Preventing Child Abuse and Exploitation in Sport

We all have a part to play in keeping kids safe from abuse and exploitation. Every adult, whether you are a parent or carer, family member, someone who works with children, volunteer or involved in community sport, has a responsibility to prevent, respond and report child abuse and exploitation.

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:  

Tips for parents/carers and others to help keep kids safe in sport:

  • Research the organisation: Before enrolling your child in a sports program, thoroughly research the organisation. Look into their child protection policies, background checks for coaches and staff, and their reputation regarding child safety. Choose organisations that prioritise child protection.
  • Open communication: Maintain open and regular communication with your child about their sports activities. Encourage them to share their experiences, feelings, and concerns. Build a trusting relationship where your child feels comfortable discussing anything that makes them uncomfortable or raises red flags.
  • Attend practices and games: Whenever possible, attend your child’s practices, games, and events. Your presence can act as a deterrent to potential abusers and provide additional support to your child. It also allows you to observe the environment and interactions between coaches, staff, and children.
  • Get to know the coaches and staff: Take the time to get to know the coaches and staff involved in your child’s sports activities. Establish a positive relationship with them and inquire about their qualifications, training, and commitment to child protection. Maintain open lines of communication with them and address any concerns promptly.
  • Be vigilant: Stay alert for any signs or behaviours that may indicate abuse or exploitation. These signs can include sudden changes in your child’s behaviour, withdrawal, fear, unexplained injuries, or excessive attention from a specific adult. Trust your instincts and take action if you suspect something is wrong.
  • Report concerns: If you have any concerns about your child’s safety or witness any inappropriate behaviour, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities within the sports organisation or the designated child protection officer. Follow the organisation’s reporting procedures and ensure that your concerns are addressed.
  • Educate yourself: Educate yourself about child protection, signs of abuse, and appropriate boundaries in sports. Stay informed about the policies and procedures of the sports organisation your child is involved in. This knowledge will empower you to recognise and respond effectively to any potential issues.

By taking these proac