Minimizing
risk

 

 

 

 

       © F. ZVARDON

 

Guiding principle
 

One of the protection instruments often suggested for professionals working with children is the criminal history check. By banning previously convicted sexual offenders, sport lowers the chances of new offences, committed by these people, against children in sport.

However, this is obviously not a solution for incidents of sexual violence in sport, knowing that most sexual crimes against children are committed by first time offenders (without previous convictions, so with a clear criminal history). A detrimental effect of a criminal history check as the only instrument in a child protection policy is the false feeling of safety. Still, the instrument is popular in many countries and often required for professional positions where there is interaction with children. A risk assessment consists of more than a criminal history check. Analyzing the static and dynamic risk factors in your organisation to minimise the risk to children is a more thorough process than a simple criminal record check when hiring new sport leaders. Staff screening criteria, contact with previous employer, infrastructure safety checks and an organisation self-audit are some of the complementary actions.

 

Tips from PSS+ partners and experts when starting with risk assessment procedures

 

  1. Identify risk situations in the organisation and establish mechanisms to reduce risks including emergency procedures (e.g. competition with overnight stay: avoid host families and coaches should not be alone with athletes). Use a checklist format and develop guidelines when a risk situation cannot be avoided.
  2. Engage all stakeholders in the process of reducing risks, including parents.
  3. Develop a code of conduct for your organisation (see area of action “Introducing a code of conduct and a code of ethics”).
  4. Consider additional vulnerabilities of young athletes (e. g. disabilities, etc.).
  5. Raise awareness and share information on how to report concerns about a situation.
  6. Consider checking the criminal history of youth sport leaders, as a valuable but not the only element in a screening procedure. Adequate provisions in national legislation should be in place. Other means of internal procedures are essential and advised (e.g. license to practice, having a specific license, conditions of employment, contact with previous employers, qualification, competences, etc.).

Examples of practices and initiatives

BØRNEATTEST – Children’s certificate

Organisation responsible: Ministry of Education (earlier Ministry for Children, Education and Equality)

Target groups of the practice:  Workers and volunteers who are in direct and prolonged contact with children (less than 15 years old)

Abstract: In Denmark, the children’s certificate was officially introduced by law in June 2005. The children’s certificate is a mandatory criminal record check for all new staff members entering childcare, teaching or other duties of care and responsibility. The children’s certificate applies to all. The general aim is to deter sexual perpetrators from seeking employment within institutional or organisational settings, whether paid or unpaid, where direct and prolonged contact with children less than 15 is obtainable. The certificate is a legal requirement that was implemented by the Ministry of Justice in 2005. All national commercial, non-profit organisations and public institutions stand behind the law regarding the children’s certificate. With relevance for sport, DGI (Danske Gymnastik & Idraetsforeninger - ‘Danish Gymnastics and Sports Associations’), National Olympic Committee and sports confederation of Denmark, National federation for Company sport, The Danish Youth Council and for all child welfare, and NGOs recommend the use of this practice.

Timeframe: 2005 - on going

More information available at: Description of the certificate (Danish): http://www.dbu.dk/klubservice/Klubhjaelp/tilladelser_og_formularer/Boerneattest

Detailed description of the project (in English)

Contact person: Simon Kjølby Larsen - Ministry of Education

Confidentiality and safer recruitment (video)

Organisation responsible: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), United Kingdom

Target groups of the practice:  Safeguarding staff, sports coaches, other volunteers

Abstract: Does your sports team or club have a careful recruitment process for people working closely with children and young people? This video clip will help anyone involved in sports activities including coaches, volunteer helpers, activity organisers, management committees, participants and parents.

Timeframe: On going

More information available at:  http://thecpsu.org.uk/resource-library/2013/confidentiality-and-safer-recruitment/

Contact

Safe recruitment and selection procedures (briefing)

Organisation responsible: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), United Kingdom

Target groups of the practice:  Safeguarding staff, sports coaches, other volunteers

Abstract: This briefing provides organisations with guidance on developing effective recruitment and selection procedures.

Timeframe: On going

More information available at:  http://thecpsu.org.uk/resource-library/2013/safe-recruitment-and-selection-procedures/  

Contact

Safer recruitment in sport (checklist)

Organisation responsible: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), United Kingdom

Target groups of the practice:  Safeguarding staff, sports coaches, other volunteers

Abstract: Help, advice and guidance to support sports organisations with safer recruitment processes and procedures.

Timeframe: On going

More information available at: http://thecpsu.org.uk/help-advice/topics/safer-recruitment/  

Contact