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No one involved in sport and physical activity, whether they’re a volunteer, participant, spectator or an elite athlete, should ever have to worry about abuse or harassment.

Working to safeguard those at risk

We all have a role to play in keeping others safe and people should know what to do if they have any concerns. That’s why we're working to support parents, carers, organisations, associations, clubs, activity providers, instructors/teachers/coaches and leaders to safeguard children and adults at risk.

Safeguarding girl learning how to ride a bike

Safeguarding: The basics

Safeguarding in sport is the process of protecting children and adults from harm by providing a safe space in which to play sport and be active.

A key part of child safeguarding is spreading the message about keeping children safe and building a culture of always acting in the best interest of all children.

One important difference between safeguarding adults and safeguarding children is that, as well as focusing on creating processes and systems to safeguard, there also needs to be a culture that consults with adults on every decision that affects them. Adults can of course make their own decisions, so it's important to keep them well informed.

Safeguarding two people paddling in canoe

Reporting or responding to a concern

If you think a child is in immediate danger or requires medical attention, you should call the emergency services on 999. You can also ring the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 to report immediate risks.

It's important to remember that the welfare of the child is paramount. However, it's not up to you to decide whether or not a child has been abused, but to report concerns appropriately. Read more detailed guidance

If you think an adult is in immediate danger or requires medical attention, you should call the emergency services on 999. Wherever possible let the adult know what you’re doing.

If the adult is not in immediate danger or injured, wherever possible you should discuss your concerns with the adult and look together at what should happen next. Read more detailed guidance.

Safeguarding helping with bike helmet

Safeguarding guidance

Reporting or responding to a concern

Detailed advice on what you can do if you think a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires medical attention.

Responding to a concern

Advice for parents and carers

Guidance for parents or carers who want to know how to keep their child safe in sport and physical activity.

Parents and carers

Safeguarding in martial arts

Get up to speed with the new Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts and achieve the very best safeguarding standards.

Martial arts

Safeguarding for organisations, associations and bodies

Advice for organisations and associations involved in the management and development of sport and physical activity.

Organisations and associations

Safeguarding for companies and non-traditional sports

Safeguarding advice for sports or activity providers who aren’t affiliated to a national governing body.  

Companies and non-traditional sports

Safeguarding advice for sign-posters

Advice for those who guide children and young people to sport and physical activity.


Safeguarding for schools and leisure providers

If you lease or rent your facility to a sports provider or club, it’s essential that you check with them to ensure that safeguarding is taking place.

School and leisure providers

Support services

If you have been affected by abuse in sport or in other contexts and would like more information or access to support, there are a number of specialist services are available in England.

Support services

Safeguarding Advisory Panel

Recognising the need to work with and learn from people with lived experience, our Advisory Panel aims to ensure that those individuals who’ve suffered abuse and exploitation with sport, not only have a voice but can help to improve safeguarding provision in sport and activity.

Current members of the panel include: Thomas Faulkner, who was abused when he was eight years old by an older boy following football games in the park; Karen Leach, a talented swimmer with ambitions of representing Ireland at the Olympics who was routinely abused by her coach; and Henrietta Rothman, who was abused at the age of seven at a tennis club.

Along with other members, they want to using their experiences and current work to continue to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in sport at all levels. 

The panel is co-chaired by Sheila Taylor MBE, chief executive of the NWG Network, a UK-wide charity tackling child sexual exploitation, and Professor Mike Hartill, director of the Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport at Edge Hill University.

The Whyte Review

Together with UK Sport, we co-commissioned a fully independent review into allegations of abuse in gymnastics.

The Review was led by Anne Whyte QC, and it heard from individual gymnasts, parents, carers or guardians of gymnasts, gymnastics coaches, British Gymnastics staff or former staff and any other organisations and individuals who wanted to provide information.

The Review was published on 16 June 2022 and is available to read on the Whyte Review website.

Please note: The Review concerns some sensitive and upsetting information. For some, including those who have personal experience of harm or abuse, this may be distressing.

The Whyte Review

Safeguarding case management programme

We're using funding from the National Lottery to provide support services to national governing bodies (NGBs) through our safeguarding case management programme.

The programme provides support services to NGBs who we deem as partners.

NGBs taking part in the programme have access to three support services:

  • free initial advice on safeguarding cases;
  • free investigation and hearing services for safeguarding cases, from expert members of the National Safeguarding Panel;
  • free accredited training for Lead Safeguarding Officers.

We're working in partnership to deliver the programme with both Sport Resolutions and LimeCulture CIC.

Sport Resolutions are leading on the initial advice and the investigation and hearing services from the National Safeguarding Panel.

While LimeCulture CIC are leading on the operational management of the programme and the accredited training, through their Lead Safeguarding Officer Development Programme.

The programme supports, but doesn't replace the safeguarding responsibilities of NGBs - with the majority of them that we deem as partners taking part.

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