Instructors - Listening to Children
Coaches and other sports staff are in a position of trust and influence with children and young people.
Listening to Children
Coaches and other sports staff are in a position of trust and influence with children and young people. You are ideally placed to recognise if a child is being abused, whether during sports activities, at home, or in the community.
But remember it is not your responsibility to decide if a child is being abused. Your role is to act on any concerns you may have.
Most sports organisations have clear guidelines about how child protection concerns and poor practice should be dealt with. You should make yourself aware of these and must follow them. Failing to respond to concerns or responding in contravention to your sport guidelines could have serious implications for the future handling of a case.
If a child tries to talk to you about something that is worrying them, it is important to listen carefully and respond sensitively:
- If the child tells you about abuse they are experiencing, listen carefully to what they tell you.
- Don’t ask direct questions. Avoid 'Who?', 'What?', 'When?', 'Where?'.
- Encourage them to talk - 'Do you want to tell me about this?' - but do not pressurise them.
- Keep calm and even if you find what they are saying difficult or painful keep listening.
- Be honest with them about what you can and cannot do. Tell them you are not able to keep what they have told you secret and that you will try to find them the help they need.
- When they have finished make a detailed note of what they have said, using an incident record form if possible. If your organisation does not have one, see our example incident record form.
- As soon as possible, pass the information to the designated welfare or safeguarding officer, or someone in a position of authority within your sport – club secretary, chairman, or senior coach.
- Do not contact or confront the alleged abuser.
- Find someone you trust to talk to about the situation or to support you but remember not to name or identify those involved in the allegations. You can call the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
- If you have serious concerns about the immediate safety of the child contact the Police or Social Services. Record the name of the person you spoke to and tell your club official what you have done.
- Tel: 0808 800 5000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NSPCC Asian Helpline
- Bengali - 0800 096 7714
- Gujurati - 0800 096 7715
- Hindi - 0800 096 7716
- Punjabi - 0800 096 7717
- Urdu- 0800 096 7718
- Asian/English - 0800 096 7719
Cymru/Wales Child Protection Helpline
- Freephone: 0808 100 2524
- Email: email@example.com in English or Welsh.
- Textphone: Freephone - 0808 100 1033. This is for people with hearing difficulties.
- Fax: 01248 361085
- www.thinkuknow.co.uk has the latest information on the sites you like to visit, mobiles and new technology. Find out what's good, what's not and what you can do about it.
- www.ceop.gov.uk The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is part of UK police and is dedicated to protecting children from sexual abuse wherever they may be. You can report abuse through their site, see below. But if you know about a child or young person who is in immediate danger, risk or you require an urgent response, you must call 999 or your local police.