scottishathletics regards the welfare of our athletes and indeed everyone in our sport as a fundamental issue for the governing body and our clubs.
Over the past couple of years, further steps have been taken to promote the right procedures and good practice within the sport.
Angus Macdonald joined us in 2017 in the role as scottishathletics welfare officer and here he reflects on the progress and development in child well-being protecting in that time.
‘It’s absolutely clear that participating in athletics can make a fantastic difference to children’s lives and from the outset we adopted a child-centred approach in which every child is respected, listened to and able to enjoy athletics safely,’ said Angus.
‘When we started two years ago, it was already very evident that our clubs took their duty of care seriously and recognised that safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone.
‘Since then, we have built on the existing structures but to better support the clubs we developed clear policies and processes for responding to disclosures of child abuse.
‘But whilst its vital that we can recognise and respond to suspected abuse, or moments of crisis in a child’s life, it was equally important that we developed a culture where clubs and their members feel they can confidently recognise child well-being concerns, or challenge and address poor practice.
Clubs must work hard to adopt the right policies and good practice says Welfare Officer Angus Macdonald
‘So, our processes now start with guidance on the safe recruitment of volunteers and includes advice on managing concerns about a child, or concerns about a volunteer, and equip the clubs to review the circumstances and take any necessary action.
In short, we encourage clubs to develop a culture where poor and inappropriate practice is challenged and changed.
This more robust approach means that even in the very rare cases that lead to criminal charges we will still undertake an internal review regardless of the outcome of the court proceedings.
‘At our recent club welfare officers seminar in Stirling it was great to see the volunteers enthusiasm and commitment to safeguarding children, and to hear that the enhanced procedures are being used at local level to really good effect.
‘That was an encouragement to me and rest assured we will continue to offer advice and support to every club in Scotland and look for ways to develop and improve our safeguarding procedures.’
scottishathletics Welfare Officer – Angus Macdonald