On 28 March the CPSU hosted an event for safeguarding representatives from key stakeholder organisations and home country safeguarding partnerships to reflect upon the recent allegations of historical abuse in football and sport more widely.
The event also took a look at the good safeguarding work already taking place in sports organisations across the country and how we can build on that to make sure young people enjoy sport in a safe environment.
Throughout the day the audience heard from a number of speakers from the agencies and organisations involved in the recent football abuse cases about how they responded to concerns, worked together and the lessons learnt from the experience.
Jayne Molyneux, Youth Strategic Lead at Sport England, discussed the report presented to the Minister for Sport in light of these allegations, which has made recommendations about how current safeguarding arrangements can be strengthened.
Richard Fewkes, National Co-ordinator for Operation Hydrant, broke down the figures of the recent abuse allegations in football and across sport for the group. Richard also looked at the knowledge that can be gained from such statistics, such as when and how reports were made, ages of victims and geographical spread. This means the police can co-ordinate their response better, which will inform and lead to faster responses to large scale reporting like this in the future.
Rachel Tarr, Child Protection Co-ordinator for The Football Association, spoke about the changes that have taken place in the FA since the allegations of abuse in football. She informed the group of the independent QC report that is being carried out over the coming months, emphasising the FA’s willingness for transparency across the organisation.
She also highlighted the new validation visits to clubs to ensure compliance. They have required clubs to re-commit to the FA’s safeguarding requirements. They have developed a new victim and survivor support plan, to enable victims of abuse to access support they may need.
Rachel also shared a short film from their FA Leader Programme. Filmed in collaboration with the NSPCC and CPSU, it features well known football names such as Steph Houghton, Wayne Rooney, Jack Rutter and Nathaniel Chalobah, discussing the crucial four steps taken by safeguarding officers across the UK to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for young people to play football.
In the afternoon, we heard from Richard Harry at Sport Resolutions, who explained the current work of the Case Management Steering Group (see his presentation slides; PDF). This work includes supporting the capacity of organisations to manage cases and to develop a best practice model with supporting resources to help with case management.
Next steps identified by the group include providing tailored training to staff and volunteers with case management responsibility. They will also develop and resource a pool of individuals with case management experience to offer ongoing support and to advise individuals who have a case management role within NGBs.
As the day came to a close, the audience had some valuable roundtable discussions which were fed back to the room.
Some of the key points from these discussions were:
- the value in performing validation visits at a local level
- a request for training and resources on how to better handle historical cases of abuse
- a need to share information and best practice in regards to case management across sports
- making safeguarding an issue for all staff, at all levels of the organisation