Hi Network colleagues,
As the new football season has finally started and many of the non league and junior leagues are about to start their leagues early in September it is very worrying that earlier in the week the Government have backtracked over a pledge that both the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Ministry of Justice had agreed (last November) to extend the position of trust laws to cover sports coaches. Currently those sports coaches and other professionals who work with children in what is deemed not to be “regulated activities” are not subject to position of trust laws. Many leading Charities especially the NSPCC have been calling for this loophole to be closed, especially in the wake of the scandals involving sports coaches that have been widely reported in the media and also feature in Operation Yewtree.
The new Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) statutory guidance has for the first time included religious and voluntary groups as well as sports clubs, this is a welcome addition as many of these groups have access to very vulnerable children and families. Is this not a huge anomaly in Government thinking to include all of these groups in its statutory safeguarding guidance but still insist that sports coaches are not covered by abuse of position of trust laws. The power that coaches can have over children and their parents can be immense, this has been highlighted by the victims of Barry Bennell, the former football coach who is currently serving a substantial prison sentence for abusing numerous young boys for significant periods of time.
Young children striving to become athletes are extremely vulnerable to grooming and abuse due to their passion and commitment to their sport, this can be the same for children in choirs, music lessons, drama classes, all not covered by positions of trust laws!
The NWG backs the NSPCC “Trust to Lead” campaign which has been launched following the recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice and is seeking support from the sports community to reverse this decision and make sport coaches and other professionals who may deliver many forms of private tuition subject to abuse of professional trust laws. The link to the campaign is below;
Join us to make sure we can trust all adults working with children.
Lets all work together and sign this campaign to help make sport and other activities that children access safer, lets ensure that the lessons that we have learnt from the past failures are not forgotten and that we all take responsibility for our children’s future.