Sport clubs are responsible for safeguarding children
All sport organizations have a child safeguarding responsibility and ensure that their staff, operations and programmes do not cause any harm (accidental and non-accidental) to children. Any concerns about children’s safety must also be properly recorded, reported and monitored.
An i-Protect club will stand out as an organization committed to provide protective environments for children and young people. Successful completion of the i-Protect Programme will help grassroots clubs implement a holistic child-protection strategy.
Any grassroots club engaging in activities with children and young people and registered as member of a regional or national umbrella organization in their country can participate in the i-Protect programme and become an i-Protect club.
However, it is important to know that becoming an i-Protect club will not guarantee sporting environments 100% safe for children and young people. Inappropriately designed programmes and poor operational management can also put children and youth at risk in addition to the risk to children from power imbalances between adults and children and among children.
Being an i-Protect Club will make your organization stand out for:
- High standards regarding the protection of children involved in the club’s activities
- High standards regarding equity and inclusivity
- High standards of coaching and management
The participating sport club must ensure that it has met the requirements, that the members of the club have completed the e-learning courses offered through the platform and that it has developed the required documentation and structures aimed at safeguarding the children involved in their activities.
The 10 principles of Safe Sport
These principles apply to past, present and future athletes, from all ages, abilities, social backgrounds and identities.
- That the welfare, safety and rights of all athletes is the central consideration in the administration and delivery of sport.
- That all sports organisations work together with appropriate partners to prevent and respond to violence against athletes.
- That sports organisations establish and disseminate relevant codes of ethics and conduct that will help prevent breaches of safe sport.
- That all members of the athlete’s entourage including officials, support staff and sports coaches, leaders and instructors undergo appropriate education and training about safe practices as a condition of their qualification to operate, including the adoption of empowerment-based coaching styles
- That all members of the athlete’s entourage including officials, support staff and sports coaches, leaders and instructors undergo appropriate background or criminal record checks, and provide evidence of these to those responsible for hiring or recruitment
- That athletes be educated and informed about their rights to be safeguarded and how to report any concerns they may have about their own or others’ safety
- That reports of violence, and any actions or practices by anyone in sport that compromise the safety of the athlete, be treated respectfully and investigated and acted upon in a timely manner by appropriate authorities
- That individuals subject to complaints or allegations be offered due process with fair and transparent grievance and disciplinary systems, and with clear suspension, sanctions and reinstatement procedures
- That appropriate technology and communications be used to supplement support for athletes or anyone else wishing to make and pursue a referral about a suspected breach of safe sport
- That all breaches of safe sport are recorded and managed systematically and the data used to research, evaluate and enhance safe practice.
The benefits of a club participating in the i-Protect Program are:
- Clubs will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses in policies and methodologies regarding child welfare and protection and further develop them.
- Research-based e-learning workshops and courses on the topic of child and young adult protection will be offered to all stakeholders in the children’s entourage: the children themselves, families, coaches and sport managers.
- Clubs will find guidance in their task of developing a comprehensive child protection strategy.
- A club that addresses and is committed to the issue of child protection will increase the confidence when parents are to choose the most adequate club for their children. Even though being an i-Protect Club will not guarantee 100% safe environments, we believe that the risks can be drastically reduced.