A central goal for all those involved in sport for young people is to provide a safe, positive and nurturing environment where children can develop and enhance their physical and social skills.
Promoting a child centered ethos should go hand in hand with identifying and eliminating practices that impact negatively on safe and enjoyable participation in sport for young people.
The Irish Sports Council has recently changed the structure of Child Welfare & Protection (Code of Ethics) workshops for Clubs. The details of the three stages of training are outlined here.
All Coaches, Children’s Officers and Designated Liaison Persons (DLP) must first complete the 3 hour Child Welfare & Protection Basic Awareness Course. This course educates participants on the implementation of best practice in protecting the welfare of children involved in sport.
A person appointed to the Club Children’s Officer position in a club must have completed safeguarding 1 (Child Welfare & Protection Basic Awareness workshop) and should complete the Club Children’s Officer 3 hour workshop. This course will help the Club Children’s Officer to carry out the function of their role in the club and support the implementation of best practice in the club. Participants will also receive a Club Children’s Officer Action Planning document as part of the training. Club Children's Officers should be child centered in focus and have as the primary aim the establishment of a child centered ethos within the club. S/he is the link between the children and the adults in the club. S/he also takes responsibility for monitoring and reporting to the Club Management Committee on how club policy impacts on young people and Sports Leaders
A person appointed to the Designated Liaison Person position in a club must have completed the Child Welfare & Protection Basic Awareness Course and should complete the Designated Liaison Person 3 hour workshop. A club may appoint the same person to both the CCO and DLP positions however best practice advises that they are kept as separate roles. Every club/organisation should designate a person to be responsible for dealing with any concerns about the protection of children. The Designated Liaison Person is responsible for reporting allegations or suspicions of child abuse to TULSA Child and Family Agency and/or An Garda Siochán. It is recommended that this person is a senior club person. However, if there is difficulty identifying a separate individual to take this role, the Club Children’s Officer can be appointed as Designated Liaison Person once the club/organisation is clear about the responsibilities of each role. The organisation’s child protection policy and procedures should include the name and contact details of the Designated Liaison Person and the responsibilities attached to the role.
Code of Ethics courses are run by the Local Sports Partnerships (LSP's). Please contact your LSP directly.
The Irish Sports Council recently launched a Safe Sport app based on the Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children's Sport. It is an information and guidance tool for everyone involved in sport for children and young people. The app is aimed at creating greater awareness and understanding about safeguarding and best practice principles in children's sport.