The NSPCC’s ‘Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the important role parents play in keeping their child safe and happy in sport and calls on parents to show positive support for their children in their activities.
A new NSPCC survey has revealed that more than one in four parents (28%) across the UK who attend their child’s sports club or activity said they have seen or experienced inappropriate behaviour. This includes shouting insults, intimidating, or threatening behaviour or fights between parents, guardians, carers or children.
The YouGov poll, commissioned by the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) to mark the launch of the charity’s Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week, also found that 68% of these parents said they or their children or both had felt uncomfortable because of it, and almost one in five parents said no action had been taken to stop it.
This year’s campaign is calling on parents to:
- recognise that negative behaviour, including at sporting events, can have an impact on their child and their enjoyment of their chosen sport or club.
- understand their crucial safeguarding role in their child’s sport and help keep them safe from possible abuse.
- get involved in their child’s sporting club or activity and show positive support. Sport is safest when everyone plays their role in keeping children safe, including parents.
The charity has launched a new video which explores how behaviour from the side-lines can affect young sportspeople. Titled ‘My No.1 Fan’, the short film features interviews with families talking about what positive parental behaviour and support means to them and how negative behaviour can impact children’s enjoyment of sport.
As well as this new film, the NSPCC CPSU hosts a wealth of resources and information for parents and carers on their Parents’ Hub, including a free e-learning course on keeping children safer in sport, videos, podcasts, and factsheets.
Senior Safeguarding and Player Welfare Manager at FAW, Sian Jones said, “Safeguarding is of the utmost importance to the FAW and we fully support the NSPCC’s Keeping your Child Safe in Sport Week.
“We would encourage all NGB’s and activity providers, as well as parents and guardians to get behind the campaign and explore the fantastic resources available to them to ensure a positive, enjoyable and safe sporting experience for children.”
Michelle North, head of CPSU, said: “We’re delighted that sports organisations across Wales are supporting this year’s Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week. We know that inappropriate behaviour has a negative impact on young people and affects their enjoyment of the sport or activity, which in positive and safe environments can bring a lot of fulfilment to their lives.
“It is important that sports organisations and activity providers not only work with their staff and volunteers but with parents too to ensure that children have the safest and most enjoyable experience in sport.”
Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, added: “Being your child’s biggest supporter can help instil in them a lifelong love of sport, and help them build friendships and confidence. It can also help you learn about what makes their sports club safe and how to spot the signs that something might be wrong.
“Our Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign highlights how important parents and carers are in a child’s sporting life. You can make a difference by being involved and supporting your child in their club or activity in a positive way and helping to spread the word about keeping children safe in sport.”
The NSPCC is encouraging parents to get involved and learn more about their local sports clubs and safeguarding. To find out more about being your child’s biggest supporter and how to get involved with the campaign, visit thecpsu.org.uk/parents