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Ten steps sports organisations must take to better protect children in sport

Kids in a group
Tuesday, 06 December 2022 By Katie Fudakowski, Alex Evans

Sports organisations have been looking closely at their safeguarding arrangements and the external spotlight on safeguarding in sport remains prominent. The publication of Anne Whyte KC’s independent review of alleged mistreatment in UK Gymnastics (the Whyte Review), exposed the alarming extent of physical and emotional abuse of young athletes in the sport. Sadly, abuse in sport, both historic and current, remains a significant issue. Derek Hodder, a former martial arts coach, was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison following 33 counts of rape over a span of 30-years, adopting a pattern of abuse not unlike that of Larry Nassar.1

We continue to see sports clubs and governing bodies of all sizes seeking to strengthen their systems and cultures against abuse and poor practice. World Athletics2 and the Football Association have been updating their safeguarding policies and practices. On the 10th anniversary of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, the International Olympic Committee reaffirmed the Safe Sports Pledge committing to promote Safeguards through our networks [and] embed Safeguards in our work”.

Needless to say, safeguarding must remain a core priority for every sports body. To that end, here are ten essential steps sports organisations can take to keep safeguarding at the top of your agenda to ensure there is a supportive and safe environment for children to participate in sport.

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Written by

Katie Fudakowski

Katie Fudakowski

Katie is a partner at Farrer & Co.  She is a practising barrister with a decade of litigation experience in employment and safeguarding law built up while a tenant of Old Square Chambers. Katie believes in empowering her clients to take the right as well as legal course of action and she is valued her for her ability to cut through to the key issues and grasp the nettle with decisive and clear advice.

Her work as an independent investigator of safeguarding failures at major independent schools, international charities and sports organisations makes her ideally suited to guide clients through every step of safeguarding investigations, whether involving current or historic allegations and the associated engagement with the statutory agencies and regulators.
Alex Evans

Alex Evans

Alex is a paralegal in the Employment Team at Farrer & Co. Alex has been involved in a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters. Alex works with a range of clients including sports and education organisations, businesses and charities. Alex regularly contributes to the WorkLife blog. He was also involved in updating Farrer & Co’s “Addressing child-on-child abuse: a resource for schools and colleges”.

Prior to joining Farrer & Co, Alex read Law at Homerton College, Cambridge before completing the LLM Public Law at University College London.

Comments (1)

  • Ian Hynes

    • 09 December 2022 at 09:39
    • #

    Great tips about proactive safeguarding measures. What are your thoughts on investigations, and Specifically reactive investigation when the proactive and preventative measures fail? I would be really interested to hear you thoughts on this.


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