Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. Content Vault
  3. Safeguarding Children and Adults in Sport

Safeguarding Children and Adults in Sport

Everyone in Wales has the right to participate in sport within a safe environment. 

Some young people, and adults at risk, have experienced abuse and/or poor practice when participating in sport. Some children or adults who take part in sport may be experiencing abuse outside of sport too - at home or within the wider community.

Substantial progress has been made in the safeguarding of children and adults at risk in sport, but we cannot be complacent when it comes to keeping people safe. Sport Wales are constantly reviewing and developing the support we provide to partners and the sector to ensure everyone can have a lifetime enjoyment of sport. 

How can sports organisations help keep children safe?

Coaches, volunteers, and officials are in the privileged position of having an opportunity to build strong relationships with people in their care and are therefore well placed to recognise signs that a child or adult may be being abused.

This can be achieved through being aware of the risks which abusers or potential abusers may pose, being aware of any signs that might suggest someone is experiencing abuse and responding to any concerns effectively.

Sports organisations should recognise the importance of ensuring the right procedures are in place that outline the appropriate steps to take in the event of a concern. It is also essential to make sure organisations have comprehensive policies that are up to date with effective and practical guidance promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk, which minimises any identifiable risks within the sports environment.

Safeguarding Children - Child Protection in Sport Unit

Welsh sport has a close relationship with the NSPCC through the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).

The CPSU is commissioned by Sport Wales to implement a set of standards for sports organisations in Wales. These are called the Standards for Safeguarding and Protecting Children in and through Sport in Wales.

As part of the process to work towards the standards, the CPSU work with governing bodies and other sports organisations on aspects such as safeguarding policies, action plans for communication with people taking part in their sport, and safeguarding education and training.

Their website provides resources such as a safeguarding self-assessment tool for sports organisations, best practice guidance, videos, podcasts, toolkits and webinars.

To find out more about how the CPSU can help your organisation, please visit the CPSU website.

Coach on rugby pitch carrying cones

Safeguarding Adults at Risk - Ann Craft Trust

The Ann Craft Trust (ACT) is funded by Sport Wales to support sport and activity organisations in developing best practice for safeguarding adults. ACT can support sports organisations by providing information, training on policies and procedures, and advice at all levels of organisations including:

  • Participants and athletes
  • Volunteers and staff
  • Coaches and Officials
  • Club Welfare Officers
  • Lead Safeguarding Officers
  • Senior Management and Board Members

Please visit the Ann Craft Trust website to find out more about how they can help your organisation.  

Sport Wales are currently considering a number of safeguarding developments to further support our partners, and the sector. The catalyst for this development has stemmed from several recent reports and recommendations, namely the review into British Gymnastics: The Whyte Review that was released in June 2022.  There are many learnings from this report that are relevant to the sector in Wales, and we encourage all sporting organisations to read the executive summary for further understanding. Sport Wales are working collaboratively with Welsh Gymnastics and the other Sports Councils to share these learnings and implement positive change over the coming months. We are committed to making the sector safe to ensure everyone can have a lifetime enjoyment of sport. We want Wales to be an active nation with as many people as possible inspired to be active through sport (read more about The Vision for Sport here). 

You can read an article by Ann Craft Trust ‘Reflecting on the Whyte Review’ here, and a statement from the Child Protection in Sport Unit here

Some changes Sport Wales have already started to implement since the release of the Whyte Report are listed below, and we will continue reviewing and developing the support we offer our partners and the sector:

  • Review and update our safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Cross reference the Duty of Care in Sport Report and what progress has been made in Wales
  • Gather insight on Case Management processes and procedures
  • Review our partner safeguarding and coaching forums, and identify areas for collaboration and impact
  • Work collaboratively with other Home Country Sports Councils on UK-wide safeguarding development
  • Continue to work with the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and Ann Craft Trust (ACT) to improve safeguarding standards for the sector
  • Review our approach to safeguarding in the Capability Framework
  • Explore culture change at board level and mechanisms to support progress
  • Work with sports on their safeguarding approach at club level

If you would like to discuss any of these areas of development, or have further feedback on the Whyte Report, please contact the Governance Team:

Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is a government service. It replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). 

It helps prevent unsuitable people from working with children and other vulnerable groups. It carries out DBS checks (previously known as CRB checks) which is a criminal records check. It helps organisations like sports clubs make safer volunteer recruitment decisions. Discussions about DBS and a review into its suitability for the sector is currently taking place. You can read more about safer recruitment and its importance on the CPSU website here

More information on DBS checks is available on the Welsh Sports Association Website

Alternatively visit our  Club Support

Safeguarding at Clubs

Grassroots clubs, other sporting organisations and activity providers, have a duty to protect children and adults and keep them safe from harm. That duty means putting in place a child and adult protection policy and appointing a trained club welfare officer. Sport Wales are keen to hear how we can support NGBs in providing the right tools and resources for welfare officers and those ‘on the ground’ working with children and vulnerable adults. If you would like to discuss developments in this area please contact [javascript protected email address]

To find out more about what clubs should do to help safeguard children as well as available training, visit our  Club Support

Lead Officer Support Forum

Sport Wales, the CPSU and ACT are committed to the sharing of best practice and a more joined up approach in safeguarding both children and adults in sport. The CPSU and ACT facilitate a monthly Lead Officers Support Forum (LOSF) which allows partners to network, share good practice, and receive facilitated discussions on safeguarding topics by specialist speakers to enable continued learning and development. The LOSF is open for funded partners of Sport Wales.

Reporting a concern

Should you have any concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child, there are several options:

  • If you think a child or adult is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999.
  • If there's no immediate danger and you are unsure of who to speak to, you can speak to your club or organisation designated child welfare/safeguarding officer, or call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for immediate advice. 

For more information on reporting a concern or incident, please visit our  Club Support