Staying Safe in Sport
Playing sport is full of benefits for children and young people. Sport keeps you fit, helps you make friends, and teaches you valuable life lessons. But it’s also important to stay safe when playing sport.
Those who have child safeguarding concerns in Australian sport, are encouraged to report to Sport Integrity Australia’s Safe Sport Hotline on 1800 161 361 – Open 7am-7pm, 7 Days a Week
Sport NZ has a variety of child protection resources available on their website for those who have a concern or are looking to prevent child abuse or exploitation in sport. Any safeguarding concerns within football in Aotearoa New Zealand in particular can be reported to NZ Football’s email: email@example.com
Tips to help you stay safe when participating in sports:
- Understand your rights: It’s important to know that you have the right to be safe and protected from any form of abuse or exploitation. Your well-being is a priority, and no one should harm you physically, emotionally, or sexually. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, speak up.
- Know the boundaries: Learn about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in sports settings. Coaches, staff, or any other adults involved should never ask you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, violate your personal boundaries, or touch you inappropriately. If someone crosses those boundaries, it is essential to report it.
- Communicate with trusted adults: Build a relationship with trustworthy adults such as your parents, guardians, teachers, or coaches who you feel comfortable talking to. Share your experiences, concerns, or any incidents that have made you uncomfortable. They can support and guide you in taking appropriate action.
- Be aware of grooming tactics: Grooming is when someone builds a relationship with you to gain your trust, making it easier for them to exploit or abuse you later. Be cautious of any adult who gives you special attention, buys you gifts, or wants to spend time with you alone. Trust your instincts and if something feels wrong, talk to a trusted adult about it.
- Report any concerns: If you witness or experience any form of abuse or exploitation, report it immediately. Speak to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or coach, who can help you take the necessary steps to address the situation. Many sports organisations have designated child protection officers who are specifically trained to handle such issues.
- Stay informed about policies and procedures: Familiarise yourself with the child protection policies and procedures of the sports organisation you are involved in. Understand the reporting mechanisms in place and how you can access them if needed. Knowing your rights and the available support systems will empower you to take action.
Remember, your safety is important. If you ever feel unsafe, it’s crucial to seek help and speak out. Abuse and exploitation have no place in sports or any other setting, and by staying informed and taking action, you can help create a safer environment for yourself and others.
More information about staying safe in sport can be found on Play by the Rules and Sport Integrity Australia’s websites.
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