The Cornish Pirates have backed an NSPCC campaign to raise awareness of safeguarding standards in UK sports clubs and improve safety measures.
New research found less than four in ten parents actively sought to understand the safeguarding procedures of their local sports/ leisure clubs before signing their child up to take part in practice sessions, matches and competitions.
An online YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of the NSPCC showed that 38% of parents actively tried to find out whether basic safety measures were in place before allowing their child to join a club.
Further cause for concern is that 38% of parents said they had either never received or could not recall whether they had been sent any information about safeguarding measures by their child’s sports/ leisure club once they were a member.
Tackling these issues and encouraging positive parental involvement in youth sports is the aim of the NSPCC’s ‘Parents In Sport Week’ launched yesterday.
Joint head-coach, Gavin Cattle’s side join Premier League clubs Liverpool and Everton, former Lions captain Sam Warburton and sports presenter Charlie Webster, in supporting the annual event, which also calls on parents to make ‘The Sports Parents Promise’ – an online commitment which helps them choose a safer club for their children.
‘The Sports Parents Promise’ also encourages parents to be a positive influence when watching their child’s games from the side lines.
“Sport gives our children a great opportunity to develop and learn some valuable life lessons,” said Gavin.
“As parents, our role is to support, challenge and ultimately make sure our children are safe.
“The NSPCC have launched a great initiative ‘The Sport Parent Promise’. We at the Cornish Pirates fully support and wish the NSPCC the best of luck moving forwards.”
Michelle North, Director of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “Sport is a huge part of childhood with many young people spending countless happy hours practicing and playing and making new friends.
“Checking on a club’s safeguarding procedures before signing up will give parents the peace of mind that their child is in a safe and secure environment.
“That’s why we’re encouraging parents and sports clubs across the country to make our Sports Parents Promise, because it’s essential that everyone plays their part in protecting children and help make every sporting experience a positive one”
Every sports club and activity provider should have a welfare or safeguarding officer as well as a safeguarding policy and the NSPCC is encouraging every parent to find out who to contact in their children’s sport if they have any questions or concerns.
Former British Lions and Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton said: “For many young people, sport plays a huge part in their childhood, as it did for me, and now as a father myself I recognise how important it is that any child or parent who has concerns about safety, wellbeing or potential abuse is able to speak out and seek support.
“Safeguarding isn’t always a priority for parents when deciding which sports club their child will join, often overshadowed by a team’s success rate, subscription cost and the experiences of other families. If we are to make sport safer for our children we need to make it easier for parents to know how they can support a safer sports environment and give them the confidence and knowledge to act when needed.”