Guiding principle

Relevant Council of Europe conventions such as Lanzarote Convention and Istanbul Convention stipulate that states shall adopt specific legislation and take measures to prevent violence in all settings, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.


The Recommendations on the protection of young athletes and safeguarding children’s rights in sport (Expert group on good governance, European Commission, 2016) and the Council conclusions on safeguarding children in sport (Council of the EU, 2019) invite public authorities to develop measures and promote strategies to protect children in sport from violence and abuse. They also invite public authorities to ensure there is an adequate legal and policy framework to address the issue of safeguarding children in sport.


 Tips from partners and experts when starting with policy development and implementation

  • The strategy/policy should be underpinned by common values and principles based on a child rights approach and aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Developing a policy requires the skills and expertise of a variety of stakeholders, including sport, child protection, youth, health, education, and law-enforcement professionals. Establish a partnership and clarify the role of each stakeholder.
  • The child safeguarding strategy/policy should be accompanied by an action plan. Responsible public authorities and sport organisations should endorse the policy, provide appropriate financing and support for the action, and oversee the implementation process.
  • Hold all stakeholders accountable for implementing the safeguarding strategy/policy.
  • Use easy to understand, clear language.
  • Establish a monitoring and evaluation system and link the allocation of funding to the implementation of the safeguarding strategy/policy.
  • Ensure the voices of all relevant stakeholders, including children, young athletes, parents or guardians and people with lived experience of violence or abuse, are considered at all stages of policy and action plan development and its implementation.
  • Define a set of minimum standards for each sport organisation and provide sport organisations with sufficient support at every stage of the policy implementation.
  • Develop and implement a communication strategy to ensure an appropriate dissemination of the policy and action plan at all levels.

Examples of practices and initiatives

Austrian Safe Sport Standards

 Organisation responsible: 100% SPORT, Austria

 Target groups of the practice:  Stakeholders of sports organisations, Child Safeguarding Officers

 Background: Sport bodies and decision-makers have over recent years been presented with many examples of good practices and guidelines for strategic action on safe sport. Yet a comprehensive set of commonly agreed standards to make the vision of Safe Sport working was absent.
Against the backdrop of the CSiS Project, the formulation of national minimum standards and criteria that ensure harm free and joyful sport participation for all became a focal point in 100% SPORT´s endeavour for safe sport.

 Summary: The objective of the standards-publication is to underline international safe sport principles, create shared commitment agreed standards and foster the implementation of informed strategic action.
The goal is that meeting the standards will be a requirement for receiving financial funding. The standards were introduced in 2021 and communicated to all national sport federations. The national sport funding body refers to the standards within its´ funding criteria and advises sport federations to establish a Safe Sport concept using the standards to receive a better rating regarding the allocation of funds. The standards include: Risk analysis, Child protection, Participation, Confidant and Multiplier Partnerships, System/structure for processing, concerns/intervention plan, Counselling and support, Mandatory training, Regular Continuing Education, Guidelines for ethics and behaviour, Application and hiring procedures, Monitoring, evaluation and update of the guideline. The standards are entering the funding criteria but are yet not mandatory.

 Timeframe: 2021 - ongoing

 More information available here

 Detailed description 

FIFA GuardiansTM Toolkit for Member Associations (MAs)

 Organisation responsible: FIFA – International Federation of Football Associations

 Target groups of the practice: FIFA’s 211 Member Associations, Safeguarding Staff in Sport Organisations

 Background: The FIFA Guardians Toolkit was developed to help Member Associations (MAs) implement FIFA’s Forward 2.0 Development Programme regulations which oblige member associations to “take measures to protect and safeguard children and minors from potential abuses and to protect their wellbeing within football.” This included providing guidance, best practise examples and templates to develop or review their safeguarding policy and procedures in line with their national legal and socio-cultural context.

 Summary: The toolkit is one pillar of the FIFA Guardians programme which forms part of FIFA’s overall commitment to promote safe sport. The practical handbook draws on multiple sources and is based on the practical application of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport.

Through five principles and steps the handbook is designed to:

  • Promote accountability and responsibility for keeping children safe from harm when involved in any football activity.
  • Self-assess and inform the development of their safeguarding policies, plans and programmes, including for human resource and training needs.
  • Assist safeguarding officers, coordinators and technical staff with risk assessments and the development of safeguarding plans and programmes.
  • Support practitioners (coaches, trainers, medical personnel, staff and volunteers) who provide services, training and programmes to children to apply good safeguarding practice for effective action.

 Timeframe: Ongoing
It is recommended to be implemented incrementally and ideally within 24 months, depending on what stage an association is at.

 More information available here

 Detailed description

Safeguarding Audit Framework

 Organisation responsible: Sport Ireland

 Target groups of the practice: All Sports Clubs sand National Governing Bodies

 Background: Ensuring children and young people partake in sport and physical activity in a safe and welcoming environment is of paramount importance.

It is crucial that sporting organisations at all levels across Ireland are adequately structured and resourced to ensure that current best practice is followed while also complying with relevant legislation. This is paramount to the successful protection of children and young people in sport.

 Summary: Sport Ireland’s Safeguarding Audit Framework has been developed for use by all sporting organisations that work with children and young people, from grassroots to the national level.

The main purpose of the Sport Ireland Safeguarding Audit framework is to support National Governing Bodies

with a tool to assess their levels of adherence and that of their clubs to child safeguarding requirements while also identifying any gaps or areas which need to be strengthened.

There are seven steps:

  1. Identification of a suitable window for completion of the Framework in line with the organisation’s needs.
  2. Technical elements - familiarisation with the online platform.
  3. Review questionnaire.
  4. Complete questionnaire.
  5. Identify any areas which require follow up action.
  6. Implement actions as required.
  7. Update questionnaire as changes are implemented.

The tool provides NGBs and Clubs with a process to review compliance with safeguarding requirements and identify areas which require attention. Sport Ireland also gains an understanding of safeguarding adherence at all levels and will have oversight of the process.

 Timeframe: 2019 - ongoing. Completed approximately every 2 years.

 More information available at: Contact the Sport Ireland Ethics unit or safeguarding- guidance.pdf (

 Detailed description 

A journey to better safeguarding (podcast)

 Organisation responsible: NSPCC – CPSU

 Target groups of the practice: Sports organisations as a whole at all levels

 Summary: In this podcast, we talk to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) about how they’ve developed and delivered on their last safeguarding strategy and what improvements it’s made to the experiences of young athletes in their sport.

Carole Billington-Wood, CPSU Senior Consultant, leads this panel, joined by the Head of Safeguarding at the LTA, an LTA County Safeguarding Officer and an Under 14’s national age group coach, to look at the challenges of embedding cultural and procedural change on such large scale at a national, regional and club level.

Despite this podcast using tennis as an example, it’s packed with learning, tips and advice to any sport, at all levels, who might want to bolster their safeguarding practice.

 Timeframe: Ongoing

 More information available here

Child Safe Organisations

 Organisation responsible: Australian Human Rights Commission

 Target groups of the practice: Organisations, parents and carers, children and young people

 Background: As part of the Child Safe Organisations project, the Australian Government commissioned the National Children’s Commissioner to lead the development of National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. The Principles respond to Royal Commission recommendations into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which found many organisations in Australia failed to: protect children from abuse, listen to children who tried to disclose abuse and respond appropriately when abuse became known.

 Summary: The National Principles were developed under the guidance of Community Services Ministers across Commonwealth, state and territory governments under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

As of February 2019, members of the Council of Australian Governments have endorsed the National Principles.

Practical tools and training resources are available to help organisations implement the National Principles and help parents and carers learn about child safe organisations. The following tools are now available:

  • Introductory self-assessment tool for organisations.
  • Charter of Commitment to Children and Young People.
  • Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy template.
  • Example Child Safe Code of Conduct.
  • Checklist for online safety.

 Timeframe: 2 years

 More information available here

Child Safeguarding Policy 2021 – 2024

 Organisation responsible: Albanian Football Association

 Target groups of the practice: All actors and stakeholders involved in children playing football such as coaches, children safeguarding focal points, referees, physiotherapists, club staff, children and their parents.

 Background: This Child Safeguarding Policy has been developed by the Albanian Football Association as a sign of commitment to ensure that participation in football is fun and safe for all children irrespective of age, ability, or level of involvement. It is based on the best practices and policies developed by UEFA as part of the effort to support member associations take action to safeguard children. It is accompanied with code of conduct and role and responsibilities for a Child Safeguarding Focal Point.

 Summary: The implementation of Child Safeguarding Policy (CSP) will be supplemented with further guidance and training for football clubs, associations, their staff, coaches, referees and anyone involved in children’s football events. The policy is centred around five goals that underpin each national association’s work to prevent any risk of harm to children in football and to respond appropriately. In addition, the CSP is aligned with the national legislation 18/2017 “On the rights and protection of children” specifically Article 26 stating the protection of children from any form of trafficking and sexual abuse.

The policy is developed in co-operation with UEFA and experts Terres des Hommes through online joint training and mentoring.

Policy for the Protection of Children Playing Football, Code of Conduct and Role of the Point of Contact have been approved by the Executive Committee of the Albanian Football Federation with decision No.20, dated 16.07.2021.

 Timeframe: 2021, this Child Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed every four years.

Framework for safeguarding athletes and other participants from harassment and abuse in sport (Games-time period)

 Organisation responsible: International Olympic Committee (IOC)

 Target groups of the practice: International Federations, National Olympic Committees

 Summary: Athlete safeguarding is intrinsic to good governance and should be ingrained in the psyche of sport organisations. Having a safeguarding framework in place during competitions sanctioned by the sport organisation ensures a strong commitment to providing a safe sporting environment for athletes.

The “IOC Framework for safeguarding athletes and other participants from harassment and abuse in sport (Games-time period)” is in place at all events of the Olympic Games.

It establishes the reporting mechanisms and case management procedure for any incidents of harassment and abuse during the Games.

Crucial to the Games-time Framework is the presence of the IOC Safeguarding Officer.

The IOC Games-time Framework is available in English, French and Spanish.

 Timeframe: Ongoing

 More information available here

Guidelines for International Federations and National Olympic Committees related to creating and implementing a policy to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport

 Organisation responsible: International Olympic Committee (IOC)

 Target groups of the practice: International Federations, National Olympic Committees

 Summary: These Guidelines, approved by the IOC Executive Board in July 2016, detail what the IOC considers to be the minimum requirements for athlete safeguarding policies and procedures

 Timeframe: Ongoing

 More information available here

Preventing abuse of positions of trust within sport (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: Coaches, officials, volunteers, parents

 Summary: This briefing paper defines abuse of a position of trust within a sports context, outlines relevant legislation and highlights recommended best practice for sports clubs, activities and organisations.

 More information available here

Sample safeguarding/child protection policy statement

 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: Coaches, parents, children

 Summary: A policy statement makes it clear to staff, parents and children what you and your organisation will do to keep children safe.
This sample safeguarding policy statement can be used as a template but will need amendments to suit your organisation’s needs.

 More information available here

Toolkit for International Federations and National Olympic Committees related to creating and implementing policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport (The Safeguarding Toolkit)

 Organisation responsible: International Olympic Committee (IOC)

 Target groups of the practice: International Federations, National Olympic Committees

 Summary: The IOC Toolkit aims to contextualise the information found in the IOC Guidelines, by providing a step-by-step approach to developing athlete safeguarding policies and procedures. It is also intended to offer potential solutions to common challenges which may occur when creating such policies.

Developed in collaboration with 50 stakeholders from both inside and outside of the Olympic Movement, the Toolkit is endorsed by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF). In recognition that organisational, cultural and logistical differences occur between sport organisations, the IOC Toolkit offers a multi-tiered solutions-based approach to the core components of athlete safeguarding.

The Toolkit is underpinned by case studies, research, best practice guidelines, templates and an online course.

The Toolkit is available in English, French, and Spanish.

 Timeframe: Ongoing

 More information available here

Toolkit for sports clubs: Tackle Violence and Abuse at the Sport Club

 Organisation responsible: Centre for Ethics in Sport (ICES)

 Target groups of the practice: Sport club administrators, Club Safeguarding Officers

 Background: Sport clubs in Belgium typically work with volunteers who invest much of their leisure time in the running of their sport club. To help sport clubs with the development of a safeguarding policy, ICES designed a toolkit with templates that can be adapted to the specific context of the club.

 Summary: The aim is to help sport clubs install a prevention policy for transgressive behaviour. The toolkit guides sport clubs through every step providing them with useful documents and templates to create their own club safeguarding policy.

  1. Discuss transgressive behaviour at the club.
  2. Appoint a club safeguarding officer.
  3. Implement codes of conduct.
  4. Integrate a reaction protocol.
  5. Install safer recruitment strategies for volunteers.
  6. Inform and communicate.

The toolkit provides the opportunity to implement each element at three different levels: basic, intermediate and advanced depending on the club’s needs, capacity and available resources. ICES provides a three hour long educational session to club managers to explain the six steps. By providing templates the tool is accessible and provides a low threshold start to developing a safeguarding policy. The templates can be adapted to a club’s specific needs and contexts.

Currently no monitoring or evaluation data on the use of the Toolkit is available.

 Timeframe: 2019 - ongoing

 More information available here

© Photo: F. ZVARDON