top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Guardian

Sport England Launches £15m Safeguarding Network for Children

Sport England is to invest £15m in a “game-changing” network of 59 professional safeguarding officers to protect children and young people across sport, the Guardian can reveal.



The news, which will be officially announced on Wednesday, follows horrific stories of abuse in gymnastics and multiple other sports, as well as widespread concerns that complaints were not adequately reported or addressed.


The damning Whyte Review last year proved to be the final straw, with Anne Whyte KC finding that girls as young as seven had been sat on by coaches to “overstretch” their bodies, strapped to bars for long periods as punishment, and shouted and sworn at for needing the toilet.


Sport England is to invest £15m in a “game-changing” network of 59 professional safeguarding officers to protect children and young people across sport, the Guardian can reveal.


The news, which will be officially announced on Wednesday, follows horrific stories of abuse in gymnastics and multiple other sports, as well as widespread concerns that complaints were not adequately reported or addressed.


The damning Whyte Review last year proved to be the final straw, with Anne Whyte KC finding that girls as young as seven had been sat on by coaches to “overstretch” their bodies, strapped to bars for long periods as punishment, and shouted and sworn at for needing the toilet.


“And it’s a challenge for us. We’re not a regulator. We don’t have investigative powers. But obviously, people are looking for somewhere to go and I think that’s the question that needs answering. How do you make sure that if you’re a parent of a child in a community sports club, or if you have an experience or you see something that is wrong, it is not only reported but properly dealt with? Where can people go, if they feel their case to a governing body is not being heard?


“That’s where I’m supportive of the government to include the call for evidence in their new strategy.”


That strategy, published last month, stressed the need for greater emphasis on transparency around sport integrity issues and the need to identify opportunities for improvement. “Crucially, we need to ensure that we are developing the right solutions for the right problems,” it said.


“The language is all about what can be improved and what can be strengthened,” Hollingsworth said. “And I think that that’s recognising that some form of a more independent system for those complaints to be heard is part of the jigsaw. I think it is the most comprehensive and considered approach by the government towards the issues faced. And I think it’s a realisation that the status quo is not an option.”

Comments


bottom of page