In this episode, we talk with former swimmer Karen Leach about her experience of childhood sexual abuse and what we can learn from it to keep children safe in sport.
We discuss the importance of creating a culture of safety where children are heard and robust policies and clear codes of conduct mean rule breaks can be challenged.
Looking after yourself
During this podcast we talk about childhood sexual abuse. This may be difficult to hear and, for some people, it may bring up distressing memories, thoughts or feelings.
Whilst it may not be easy to listen to, this episode includes important information to help all of us keep children safe in sport.
To look after yourself while you listen consider taking breaks, listening during a walk or before an activity you enjoy such as exercise or meeting a friend.
You will find links to organisations that can provide emotional support below.
Can’t see the player? You can also listen to this episode on our Audioboom channel.
- Carole Billington-Wood – CPSU Senior Consultant
- Karen Leach – Voices Ambassador, member of the Sport England Safeguarding Advisory Panel
An expert by lived experience in childhood sexual abuse, Karen is one of the leading voices in the international work against sexual abuse and harassment in sport.
Karen is a Safe Sport Advocate, an ambassador for VOICE (Voices for Truth and Dignity Combatting Sexual Violence in European Sport through the voices of those affected), a psychotherapist and a counsellor.
Karen is also a member of the Sport England Safeguarding Advisory Panel, the pool of European Experts on Sexual Violence in Sport and the Safeguarding Children in Sport Strategic Group in Northern Ireland.
Since the publication of her experience in the 2009 book 'Deep Deception Ireland's Swimming Scandals', Karen has been speaking out across the world to create a greater level of awareness and to encourage safer spaces for children, young people, adults at risk and athletes in sport.
"I felt supported to share my experience during this podcast and I hope it will help other people with lived experience. I also really hope it will empower listeners to take action to make sure their sport is as safe as possible for children and young people."
Helplines and support
- NSPCC Helpline tel: 0808 800 5000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org – helping adults to protect children
- Childline tel: 0800 1111 – for children and young people aged 18 and under
- HAVOCA – Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse
- NAPAC – The National Association for People Abused in Childhood
- One in Four – support in Ireland for adults who experienced childhood sexual abuse
- Rape Crisis – support in England and Wales
- Rape Crisis Help – support in Ireland
- Reporting abuse, getting support and survivor voice – resources for survivors from The FA
- Stop It Now! Helpline tel: 0808 1000 900 – UK and Ireland
- Survivors UK – support for men
- The Samaritans tel: 116 123 – a safe place to talk any time you like
- Waiving Anonymity A Guide - developed by The FA Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG)
- 5 questions to ask your child's club - CPSU poster
- Deal with a concern – CPSU guidance
- Engaging people with lived experience of childhood sexual abuse in sport – CPSU resource page
- Protecting children in sport from grooming and sexual abuse – CPSU resource page
- Safeguarding reporting procedures - CPSU flowcharts
- Sample codes of conduct – CPSU sample
- Sample safeguarding policy statement – CPSU sample
- Understanding sexual offending and the grooming process – CPSU webinar
- Report into child sexual abuse in sport – Truth Project Thematic Report
- NSPCC Learning Protecting children from sexual abuse – information for professionals
- NSPCC Child sexual abuse – information for parents
- NWG Network – tackling child sexual exploitation
- Sport England Safeguarding Advisory Panel - provides advice and support to Sport England and, where appropriate, funded organisations on aspects relating to safeguarding in sport.