In partnership with Sports Integrity & Governance Partners (SIGPA), Leisure Networks has launched: ‘Safety in Sport – Guidelines for Educating Young Athletes.’
These guidelines have been co-designed with young people from the SEDA College. Drawing on young people’s lived experience and expertise, the guidelines speak directly to the themes of this year’s National Child Protection Week. Too many children are not growing up safe and supported and Child Protection systems are overloaded. Providing safe, supportive community sport opportunities gives children the chance to change their trajectory.
“There are millions of children and young people participating in sport across Australia every week,” explains Jesse Drever, Community Development Coordinator for Sport, Recreation and Health at Leisure Networks.
“For many, it is a source of physical exercise, connection and fun in a safe and inclusive environment.
“Unfortunately, our young athletes are not always safe while playing sport. There are risks from their peers, and risks from the adults in sport – the people they are supposed to trust. Additionally, many of our young athletes are not safe at home, and sport is the one place they can go for a break. Sometimes, a coach, manager, or another trusting person within their sport may pick up that things aren’t great at home, and they might need to step in.”
In response to this, Leisure Networks have been collaborating with SIGPA and students from the SEDA College for the past two years to co-design a set of child protection guidelines that target National Sport Organisations/State Sport Authorities, associations and clubs around effective safeguarding education for young athletes.
“There are National Principles and laws that all sports in Australia need to comply with to ensure they are doing what they can to keep our young athletes safe while playing the game they love,” says Sam Dellamarta, Safeguarding Consultant, SIGPA. “This includes having good policies that everyone can follow, having a culture where young athletes can speak up if something is wrong, and education at all levels, including for the children and young people from our elite teams right down to our grassroots clubs.”
‘Safety in Sport – Guidelines for Educating Young Athletes’ will help organisations create a supportive environment for every child when delivering sport to young people. This educational resource is designed to help adults in sport to improve the way in which they work together to keep our young athletes safe in sport.
“The ‘Safety in Sport – Guidelines for Educating Young Athletes’ are designed to help you, the adults in your sport, whether you are an executive in a state or national association, or a volunteer in your local club,” continues Jesse.
“These guidelines have been co-designed with young people, drawing from their lived experience and expertise to help improve the way in which we work together to keep our young athletes safe in sport.”
By working together to make sure every child in every community has a fair go, we can stop child abuse and neglect – and reduce its impact.
For more information about Safety in Sport – Guidelines for Educating Young Athletes, contact: [email protected]