• Surrey FA are one of a number of sports clubs backing the NSPCC’s Parents in Sport Week
• One in five parents wouldn’t know who to turn to for help if they had any welfare concerns in relation to their child’s sport
• Several resources are being launched to help parents understand their role in keeping children safe and who they can turn to for help
Surrey Football Association has backed an NSPCC awareness raising campaign advising parents where to turn to if they have any worries in relation to their child’s sport.
An online survey*, conducted on behalf of the NSPCC by YouGov, has found that over 20% of parents** who had children in sports and leisure clubs, wouldn’t know who to speak to if they had any worries about a child's welfare at their club.
A similar survey conducted in 2019*** found that 31 per cent of parents from across the UK with children active in an out-of-school sport activity, said they did not know who to contact if they had any safeguarding or child protection concerns about their child’s club or association – a higher percentage when compared to this year’s figures which shows crucial safeguarding messages are being spread.
This is why Surrey FA are backing Parents in Sport Week (4-10 October 2021) – an annual campaign run by the NSPCCs Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), aiming to equip EVERY parent with the safeguarding knowledge they need, and highlight the important role parents play in youth sport.
Phil Rendell, Designated Safeguarding Officer said: “This is a great initiative which Surrey FA always looks to support.
“We strongly believe that positive encouragement and involvement from parents not only helps children with their performance on the field but builds strong and lasting relationships between parents and their children.
“I’d encourage all parents and carers to take an active interest in their children’s sport and would recommend the FA’s page dedicated to parents for further information.”
This year, the CPSU have launched several resources aimed at parents, to help them understand their role in keeping children safe and who they can turn to for help if they have any worries about their child’s sport.
Resources include a free e-learning course for parents on keeping their child safe; a new animation which helps parents identify when something might be wrong in their child’s sport; and the new NSPCC CPSU Parents Hub - an online destination packed full of safeguarding information for parents.
This Parents in Sport Week, the CPSU has also issued three key safeguarding tips for parents in relation to children’s sport:
• Every club should have a child welfare officer in post - familiarise yourself with who that is and their contact details;
• Check if your club has a safeguarding policy in place and understand how that keeps children safe;
• Know that the NSPCC Helpline is there if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach the helpline on 0808 800 5000 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CPSU was founded in 2001 in response to a series of high-profile cases of abuse of young athletes. Since then, the unit has worked closely with hundreds of governing bodies of sports and local partnerships to provide safeguarding guidance and embed safeguarding best practice in sport.
The NSPCC have responded to allegations of childhood abuse and poor practice in several sports. In response to the volume of issues raised within football and gymnastics, the NSPCC established specialised helplines for athlete’s or their parents. Despite these helplines being set up specifically in response to high-profile allegations of abuse in these sports, the NSPCC want to encourage parents with a child in any sport to seek advice from the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 if they have any worries about their child’s experience in sport or physical activity.
Paul Stephenson, Senior Consultant at the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said:
“We’re proud to be running our annual Parents in Sport Week in its sixth year to help more parents be a significant part of their children’s sporting lives and to help ensure their experience is safe and fun. Every year since the campaign’s conception countless sports bodies, clubs and coaches have supported our aims and worked hard to develop better relationships with parents and carers.
“This year, the NSPCC wants to provide the tools needed to help parents and carers access important information to keep their children safe in sport, to spot poor practice and to empower them to speak out. We’re also continuing to support the tireless work sports clubs put into involving parents in their safeguarding process.
“We’ve come a long way in the past five years and there’s a clear impact on parents when it comes to their knowledge of safeguarding in sport. But we can’t stop here, every parent should feel confident about ensuring their child is safe and having fun and that’s why we’re pleased to launch our free, short, interactive course for parents.”
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Findings based on a YouGov online survey undertaken on 14 - 19 September 2021. 2,011 parents of children under 18 across the UK were surveyed, 910 of whom had signed a child up for a sports club. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
In the YouGov survey, parents were asked the following questions:
• Thinking about ALL of your child(ren) aged 18 and under. Are any of your child(ren) currently signed up to/ take part in, either by you or another guardian, any sports/ leisure clubs (e.g. a local football or gymnastics club, dance classes, etc.)?
• Thinking about ANY of the sports/ leisure clubs your child(ren) are currently signed up to/ take part in, which ONE, if either, of the following statements BEST applies to you? The question had the following options to answer: I would know who to speak to if I had any worries about a child's welfare at their club; I wouldn't know who to speak to if I had any worries about a child's welfare at their club; Don’t know; Prefer not to say.
• **Of the 910 who answered the second question, 15% answered ‘I wouldn't know who to speak to if I had any worries about a child's welfare at their club’, with 6% answering with ‘Don’t know’.
*** In 2019, YouGov interviewed 606 parents from across the UK with children active in an out-of-school sport activity. Of these, 31 per cent said they did not know who to contact if they had any safeguarding or child protection concerns about their child’s club or association.