The launch day in Alloa

Setting the standards

New approach to child protection and wellbeing in sport launched 

Children’s safety and wellbeing in sport are being further strengthened with the introduction of a new approach developed by sportscotland and Children 1st which is rights-based and child-centred.

The new Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport build on the current safeguarding system to include measures to create cultures in sport for children that promote, support and safeguard their wellbeing and enhance the existing Minimum Operating Requirements (MORs), which have been in place for more than eight years.

The sport sector has been examining ways to further improve child protection and enhance children’s wellbeing for a considerable period of time. In July 2016 sportscotland and Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity, began a pilot scheme on the development of the new standards with 10 Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs). 

The round-table discussion on 15 March 2017, hosted by Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, which brought key stakeholders together to examine the overall child protection system in Scottish sport, and included Scottish Government, Disclosure Scotland, CELCIS, Police Scotland, Children 1st, sportscotland, many of the SGBs, and third-sector organisations also helped influence the new standards when it examined the overall child protection system.

The Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport have been developed by Safeguarding in Sport – a partnership between sportscotland and Children 1st – to enable sports organisations to adopt best practice, values and behaviour in this critical area for children.

Linda Jardine, Aileen Campbell and Mel Young launched the new approach

Commenting on the publication of the Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport, Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: "Children’s safety and wellbeing of children is a top priority, and we all have a duty to protect them and raise concerns when necessary.

“Earlier this year I hosted a meeting of key stakeholders to discuss ways of improving our child protection system in Scottish sport. I also wrote to all sport governing bodies to ask them to reflect on their current policies and practices on child protection and to offer to work together to further develop our child protection system.

“I’m delighted with the introduction of the new child protection in sport standards and welcome the new approach from sportscotland which is rights-based and child-centred. I look forward to working closely with sportscotland and other partners as the new standards are implemented to further strengthen our child protection system in sport.”

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, added: “Ensuring children take part in sport and physical activity in as safe an environment as possible is of critical importance. We have been working closely with our partners in the Scottish Governing Bodies of sport, local authorities, leisure trusts, and clubs for many years and, collectively, we have developed a robust child protection system in Scottish sport.

Child-centred approach

“We are delighted that our partnership with Children 1st and collaboration with the sports has further strengthened the child wellbeing and protection system in Scottish sport in such a way that children will be at its very centre and help determine how the system operates. This new approach enhances the existing Minimum Operating Requirements by building on current child wellbeing protection policies and widening the approach to being child-centred and rights-based.”

Linda Jardine, Interim Director of Children and Family Services at Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity, said: “Sport can make a fantastic difference to children’s lives and every child should be able to enjoy sport safely.

"Children 1st and sportscotland’s Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport have been developed to help all sports organisations place children at the centre of everything they do. By continually improving their culture and practices in line with the Standards, organisations will create a safer and happier environment for all children to get the most out of sport.

“Volunteer and professional coaches are very often trusted role models for thousands of children in Scotland and can play a crucial role in keeping them safe. The Standards place a particular importance on giving children a voice in their sporting organisation. This will help to create a culture where children feel valued and able to speak up and where adults listen and respond to children’s needs.

"sportscotland and Children 1st’s Safeguarding in Sport service offers advice, education and training to support sports volunteers and staff at every level, to recognise signs of concern, to listen to and talk with children they are worried about and to take appropriate protective action that will help keep more children in Scotland safe from harm.”

Members of sportscotland’s Young people’s sport panel were consulted on the new standards as part of their role influencing and shaping sport, providing input and ideas into the process, the language used and the impacts on young people.

Find out more 

See the full Standards and Protection in Sport document.

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