have access (online or paper based) to a child’s or young person’s personal and/or confidential information?
    • Involve the need for physical contact/touching of children or young people?
    • Involve transporting children or young people?
    • Involve overnight supervision of children or young people?
    • Involve activities with children or young people based out-of-town?
    • Have a perceived or actual level of authority (including from a child’s or young person’s perspective)?
    • Involve any other type of contact with children or young people?

    If the answer to any of the above questions is YES, the position should be considered as a ‘Child-Related Position’ and appropriate screening must take place.

    Additional considerations:

    • Position Descriptions – When advertising for Child-Related Position it’s important to develop appropriate selection criteria.
    • Interviews – Clubs/organisations should always conduct an interview when appointing a person to a Child-Related Position. 
    • Working with Children checks – A Working With Children Check (WWCC) is required where a person seeks to engage in child-related work.
    • Qualifications and registration checks – Where required, educational or vocational qualifications, or professional registration should be verified to make sure of their validity.
    • Criminal convictions – Anyone who has been found guilty of an offence that would make them ineligible to be granted a WWCC should not be placed in a Child-Related Position.
    • Reference checks – Clubs/organisations recruiting for Child-Related Positions should conduct a minimum of two reference checks for the preferred applicant to gather additional information about the applicant’s suitability to work in the role, including confirming their suitability and experience working with children and young people.
    • Appointing young people to a Child-Related Position – If a person under the age of 18 is appointed to a Child-Related Position, the club/organisation should undertake the same recruitment and screening process as for adults, including complying with relevant state/territory WWCC legislation, interviews, reference checks and relevant qualifications.
    • Training – Anyone appointed to a Child-Related Position should complete the Sport Integrity Australia Safeguarding Children and Young People in Sport Induction online course within 12 months of their appointment. The module can be found on our eLearning website.

    Recruitment and Screening Checklist [PDF 238KB] can be found here

    Induction of New Volunteers and Staff Checklist [PDF 2.2MB] can be found here

     

    Travelling and Transport

    Day trips to train or compete can be a great part of a child or young person’s sporting journey but they can also raise additional logistical and safety challenges for sporting organisations to keep children and young people safe.

    Clubs and sport organisations should consider the below before arranging travel with children and young people:

    • Day Trip Arrangements – These arrangements should be finalised as early as possible to allow adequate time to communicate with parents/carers.
    • Transport Arrangements – Transport arrangements should be made and provided to parents/carers as part of their consent forms.
    • Staffing and Supervision arrangements – The ratio of staff and supervisors to children and young people should be considered when planning for a day trip to ensure ample supervision of children and young people. The inclusion of staff meal breaks, or ‘down time’ should be factored in when the required number of staff and supervisors is being considered.
    • Emergency procedures – Emergency procedures should be established prior to the day trip to ensure the safety of everyone from the club/organisation attending.
    • Insurance – All insurances should be checked to ensure they are up-to-date and provide adequate cover of attendees and any additional liabilities. This includes insurance on any vehicles being used to transport children and young people.
    • Photography of Children and Young People – The club/organisation should be aware of the presence of photographers or videographers at the event. If any photographer or videographer will be present, it is crucial that the club/organisation provide this information to parents/carers and request their permission for the child/young person to be photographed. Ideally, this person should be easily identified with their credentials worn visibly, and identifying clothing, such as a high visibility vest or shirt with “event photographer” written on it.
    • Communication with Parents and Carers – Once all arrangements have been made and confirmed, parents/carers should be communicated with to ensure they are fully informed when consenting to their child/young person’s attendance at the day trip or event.
    • On the day – When arriving at the venue, staff/supervisors should set up all areas assigned for club/organisation use, including visible signage to associate the area with the club/organisation and checking toilets and changing rooms (if being used) are open and accessible. Attendees should also be provided with water, sunscreen and information about the event.
    • Post event – After the event is complete, the trip should be evaluated, and any future changes should be recommended. This includes seeking feedback from children and young people, staff, volunteers and supervisors, as well as reviewing any complaints/emergencies/safeguarding concerns from the event. It is also important to monitor social media sites after the event to ensure all photographs/posts are appropriate.

    For more information on the above and useful checklists you can head to Sport Integrity Australia’s library of resources and select Safeguarding for clubs and sporting organisations, or view the below PDF resources:

    Organising Day Trips Involving Children and Young People in Sport [PDF 1.6MB]

    Overnight or Extended Stays Travel Checklist [PDF 857KB]

    Day Trips and Competitions Checklists [PDF 857KB]

    Transporting Children and Young People In Sport [PDF 378KB]

    Holding Events in Public Areas

    Sport Integrity Australia has created an easy-to-follow Event Management Process [PDF 2MB] which details tips for clubs/organisations responsible for planning and running sporting events for children and young people in public spaces (e.g. on fields, parks or other areas that are open to the general public). 

    Child safeguarding - holding events in public areas

    Safeguarding arrangements must consider the needs of all children and young people under the age of 18 attending the event in any role, including members of the public.

    The event management process runs through the event lifecycle and includes the following:

    Pre-Event

    • Pre-event site visit and risk assessment
    • Supervision of children and young people
    • Staffing
    • Security and signage
    • Weather contingencies
    • Other on-site activities
    • Pre-event communications

    Event Day

    • Set-up process
    • Briefings for staff and volunteers
    • Briefings for children and young people

    Post Event

    • Review of safeguarding procedures

     

    Communicating Online or Electronically with Children and Young People

    In our modern world it is common to use personal devices and social media to communicate however these exchanges can become fraught with danger when it comes to communicating with children or young people.

    To protect children and young people from the danger of abuse, all electronic and/or online communication between an adult and a child or young person should follow these rules:

    • Do not send one-on-one messages between an adult and a child or young person.
    • Any electronic and/or online communication sent by sport personnel to a child or young person should include a parent/carer and a representative from the organisation.
    • All electronic and/or online communication that is sent by the sport, whether it be from a coach, team manager or any other official of the organisation, must ensure that the content is directly related to their official role (e.g., a coach informing everyone that there has been a change of game time or training).
    • Teams should use sport specific communication apps (e.g. Team App) where possible to communicate with groups and teams for the purpose of their role.
    • Adults should not add, friend, or follow children or young people on social media apps.

    Photography and Filming of Children and Young People

    Photos and videos have long been an essential tool for families to capture memories and celebrate the achievements of children and young people in sport. For clubs and organisations, digital content is one way you can engage and promote sport to participants, supporters, sponsors and the wider community.

    Photography and filming of children and young people in sport - team soccer photo

    Sport Integrity Australia has developed guidelines and resources to help clubs and sports organisations to safeguard children and young people from the inappropriate use of their images by applying the Children and Young People Safe Practices.

     

     

    Involving Children and Young People in Your Sporting Organisation

    Participation is an active process that enables children and young people’s views and experiences to influence and contribute to appropriate and relevant decision making. Involvement of children and young people will be meaningful and valued by the organisation.

    Children and young people are the lifeblood and future of most sports. Sporting organisations have a moral duty to involve them in decision-making. 

    Their right to participate and be involved is underpinned by: 

    Benefits of involving and consulting with children and young people

    • Recognition that children and young people are competent participants with valid views, ideas and experiences. Organisations become more responsive to this core group and more child-focused, with anticipated benefits in terms of retention and recruitment within the sport.
    • It provides opportunities for children and young people to provide feedback and raise their own issues.
    • Increased success and satisfaction in implementing services, projects and equipment that are appropriate and relevant to children and young people. Failure to consult may result in services and programs not meeting the needs of children and young people, leading to dissatisfaction and the loss of participants to the sport.
    • Increased empowerment, engagement and commitment by children and young people to participate and contribute to the organisation. Shared sense of ownership in decision making and creating change.
    • A greater sense of inclusion, improved child-adult relations and reciprocal trust, respect and feeling valued across generations.
    • Development of skills, experiences and confidence that can be applied across areas of their life.
    • The organisation can grow a valuable resource for consultation and involvement – in both the short and long term. Opportunity to create life-long participants in sport.
    • Children and young people are more effective in connecting with other children and young people in undertaking subsequent consultation or disseminating information.
    • The organisation models respect and support for the participation of children and young people.

    Core principles underlying the involvement of children and young people

    Children and young people’s involvement must:

    • Be based on their right to be involved.
    • Be based on honesty, openness and respect.
    • Be supported and endorsed by club leadership (e.g. Club committees/Presidents)
    • Be meaningful, not tokenistic.
    • Define roles and responsibilities.
    • Be adequately resourced.
    • Address diversity and power issues.
    • Build in feedback.

    Examples of engaging children and young people

    There are many ways that an organisation can involve and engage with children and young people to ensure that they have a voice and feel valued. Outlined below are some examples, this is certainly not an exhaustive list, and sports may implement a number of strategies to involve and capture the thoughts and ideas of their young participants.

    Involving young people and children in sport - young female tennis player prepares to serve in tennis game
    • Survey children and young people – Prior to making decisions on their behalf, for example what style of playing kit to order. Ask them. 
    • Include a feedback section for children and young people on the sport’s social media platforms. 
    • Appoint a youth ambassador. 
    • Establish a youth advisory group, this may include appointing a Board Member to sit on the group and for a member of the group to sit on the Board. 
    • When establishing working groups include youth representation. 
    • When undertaking strategic planning include workshops with children and young people. 
    • Provide an opportunity for children and young people to share their experiences, this may be by providing a designated section on the sport’s social media platforms solely for children and young people, moderated by a young person.

    More information on involving children and young people in your sporting organisation and the youth advisory group Terms of Reference document can be found here:

    How to Involve Children and Young People in Your Sporting Organisation [PDF 2MB] 

    Resources for Parents and Carers

    The Children and Young People Safe Practices are defined within the National Integrity Framework’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. 
    A helpful document of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ relating to several topics have been compiled to guide the Children and Young People Safe Practices and provide practical and tangible actions that can and should be followed by anyone involved in the delivery of programs, services or activities to children and young people participating in sport.

    Safeguarding resources for parents and carers - young family plays soccer

    The topics include:

    • Professional Boundaries.
    • Use of Language and Tone of Voice.
    • Positive Guidance (Discipline).
    • Supervision.
    • Use of Electronic or Online Communication.
    • Photographs or Videos of Children and Young People.
    • Physical Contact with Children and Young People.
    • Overnight Stays and Travel Arrangements.
    • Use of, Possession or Supply of Alcohol or Drugs to Children and Young People.
    • Parent/Carer Involvement.
    • Transporting Children or Young People.
    • Drop Off and Pick Up of Children and Young People.
    • Change Rooms Arrangements.

    For more information parents and carers can head to the Safeguarding section of the Resources page

    Or view the below PDF documents: 

    Children and Young People Safe Practices Do’s & Don’ts [PDF 5.3MB]

    Parents / Carers Guide to Selecting a Safe Sporting Club [PDF 931KB]

    Choosing a Safe Club: What should you be asking? [PDF 126KB]

    Checklist for Selecting a Safe Sporting Club [PDF 446KB]

     

    Resources for Children and Young People

    The information below is for young people aged 13 to 17 years old. Sport Integrity Australia has put together a National Integrity Framework Safeguarding Factsheet Catalogue [PDF] to help children and young people understand their rights and responsibilities in sport.

    These resources have been developed in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission and have been broken up for age groups 7 to 12 and 13 to 17 for ease of use and understanding.

    Safeguarding resources for children and young people - animated young karate athlete

    For children aged 7 to 12

    Learn About Your Rights at Sport [PDF 918KB]

    This Member Protection factsheet helps create an understanding of children’s rights – in everyday life and when they take part in sport.

    How Your Sport Looks After Kids [PDF 1MB]

    This policy outlines the requirements of sport for children in a clear and easy way to understand. This is also a useful resource for sports to keep handy.

    For children aged 13 to 17

    Your Rights at Sport [PDF 658KB]

    This factsheet has been created for teenagers to understand their rights generally and in sport.

    How Your Sport Looks After You [PDF 417KB]

    This policy outlines the requirements of sport to keep its child participants safe and it includes the following topics:

    • How should you expect to be treated?
    • What can you do if you feel unsafe or have been harmed?
    • Mandatory Reporting

    How Your Sport Looks After All its Participants [PDF 682KB]

    This document breaks down the sports Member Protection Policy for junior participants and outlines the expectations of sports to create a safe environment.

    How We Keep Your Competition Fair and Honest [PDF 522KB]

    Unfortunately, the growing threat of competition manipulation in junior sports means young people need to be made aware of the associated risks.

    Sport should be an honest contest, which follows rules to determine a fair outcome – win, loss or tie. The Competition Manipulation and Sport Gambling Policy sets out the rules to stop people trying to dishonestly change the result of a sporting competition or certain parts of it, for the wrong reasons. The Policy also sets out rules around betting in sport and reporting suspicious behaviour.

    Protecting Your Sport from the Improper Use of Drugs and Medicine [PDF 223KB]

    The Improper Use of Drugs and Medicine Policy has been created to help protect athletes in sport from the harmful effects of medicines (when used the wrong way), supplements and illegal drugs.

    The policy is in two parts:

    1. Rules that apply to everyone: Around the use of illegal drugs.
    2. Rules that only apply to some people: Around the use of supplements, medicines and injections for elite or semi-elite athletes and their personnel. In the policy these groups are called “Relevant Athletes” and “Relevant Personnel”. Your sport will be able to tell you if you are in one of these categories and whether these rules apply to you.

    Related information