Sport Northern Ireland (Sport NI) recognises its moral duty and legal obligation to protect vulnerable persons (children, young people and vulnerable adults) in sport through the creation and promotion of a safe environment which protects them from harm. Please refer to Sport NI’s Safeguarding Policy.

The term child protection has been expanded to safeguarding as it reflects the wider responsibility for health, safety and prevention as well as just protection from abuse. The word safeguarding has been used with increasing frequency over the last few years in a wide range of settings and situations. It may be defined as: Doing everything possible to minimise the risk of harm. Safeguarding is about being proactive and putting measures in place in advance of any contact with vulnerable persons to ensure that all are going to be kept safe. This could include:

  • ensuring staff are properly checked when they are recruited
  • guidelines for people who come into contact with vulnerable persons as part of their role to ensure they know what they need to do to keep everyone safe
  • guidelines for planning an event or activity with vulnerable persons and putting measures in place to minimise the risk of safeguarding issues occurring.

 Who benefits from implementing best practice Safeguarding initiatives?

By encouraging all sporting organisations to implement the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport, Sport Northern Ireland believe that everyone involved in sport will benefit including children, parents/guardians, vulnerable groups and sports leaders. Sport Northern Ireland has, in partnership and in consultation with a number of Governing Bodies of Sport, agreed that sports organisations receiving funding will be assessed against the following safeguarding standards for Governing Bodies of Sport:

  • Safe recruitment and selection
  • Effective management of staff and volunteers
  • Reporting concerns
  • Codes of behaviour
  • Sharing information
  • General safety and management of activities

 How does safeguarding impact the practices of Sport Northern Ireland and Governing Bodies of Sport?

Sport has a power to be a positive influence on children and vulnerable adults, providing the supporting structures and sporting environment that places welfare first. Therefore Sport Northern Ireland is working in partnership with the Child Protection in Sport Unit to encourage Governing Bodies of Sport and clubs to implement the practice outlined in Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport.