Make sure child enjoys a positive experience.
If you are worried that a child is being abused or put at risk, it is essential that you tell someone. Trust your instincts. Don't wait until you are certain.
It is up to the person you tell to take it further and investigate. The idea of speaking out about abuse or poor practice in a club can be daunting.
You will probably feel worried about the impact on you and/or the child, but if you have concerns you must take action.
Once seen/told, it can't be unseen/untold. By doing so you will be safeguarding the child concerned as well as helping to prevent other children being harmed or put at risk.
If you see or hear of any bullying behaviour amongst the young people, report this too to the Club Welfare Officer.
If you think a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999.
If there is no immediate danger and you are unsure of who to speak to, call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for immediate advice. This is a 24-hour helpline. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out the club guidelines for recording and reporting concerns and follow them. Speak to the club child protection or welfare officer.
How to select the best club/session for your child
What should you look out for when selecting a sports club or activity for your child? A well run club/session will welcome and expect questions about their activities.
Becoming involved in your child's sports club can be a good way to help promote a safe and welcoming environment and almost all clubs will welcome offers of help. You may benefit as much as your child.
The leaflet below provides information on what to look out for and or ask about. If you would like a paper copy, please contact email@example.com
Good clubs will welcome questions.
Questions to consider
1) Are the coaches qualified?
- Sport coaching qualifications are developed by the sport governing body - Football Association, Rugby Football Association, British Cycling, English Athletics and so on - generally beginning at Level 1 and going up to Level 4.
- A coach, leading a session independently, must have a Level 2 sports-specific coaching qualification.
- Someone helping out a coach, may not yet have any formal qualification but the ideal would be that they have at least a Level 1 sports qualification. This should also mean they have up-to-date First Aid and Child Protection qualifications. An unqualified or Level 1 coach should not coach without the supervision of a Level 2 coach.
2) Are coaches/leaders suitable to work with young people?
- All coaches/leaders/volunteers who have direct and regular contact with young people should have been appropriately screened. This should include a DBS check and appropriate references taken.
3) Are the coaches insured?
- Coaches should have up-to-date, appropriate insurance cover.
4) What is the player/coach ratio?
- The recommended ratio varies from sport to sport is based on the age and ability of the young people involved, the risk involved in the activity, the needs of disabled young people within the group. Contact the National Governing Body for specific sport guidance.
Ask the questions you need to ask to ensure that the activities are safe and friendly.
Well-run clubs have policies in place.
Policies and procedures to look for
- National Governing Body Accreditation e.g. Club Mark, Swim 21, Charter Standard (football). These accrediations show that the club is committed to providing a safe, effective and child friendly environment.
- Safeguarding or Child Protection Policy which will detail how the club will deal with possible abuse, disclosures or poor practice.
- Code of Conducts for parents, coaches, participants.
- Public liability insurance
- Health and Safety policy
- Anti-bullying policy
For additional information, please visit the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) web page.
How can you support your child?
Once you've found the right club/session, make sure your child has the correct kit/equipment, a suitable drink, sun cream if needed and medication if required.
Make sure also that you:
- tell the coach of any medical condition or mediation required by your child,
- tell the coach of any disabilities or special requirements you child has,
- provide the club with your emergency contact details,
- drop off and pick up your child at the correct times,
- chat to your child about the sessions to make sure they are enjoying it,
- make sure your child understands the club's code of conduct for participants and who to talk to if they have a concern,
- follow the club's code of conduct for parents/carers.
Watch how bad parent behaviour can negatively affect a child.
Playing an essential role
You will play an essential role in encouraging and supporting your child's participation in a sport by paying fees, buying kit and providing lifts.
As you invest your time and money, it is easy to become very involved and passionate about your child's sporting activities and achievements.
Sometimes it is hard to maintain the right balance. This video provides a useful reminder of the impact your behaviour could have on the enjoyment of your child.