In light of the football abuse scandal, our nation has had to face up to addressing a culture of abuse and lax safeguarding in sports clubs of all levels.
The NSPCC‘s dedicated football abuse helpline has heard from hundreds of callers who recounted being attacked by coaches who held their sporting ambitions in their hands. The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit works with 200 national sporting bodies—like the four UK Football Associations—helping them develop the tools necessary to keep children safe.
But we have nevertheless discovered worrying loopholes.
We are also calling for all those working with children to undergo the most stringent DBS check—not just those working alone with children. A huge loophole exists where individuals who would be ‘supervised’ by other adults—such as assistant coaches—cannot be background checked to see if they are banned from working with children. This creates frightening opportunities for people within clubs to abuse children. This loophole should be closed by the government to better protect children.
These changes make the law clearer, make it easier for clubs to apply the rules and can be delivered easily by the Home Secretary.
NSPCC Campaigns Manager for the Midlands