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Question time

Contact is necessary for most sport

When choosing a sports club or leisure group for your child don't be shy to ask a few questions so you know they will be safe and well looked after.

A well-run club will welcome questions about their activities and policies.

The following key questions are based on guidelines from the Child Protection in Sport Unit.

  • Is the coach qualified?

    The coach should have a recognised qualification that includes child protection training.

  • Are there arrangements for away fixtures and other events?

    The sports club or centre should inform you about arrangements for the sporting event, including transport to and from the venue.

    Also, ask for information about the venue itself.

    If it is a long way from home, you should be given a contact number for use in emergencies.

  • Have all the staff and volunteers been selected through a proper recruitment process?

    This should include interviews, references and police checks for staff working with children.

    Staff and volunteers should be trained in child protection and health and safety procedures.

  • What health and safety measures are in place?

    For instance, ask if there is a leader qualified in first aid.

    Also, make sure there is a first aid box, arrangements for drinks, and guidelines about dealing with injuries.

  • What arrangements are there for your child's personal care needs?

    If your child needs help with using the toilet, feeding, or medication, ask how this will be catered for.

  • If your child or you have any worries, who can you talk to?

    The sports organisation should be prepared to listen and tell you what to do.

  • Is there a written code of behaviour?

    There should be a written code of behaviour showing what is required of staff, volunteers and participants.

    Avoid organisations that permit bullying, shouting, racism, sexism or any other kind of oppressive behaviour.

  • Does the organisation have a child protection policy?

    Sports and leisure organisations should have a child protection policy, with a clear procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse.

    Parents and carers should be able to view the policy on request.

  • What boundaries exist concerning club relationships?

    The club should have clear guidelines about physical contact and social activities between staff, volunteers, children and parents.

  • If I went to a new club I would want to make sure that safety, child protection, qualified coaches, insurance, first aid etc were sufficiently covered.
    - Kimberley Dight Smith, hockey coach


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