Posted on Dec 08, 2017
Allegations of abusive behaviour are reported in the media on a daily basis, and allegations of abuse towards children in sport is no exception. We commented on this previously when discussing volunteering at organised children's clubs or groups. While it makes for depressing reading, we should never grow complacent or stop our children from experiencing the fun and benefits to be had from participating in sport. It is encouraging to see that Sports Scotland has announced this week a new approach to Safeguarding in Sport.
Scottish Governing Bodies of Sports (SGBs) have always been expected to abide by Minimum Operating Requirements (MORs). This includes having a code of conduct and a child protection policy. Some have been more effective than others. A description such as “minimum operating requirement” does suggest “do only what you can get away with”. The focus now is very firmly on putting children at the centre of the sporting activity and satisfying the SHANARRI principles. For the uninitiated these are to ensure that all children in Scotland feel Safe / Healthy/ Achieving/Nurtured/Active/Respected/Responsible/Included. Everyone has a part to play in supporting the SHANNARI principles including SGBs, sports clubs coaches and volunteers and parents. Anti-bullying policies, listening to children and having a means to deal with wellbeing or child protection concerns are necessary to implement these principles properly.
This child centred approach is known as “Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport” and promotes best practice, values and behaviour. SGBs are actively encouraged to buy into this approach - a failure to do so will almost certainly limit their funding opportunities.
There are 8 Standards in total; four apply to children, two to adults involved in the club environment and two to the sports organisations themselves. These in the main build upon the pre-existing MORs. The Standards are summarised as follows:
Standard 1 - Every child is respected without discrimination
Standard 2 - Every child’s wellbeing is promoted, supported and safeguarded
Standard 3 - Every child is protected from abuse when taking part in our sport
Standard 4 - Every child has a say in our sport
Standard 5 - Volunteers and staff complete appointment and selection process to be considered suitable to work with children
Standard 6 - Volunteers and staff working with children are well supported to deliver our sport, while ensuring children’s rights are respected
Standard 7 - The sports organisation is managed well and accountable for keeping children safe in sport
Standard 8 - The sports organisation evaluates how it safeguards children and makes improvements where necessary
Enhancing safeguarding in sport is to be encouraged. Application of the Standards will require significant commitment on the part of Sports Scotland, Children 1st and the SGBs to publicise the new Standards and roll out awareness training across the many clubs across the country. Hopefully clubs themselves can get ahead of the curve and familiarise themselves with the new Standards. There is nothing too onerous if clubs are already using best practice in their sport.
Angela Wipat is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in family law and an Associate in our specialist Family Law Team in Perth. If you would like more information about child wellbeing and protection please contact Angela on 01738 621212 or alternatively contact any member of our Family Law team.
Categories: Family Law