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Sport and Recreation

Child safety and sport

Creating child safe sport and recreation organisations

Child safeguarding is about ensuring children and young people are safe from harm or abuse. Protecting children and young people from harm and abuse in sport and recreation is a moral and legal obligation. It is also critical to making sure children and young people enjoy sport and become lifelong participants.

Child safe organisations create a culture, adopt strategies, and take action to promote child wellbeing and prevent harm or abuse of children and young people. They ensure children feel safe, listened to and able to participate in the organisation.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations provide a best practice approach to creating child safe organisations:

1. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture

For example:

  • Commitment statement and codes of conduct
  • Child safety is on all meeting agendas
  • Strategies to assess and manage risks

2. Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

For example:

  • Talk and educate children and young people about safety
  • Seek and listen to their feedback
  • Access to age appropriate information

3. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing

For example:

  • Child safe policies are easily accessible to families, carers and the community
  • Openly communicate about your child safety approach
  • Seek and listen to feedback

4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice

For example:

  • Consider the diverse needs and backgrounds of children
  • Adjust activities to be inclusive for all children
  • Information and processes are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand

5. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice

For example:

  • Registration to Work with Vulnerable People checks
  • Background and referee checks
  • Supervise and review staff and volunteers
  • Induction and training includes child safety

6. Processes to respond to complaints and concerns are child focused

For example:

  • Child-focused complaint, reporting and disciplinary policies
  • Educate and provide accessible information on procedures
  • Every complaint is taken seriously – act and report

7. Staff and volunteers are equipped with knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing educations and training

For example:

  • Appoint a child safe officer
  • Staff and volunteer training plan and records
  • Provide ongoing training

8. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed

For example:

  • Manage high risk areas (e.g. physical and online environments)
  • Ask children and young people about safety concerns
  • Set out expected behaviour (e.g. codes of conduct)

9. Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved

For example:

  • Regular review of child safety practices
  • Review of all complaints, concerns and safety incidents
  • Always keep improving

10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people

For example:

  • Develop and implement easy to understand policies (e.g. codes of conduct and reporting)
  • Regularly communicate and educate on policies
  • Create a risk management plan

The Australian Human Rights Commission provides a detailed guide to each of the National Principles

Child safety legal obligations

Registration to Work with Vulnerable People

Sport and recreation organisations have a legal obligation to ensure that all volunteers and staff who work, volunteer or have contact with children (anyone under 18 years old) have a valid Registration to Work with Vulnerable People.

It is also mandatory for organisations to link their details to the application or registration through the Department of Justice Registration to Work with Vulnerable People online system. The best way to do this is through the Employer Portal.

More information about organisations’ obligations is available from the Department of Justice Registration to Work with Vulnerable People website.

Communities, Sport and Recreation has developed a Working with Children and Vulnerable People Policy factsheet and template. The factsheet includes a step by step guide on how to add your organisation to a volunteer or employee’s registration online.

Mandatory reporting

While all adults have a responsibility to keep children safe, mandatory reporters are required by law to report child abuse or neglect.

Under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 mandatory reporters in Tasmania include medical practitioners, nurses, police officers, psychologists, social workers, school principals, teachers, people who manage child care services and people employed by or volunteering in government agencies or organisations funded by the Crown that provide health, welfare, education or care for children.

How to report child safety concerns

If a mandatory reporter believes, suspects or knows a child is being abused or neglected they must contact the Child Safety Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123. Failing to report any abuse or neglect, may result in penalties.

If you are not sure if you are a mandatory reporter but have concerns for the safety or welfare of a child, you should still call the Advice and Referral Line. A staff member will talk through your concerns and explore what can be done to help.

More information on reporting is available on the Department of Communities Tasmania reporting concerns page.

Information and resources

Many national, state and peak body organisations have guidelines, resources and tools to support organisations and clubs to keep children and young people safe.

Organisations and clubs are encouraged to contact their national, state or peak body organisation first to seek support and resources related to child safeguarding.

Helpful resources are also available at: