Evaluating the impacts of working towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport

2019-06-20T13:54:12Z (GMT) by Daniel Rhind Frank Owusu-Sekyere
In this paper, the authors evaluate a global strategy to safeguard children against abuse in sport. The experiences of people within 32 of the organisations who were working towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport were captured over a two-year study. At the organisational level, self-audits demonstrated that progress was made during the project by deliverers (who worked directly with children) from having 45% to 64% of the Safeguards fully in place. Governors (who governed other organisations which worked directly with children) improved on the same figure from 25% to 53%. Progress was also identified using the concept of Activation States through in-depth interviews at the start and end of the project. Positive changes were found at the personal level with respect to people’s feelings, knowledge and behaviours related to safeguarding as well as how safeguarding is discussed in the organisation. Group discussions also revealed changes with respect to how children, coaches, parents and the broader community were behaving with respect to safeguarding. An increase in the number of disclosures was also identified as an important impact of the project. The International Safeguards for Children in Sport are now endorsed by 125 organisations who work with a total of over 35 million children. The implications of these findings are discussed along with the future directions of work in this area.