Campaign aims to help parents keep their children safe from abuse in sport
Sporting bodies are backing a charity campaign to empower parents to keep their children safe from abuse when playing sport.
The week-long National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) campaign aims to help parents understand their role in keeping children safe and inform them about who they can turn to for help and support.
The Scottish Football Association (SFA), Netball Scotland, Strathclyde Sirens and children’s charity Children 1st are among the organisations backing the campaign, along with abuse survivors cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins (pictured) and former professional footballer Paul Stewart.
A recent YouGov study of 92 parents of children aged three to 16 in Scotland found that almost a fifth (15%) were not confident they could spot the signs if their child was suffering sexual, physical or emotional abuse at their local sports club.
Meanwhile across the UK the number of contacts to the NSPCC Helpline from adults with safeguarding questions or concerns about children in a sports setting has almost doubled in the last five years.
Michelle North, director of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “For many of us, it was playing at our local grassroots sports clubs as children where we first encountered a deep lifelong love and passion for sport.
“Every child and young person deserves to enjoy sport in an environment that is safe from abuse and harm and where they can play within a culture that advocates for their care and wellbeing.
“Parents and carers play a key role in keeping children safe in sport.
“This is why during the NSPCC’s Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign, we want to empower parents and carers with the knowledge, information and confidence needed to uphold child safeguarding.”
Ross McGowan, wellbeing and protection co-ordinator at the SFA, said the organisation is pleased to support the campaign.
He said: “We will work with our clubs and members to promote the campaign toolkit and encourage as many parents and carers as possible to understand the important role they play in the bigger safeguarding picture of sport.
“We hope that by promoting this campaign, more parents will ask those important questions around safeguarding when their child takes part in sports in Scotland, helping us to ensure our clubs are offering a safe, fun, and engaging environment.”
The campaign aims to provide parents and carers with the right knowledge and resources so they can make confident informed decisions when raising concerns with their child’s sport club, with information available at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/away-from-home/sports-clubs/
Sir Bradley said: “We must make sport safe for children, and make it easier for parents, and indeed all people in sport, to recognise and understand how they themselves can support a safer sports environment.”
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