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Child safe sport tips for clubs

There are many ways sport clubs can protect children from harm and abuse.  Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, which ran from 2013-2017, identified 10 child safe organisation standards.

Each standard is outlined below and we’ve added some practical tips for clubs.

Clubs should always check the child safe policies and programs of their peak body first.

Leadership and culture

Child safety is embedded in sport club leadership, governance and culture:

  • Develop a child safety commitment statement 
  • Have staff and volunteers comply with codes of conduct that set out behavioural standards 
  • Regularly discuss child safety e.g. at meetings, inductions, training 
  • Develop a risk plan – identify and mitigate risks to children at your club
  • Appoint a volunteer to oversee child safety and drive good culture

Access resources and templates

Involve children and young people

Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously:

  • Set up a youth advisory group at your club – get ideas from young people
  • Ask kids to provide feedback in a way that’s friendly to them e.g. social media survey
  • Talk to kids about safety at your club, let them know how you keep them safe
  • Ask kids how they’d like to contribute

Policies and procedures 

Document how your sport organisation is child safe:

  • Develop or review your child safe policies and procedures
  • Communicate policies and procedures regularly
  • Educate staff, volunteers and members, so they understand and implement the policies

Access resources and templates

Human resources

People working with children are suitable and supported:

  • Working with Children Checks are a legal requirement in NSW
  • Use accredited coaches and officials 
  • Run inductions for staff and volunteers 
  • Recruitment, paid and voluntary, emphasises child safety 
  • Supervision and people management has a child safety focus

When teams travel interstate, be aware Working with Children Check requirements vary between states/territories. Check Play by the Rules for details.

Complaints 

Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused:

  • Notify authorities if there is a suspicion or disclosure of child abuse 
    – NSW Police - call 000 if a child is in immediate danger
    – Family and Community Services - Child Protection Helpline 132 111
  • Develop or review your complaint handling policy
  • Make sure complaints processes are understood by children, staff, families and volunteers 
  • Encourage everyone to come forward and report misconduct by kids or adults
  • Take complaints seriously and respond promptly and thoroughly

Access resources and templates

Training and education

Staff and volunteers are continually trained and educated:

Environments

Physical and online environments minimise opportunities for abuse to occur:

  • Identify and mitigate risks in the online and physical environment eg. signage in change rooms outlining what is and isn’t allowed
  • Ensure the online environment is used in accordance to club code of conduct and policies

Involvement

Families and communities are informed and involved:

  • Communicate with families about your child safety approach, often and in a variety of ways e.g. newsletter, website, induction, parent handbooks etc
  • Get input from families on your club policies and practices

Equity

Equity is promoted and diversity respected:

  • Make sure all children have access to information, support and complaints processes - this could be written, online, signage or pictures
  • Give particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Review

Child safe standards are continually improved and reviewed:

  • Your club regularly reviews and improves child safe practices
  • Complaints and concerns are reviewed for continuous improvement


NOTE: These tips are a guide only. Each organisations is different. Clubs need to review their unique risks and develop child safe strategies accordingly.