Concerns over safeguarding in sport

A recent Radio 4 programme dealt with the issue of safeguarding children and young people within sport. File on 4 reported that parents are likely to have trust in and leave their charges in the care of a sports coach.

A recent case has been tried and a sports coach with more than 30 years’ experience has been imprisoned for 10 years.

Statistics show that of the 652 safeguarding issues raised in sport in 2011, one fifth (124) were cases involving accusations of sexual abuse, with a furthr 134 accusations of physical abuse. However, there are fears that under the current system those who are accused can move to another sport or part of the country and work again in sport undetected. The Independant Safeguarding Authority (ISA) says that it is itself limited in what information it can share with other sporting organisations under the rules of the Data Protection Act.

However, a number of sporting authorities are now calling for the government to examine whether people should have to have a licence to coach sports and have a strong belief that a central body should be set up to gather and share information across sporting organisations.