Child abuse charity reveals the five questions parents needs to ask

Are YOUR children at risk? Child abuse charity reveals the five simple questions EVERY parent needs to ask before signing up youngsters to after-school activities

  • Derby-based NWG Network have launched campaign to prevent child sex abuse
  • Have suggested five questions to be asked before signing children up for clubs  
  • Sports England backed campaign comes after high-profile football coach abuse

A national charity is urging parents to ask five simple questions to make sure their children are safe when they attend out-of-school clubs.

Thousands of parents across the country use after-school and holiday clubs to help with childcare, but many do not realise these groups can be unregulated.

Now, Derby-based charity NWG Network, which supports survivors of child sex abuse, has started a campaign to get parents and clubs talking openly about safeguarding.

Parents have been advised to ask five simple questions before their children sign up to out-of-school clubs (file picture)

With the backing of Sport England, the charity have released five questions parents should always ask before their child signs up to a group.

These include asking if there’s a safeguarding policy and who the point of contact at the club is if there’s any problems.

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They also advise asking about staff training on first aid and knowing what happens if there’s an accident during the session. 

This is important to ask so that parents know there are enough members of staff available to look after all the children at the club in case anything serious happens.

What are the questions that parents are recommend to ask? 

1. Does the club have a comprehensive safeguarding policy and where can I see it?

2. Who is the point of contact at the club that I or my child can speak to if they have concerns or worries?

3. What kind of training have the staff received on safeguarding, health and safety and first aid?

4. What happens if there is an accident or injury during the session?

5. Does the club have a clear safer recruitment policy for club staff and volunteers which includes a comprehensive vetting (DBS) process?

For example, if a child collapsed during a session and there was only one coach, the other children may not be watched while this was being dealt with and many could be distressed and need help themselves.  

The final question put forward by the charity asks whether the club has a clear and safe recruitment policy for club staff and volunteers which includes a comprehensive vetting (DBS) process.

NWG Network’s campaign comes after a number of high profile footballers came forward about being abused by Manchester City coach Barry Bennell.

Manchester City have now launched a ‘survivors’ scheme’ that will see the victims receive six-figure sums in damages and an apology from the club.  

Last year Bennell was convicted of 43 charges relating to 12 former junior players between 1979 and 1990 during his time at City and Crewe Alexandra.

He was sentenced to 31 years for his fourth conviction for abusing boys. He had two spells within City’s junior network between 1976 and 1984.

NWG Network’s Sport England backed campaign aims to get clubs and parents talking more openly about safeguarding

The NWG Network campaign is being supported by former professional footballer Ian Ackley, who was abused by Bennell.

He said: ‘You wouldn’t just leave your wallet or your car keys with a stranger without asking some questions, make sure you are doing the same thing for your children and ask the right questions.’

Ian now uses his experiences to help tackle the issue of abuse in sport and is a member of the Sport England Safeguarding Advisory Panel. 

He is also a founder member of the SAVE association which aims to effect positive change in safeguarding and victim engagement through football and other sports. 

The charity asks parents to make sure they know exactly who they’re leaving their child with

Operation Hydrant was set up in June 2014 by the National Police Chief’s Council to coordinate responses to historic child sex abuse, and has already recorded allegations against more than 320 different sports clubs nationwide.

These allegations involve 95 per cent male victims with an age range at the time of the abuse spanning from four years old to 20. 

During an investigation into Bennell, Manchester City uncovered allegations of child sex abuse against another man, John Broome.  

NWG Network’s Safeguarding in Sport lead Kevin Murphy, pictured, said parents ‘need to check exactly who they are leaving their children with’ when they sign up for clubs

Victims of Broome, who was at City between 1964 and 1971, will also be able to apply for compensation. Nine people have reported Broome, who died in 2010, for serious sexual abuse. City are believed to be aware of 40 potential claimants.

Kevin Murphy, NWG Network’s Safeguarding in Sport lead, said: ‘Whilst this project is specifically aimed at sport, these questions are equally applicable to any other out-of-school club, whether it be dance, drama or art. 

‘Parents should always make sure they know who they are leaving their children with and be satisfied that they have passed all the relevant checks.

‘Treat these clubs in the same way you would when researching your child’s school. 

‘You do all the research before you decide which school to send your child to and that’s what we want parents to do with these clubs.’ 

NWG Network’s latest campaign is part of a two-year £470k Safeguarding in Sport project that they have been funded to deliver by Sport England. 

The charity will be working with local authorities, police services and providers of sporting activity across the country to ensure there is a joined-up approach to tackling the problem of abuse in sport.

Manchester City have launched a ‘survivors’ scheme’ for Barry Bennell sex abuse victims 

They will also be developing a number of resources to support clubs, including an online training course on safeguarding for grassroots coaches.

Mr Murphy said: ‘We know there are many clubs out there doing great work around safeguarding, and we want to see more of that. This is about encouraging a dialogue between clubs and parents.

‘We want safeguarding to be embedded as the number one priority of all sports clubs, above performance and results. The children’s wellbeing needs to be at the forefront of everything they do.’ 

If you have concerns about inappropriate behaviour by anyone involved in a sports club you can contact NWG for advice on 01332 585 371 or your local police force on 101.
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