Coronavirus (COVID-19) and safeguarding in sport

Last updated: 02 Jul 2020 Topics: Safeguarding children Type: News article

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents new safeguarding challenges for all those working or volunteering with children. We will compile our latest information and resources for those in the sports sector here.

We know these are uncertain times with all our usual activities and competitions cancelled as clubs try to find other ways to engage their young members.


Phased return of sport and recreation in England

The government has released some guidance for the public on the phased return to sport and recreation. It includes clear information on the current rules for the number of people allowed to meet, what facilities can be used and what measures must be in place to return to sport. 

Government guidance differs slightly as lockdown restrictions lift at different paces across the home countries. Full guidance can be found on each governments website for England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

We've also written guidance on the importance of maintaining high standards of safeguarding as lockdown restrictions start to ease in the UK.  

Coronavirus tools and support

Sport England has created a Return to play section on their website to help organisations plan for reopening as and when restrisctions ease. They also have a How can we help? section which offers support, guidance and business advice to help organisations stay connected, support the community and maintain facilities. 

Remote coaching

We have released safeguarding guidance for sports clubs and organisations taking part in remote coaching with their members. 

This information highlights online safety processes as well as advice for conducting remote training sessions. The information builds on the NSPCC’s safeguarding guidance for schools who have introduced remote teaching.

Virtual classroom

In response to the current restrictions, UK Coaching are offering a new online version of their existing training course Safeguarding and Protecting Children (SPC)

The course, which is usually delivered as a face to face workshop, aims to raise awareness of the signs of abuse and provide learners with the tools needed to deal with issues sensitively, appropriately and effectively.

For more information contact UK Coaching.

Supporting sport parents during the pandemic

We strongly believe that working with parents is of benefit to children, clubs and sport organisations. However, we understand that during the pandemic, it's not always clear how best you can continue support parents. 

We've written some guidance with some suggestions on how you might adapt your work and communication with parents and some information on why it's important that you do. 

Changes to DBS

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have made some temporary changes to their guidelines and processes to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

These include amendments to the ID checking guidelines for urgent standard and enhanced checks - and basic checks when submitted through a Responsible Organisation. DBS have also published a safeguarding factsheet for community volunteers to address specific concerns that people involved in supporting their community may have at this time. 

For all of the DBS and coronavirus related resources please visit the DBS COVID-19 guidance page which brings together their factsheets, updated guidelines and frequently asked questions. 

Mental health and wellbeing

The pandemic and social distancing measures are placing a number of additional pressures on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They may be experiencing increased feelings of anxiety, low mood or loneliness and some will need additional support at this time.

If your club or activity is keeping in touch with members virtually you can start a conversation about this by signposting young people to specialist information. Such as, Childline's online coronavirus advice or Young Minds' coronavirus and mental health pages

We’ve also published new information about mental health and wellbeing in sport looking at some of the ways clubs can create a mentally healthy and safe environment. 

Dr Tim Rogers has produced an article for Sport Resolutions on understanding the effects of COVID-19 upon athlete mental health.

Helplines remain available

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, you can speak to the NSPCC helpline about your concerns on 0808 800 5000 or email 

Please continue to recommend Childline to the young people in your clubs and activities on 0800 1111

Further information

Related information