What a month… The football world has been shaken not only by the tragic plane crash in Brazil, but also by the shocking revelations of an escalating sexual abuse scandal at some of the UKs most loved clubs.

How to spot issues when implementing safeguarding procedures for children

To quote the chairman of the Football Association, Greg Clarke, earlier this month, “The football child sex abuse scandal is one of the biggest crises in the history of the Football Association.” That’s some statement.

Fortunately, the attitude of many in the 1970’s - when these horrific crimes are alleged to have taken place - which prevented these allegations from being effectively reported have long since been challenged, but the question still persists: are we doing enough to protect our children?

Whatever the sport, we play, watch and discuss it for hours, because we love it. Football, rugby, cricket, hockey – sports that are all hugely popular at every age. From tiny tots to eager juniors, to those ‘more experienced’ (yes, the ones who still think they’ve got that magic touch). And for all involved comes responsibility, especially regarding children. The Sports Minister has now written to 40 sporting governing bodies urging them to make sure their child protection protocols are as ‘robust as possible’.

Whether you’re a coach, umpire or weekly volunteer helping out at one of the many grass root clubs across the country, you’re more than likely to come across youngsters at the club. Some more so than others. You might not think it as you stand in the freezing cold for three hours on a Sunday afternoon, but your presence could change the life of a victim of child sexual abuse.

Depending on your role, an easy-to-use online e-learning course on safeguarding in sport can give you sensible advice and tips on what to look out for to identify a child who is in trouble. The more contact you have with children, the more thorough the course you should be looking at.

Take up of these sport related courses with Me Learning has been rapidly increasing over the past 18 months, and with the recent footballing allegations, we’re expecting a further surge - the Lawn Tennis Association is just one governing body we are working with to develop tailor-made courses to ensure children are safe, whatever sport they’re involved with.

At Me Learning we offer a whole range of safeguarding online courses, all accessible from a PC/laptop with internet access, at a cost not much more than a decent takeaway for you and the kids. For safeguarding children at sports clubs in particular, we’d highly recommend taking a quick look at our Safeguarding in Sport e-learning course.

It’s only half an hour long and is a perfect introduction for staff and volunteers working with children in sporting environments, managers of sport facilities and parents of children who take part in sporting activities. The course covers the roles of those who come into contact with children through sport, describes what is termed ‘abuse’ and sensibly considers what can be done to ensure that it is recognised, stopped and prevented. If you’re involved in sport with children it’s definitely worth looking at.

As for the football scandal, it is something we can’t and mustn’t forget – what we can do, however, is take action now to educate ourselves on the risks to children in sport, so that we may avoid such terrible events in the future.

To find out more, especially regarding different levels of training that can be done around safeguarding in sport, email usor call 01273 499100.

How to spot issues when implementing safeguarding procedures for children