The importance of safeguarding training in Sports and Leisure

Every day, hundreds of thousands of children around the UK take part in hundreds of different sporting and leisure activities. Parents, guardians and those who organise and run the activities all share the responsibility of ensuring that the children who take part are safe and cared for during the fun. The organisers, employees and volunteers who help devise millions of hours of activities, from arts and crafts to sporting leagues, drama groups to cricket teams, potentially have another role to play. These people are a link in the chain of safeguarding that protects our children from harm.

Children who are in danger of abuse or are living through an abusive situation are often reluctant to tell a close adult such as a family member or teacher for several reasons, ranging from fear of reprisals from their abuser or worries about being accused of telling lies. Visits to leisure and sporting activities can sometimes provide a real release for a child or young person in a difficult situation. They are relaxed, with a trusted adult, and often at a safe distance from the source of their abuse. As a result of the change in environment, a child may disclose something or act in a way that points to a potential problem. Sadly, many instances of abuse go unreported or are disclosed several times before any action is taken. While this is a rather distressing fact, it is understandably easy for a disclosure to be misinterpreted, or the signs of abuse to be missed if staff or volunteers are not trained to recognise them. This is part of the reason why all organisations that deal with children and young people should have a safeguarding policy in place that includes training.

The range of training available from the will take the team through a series of modules covering areas such as recognising the signs of abuse, understanding what constitutes an abusive situation, the legal guidance and framework, and when and how to report and record concerns. The learning can be done all at once, or on a timescale to suit the learner.

There are two levels of training. Our Introduction to Child Protection online training course is suitable for anyone who comes into contact with children or young people, whereas our Further Child Protection online training course is a more in-depth follow on course for the nominated child protection lead person, such as the Designated Safeguarding Lead and their Deputy. Using materials specifically tailored to the sport and leisure industry, our online courses will bring teams up to required standards without the need for expensive and time-consuming face-to-face training.

Regardless of whether you are an employee in a leisure activity business like a soft play area or climbing centre, or you are a volunteer at the local rugby club or dance society, if you are in contact with children or young people, you have part to play in the safeguarding of your charges.

Our training is designed not only to make you aware of the signs of a potential problem, but to give you the knowledge of how to most effectively deal with it. The importance of a well-trained, child-centred team and a good safeguarding policy cannot be underestimated – it could be the process that brings an abusive situation to light and ultimately makes a vulnerable child safe.