How can you ensure that sport remains both safe and fun for children and young people?

Millions of children and young people take part in sporting activities every day across the world. For some children this is purely for recreation, for others a chosen career and for some a path out of poverty. But it is increasingly recognised that too often sport fails to fully consider the risks to children, leading to incidents of abuse and harm.

To ensure an organisation providing sports activities to children and young people is doing all it can to make sport safer for children, the following eight safeguards should be put in place.

These safeguards represent collective good practice at a point in time and will be subject to periodic review to ensure they reflect developments within safeguarding practice.

The eight safeguards are:

  1. Developing your policy
  2. Procedures for responding to safeguarding concerns
  3. Advice and support
  4. Minimising risks to children
  5. Guidelines for behaviour
  6. Recruiting, training and communicating
  7. Working with partners
  8. Monitoring and evaluating

View the full International Safeguards for Children in Sport document.

The safeguards aim to:

  • Help create a safe sporting environment for children wherever they participate and at whatever level
  • Provide a benchmark to assist sports providers and funders to make informed decisions
  • Promote good practice and challenge practice that is harmful to children
  • Provide clarity on safeguarding children to all involved in sport

Find out how to develop policies, practices and procedures to keep sport fun and children safe.

Founding members

The International Safeguarding Children in Sport Working Group founding members are:

  • Keeping Children Safe
  • Child Protection in Sport Unit
  • Swiss Academy for Development /
  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • UK Sport
  • Right to Play
  • WomenWin
  • Beyond Sport
  • Caribbean Sport and Development Agency
  • Comic Relief
  • International Inspiration

If you would like to provide feedback to the founding members regarding these eight safeguards, please use this online form.


All children have the right to participate in sport in a safe and enjoyable environment. Their rights are enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF UK is one of a number of organisations that has worked on trialling these safeguards to ensure that sports organisations stop and think about the risks to children and have measures in place to prevent abuse.

Liz Twyford, Sports Programmes Specialist, UNICEF UK


Staff and volunteers who provide sports activities can end up being a real lifeline for children – which is why it is essential that all sports organisations have safeguarding measures in place, and most importantly a team of people on-board that feel enabled to take action and do so willingly. These new safeguards set out the key steps that every organisation can take – right from the recruitment stage to developing policies and procedures to ensure children’s safety well-being and protection across all sports.

Ann Tiivas, Director, Child Protection in Sport Unit


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. Are the safeguards available in languages other than English?
A. The safeguarding working group is in the process of making the safeguards available in Italian, French and Portuguese and would welcome support from organisations or individuals able to translate them into other languages. Please email [email protected] if you are able to support this.

Q. Now that the safeguards have been produced, what will happen next?
A. Over the next two years the safeguarding working group will be working with researchers to understand what resources are needed by organisations seeking to implement the safeguards, and use the outcomes of this research to produce an implementation guide.

Q. I want to implement the safeguards but I don’t know where to start – where can I access advice and support?
A. In 2015 the safeguarding working group will develop a website where you will be able to access case studies, resources and links to helpful websites. But for now you can learn more about the topic on sportanddev via the learn more and toolkit sections on child protection and safeguarding in sport or access excellent support and resources on the following websites:

Q. How can I get involved?
A. You can sign up for the newsletter and the safeguarding working group will keep you updated with its progress. You can also download the safeguards and share them with your organisation to begin your journey to make sport safer for children.

For further information contact: [email protected]

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