While safeguarding can be a difficult subject to talk about, dealing with some tough topics like child sexual abuse and elder abuse, it’s important that we look at some of the positive actions taken to help motivate us toward creating a brighter future for children and vulnerable adults. These success stories recognise the efforts of those striving from better policies which help protect children in schools and clubs as well as improvements made by institutions to help properly implement safeguarding policies.
FIFA launched their child safeguarding programme FIFA Guardians in July 2019 as part of a major initiative to help all 211 organisations partnered with FIFA introduce stronger child safeguarding measures in football.
This includes a toolkit, developed alongside FIFA’s Child Safeguarding Expert Working Group, which can be used by youth clubs and other member associations (MAs) to outline the “five principles and five steps” that are crucial in protecting children and represent best practice in line with recognised international safeguarding standards. In addition to providing key information, the toolkit provides methods that can be used to effectively review current safeguarding measures, identify areas of improvement to prevent harm to children and implement proper procedures for raising concerns.
The programme operates on the premise that no matter what country you’re in and no matter your role, safeguarding is “up to all of us” in order to properly protect children. Training modules and workshops were rolled out to promote further awareness which helped to onboard each organisation working with FIFA. This initiative demonstrates a positive move from FIFA in tightening up the safeguarding standards of all the people who work alongside FIFA and emphasises the fact that proper safeguarding is a collaborative responsibility.
Education secretary Kirsty Williams announced new guidance in November which aims to put an end to bullying in Welsh schools. The announcement came just before anti-bullying week as part of advice which calls on teaching staff and support staff to take a more proactive approach to prevent bullying in schools.
The new guidance promotes the thinking that schools across Wales will need to have more robust anti-bullying policies in place which link back to established safeguarding principles and noteworthy behaviours to be followed up on, with proper process for recording and monitoring incidents to ensure they’re dealt with promptly and thoroughly. Accompanying the guidance is a range of new online resources and toolkits provided by the Welsh government in order to help schools create their own policies which are bespoke to the school’s needs while adhering to established safeguarding standards.
A more holistic approach to anti-bullying is a positive step to ensuring no child has to suffer bulling at school which can impact their development and mental health. By tackling it from a number of angles, Williams hopes that all learners can feel “safe, secure and are properly supported” which can be achieved via the implementation of effective safeguarding measures and a proactive attitude from staff.
After receiving an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted over summer 2019, Playclub Ultimate in Stockport took positive, proactive steps in order to get their safeguarding standards up to scratch.
The afterschool club had a safeguarding concern raised by a watchdog which prompted the initial visit, but since then the areas of concern have been dealt with properly. This included a lack of training for staff around dealing with concerns that children may be at risk of harm and general safeguarding principles.
Playclub manager Julie Longman put measures in place following the inspection to get the afterschool club up to standard and improve their rating. All staff were provided with the proper training to ensure they have the right knowledge to understand child protection fully and the wider issues which can occur. The procurement process for new staff was also overhauled in order to properly access the suitability of staff and create a detailed record to allow for full vetting. Regular supervision meetings were also booked in for each staff member to assess their training needs in order to cover skills gaps and ensure their development goals were being met.
With the new training and measures implemented, Ofsted officers came back and rated the club as ‘good’, citing that the steps which Ms. Longman had introduced helped to satisfy safeguarding requirements and would promote continued improvement within the club to properly protect all children attending.
This year’s nominees for the National Safeguarding Award have been announced for the 2020 British Gymnastics National Awards, an award which recognises individuals who’ve made a significant impact in the safeguarding of children within the gymnastics environment.
Abuse in sport is has its own dedicated area of safeguarding, looking at the prevention of grooming of children in sport as well as putting a stop to all forms of abuse, whether that’s psychological, physical or otherwise. It takes the collective effort of all those responsible within a particular sport to help prevent abuse and properly safeguard children involved in the sport, but it’s important to recognise the determined effort of certain individuals who go above and beyond to strengthen the bonds between those responsible for safeguarding.
This year, Michele Cowan of Abbey Gymnastics and Claire Saporita of Robin Hood Gymnastics have been nominated for their contributions to their respective clubs. By building good relationships between staff and athletes as well as introducing the right policies and keeping everything informed, they’ve successfully helped create the ideal environments for practicing safe sport.
Each of these stories shows a different form of success within safeguarding, whether it’s an organisation launching a new initiative, creating and implementing better policies, or the efforts of an individual trying to make safer environments for all. If you want to help be part of the positive attitude toward safeguarding, whether that’s toward children or vulnerable adults, then take a look at our online safeguarding courses so you can better understand the key safeguarding principles. All our online courses can be accessed instantly so you can start learning as soon as you like and can be completed at your own place. You can find our whole range of safeguarding courses here.