Your safety and welfare

Athletics should be fun. You should feel safe and enjoy your sport. You can’t do that if you feel unhappy – if someone is abusing or bullying you. You can click these links to skip straight to the sections on this page:
I need help now
How do I know when something is wrong?
I’m worried about someone else
Historic abuse

I need help now

If you are being abused or bullied, it is not your fault. Help is available.

  • If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
  • You can call ChildLine free on 0800 11 11 at any time. They are open 24 hours a day. You don’t need credit on your phone, you don’t have to tell them your name, and they won’t tell anyone that you’ve called. They’ll listen to you and try and help you work out what to do. You can call ChildLine whatever is worrying you, no matter how large or small the problem may seem.

You can also get help from the following places:

Childline online support
You can also contact Childline for confidential chats via online messaging or email.

Tell an adult
Tell your parents/carers, teacher, or another adult you trust.

Welfare officer at your athletics club
Every athletics club with junior members has a designated welfare officer who you can talk to get help if you are being abused or bullied.

Tell us
If you don’t know who your club welfare officer is, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, scottishathletics has its own welfare officer who can help. Her name is Morva McKenzie and you can contact her on 07983081122 or

More help
For more links, including help for bullying, staying safe online and more, visit the Children 1st website.

How do I know when something is wrong?

Something is wrong if someone:

  • Touches you, or does anything, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Makes suggestive remarks or tries to pressurise you into sexual activity
  • Does anything that makes you feel lonely, worried, unsafe, hurt or embarrassed
  • Threatens, hits, kicks or punches you
  • Damages or steals your belongings
  • Constantly teases you, shouts at you or calls you names

What can I do?
If you are being abused or bullied, it is not your fault. The most important thing to do is ask for help using the details above. Other useful things you can do when something bad happens are:

  • Be firm and tell the person to stop. Make a lot of noise to attract attention.
  • Get away from the situation quickly, go to a public place to find help or call the police on 999.
  • Keep a note of the date, time and place, what happened, how you felt and the name of anyone who may have seen what happened.

Keeping safe
You should not need to change your life and habits to avoid people who abuse or bully you – you can ask for help to make sure it stops. But some things you can do to keep safe are:

  • When something happens that makes you uncomfortable, tell someone you trust.
  • Trust your instincts about the people you meet.
  • Travel with a friend, avoid travelling in someone else’s car by yourself.
  • Avoid going to other people’s homes by yourself.
  • Carry a mobile phone if you have one.

I’m worried about someone else

Children who are worried
You can talk to any of the people above if you’re worried about someone else being abused or bullied. You don’t need to wait until you’re certain something is wrong to talk to someone about your concerns.

Adults who are worried

  • Adults who are worried about a child can contact the NSPCC for free, by phone or online. You don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to, and/or can ask that your details are not given to police or social services. Don’t wait until you’re certain if you are worried about a child. If you have any concerns or suspicions, trained NSPCC counsellors are available for you to speak to, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will listen to your concerns, offer advice and support and can take action on your behalf if a child is in danger.
  • Other resources are available on the Children1st website, including information on contacting your local social work office, the Children’s Reporter, and ParentlineScotland, a national confidential helpline for any adult concerned about a child (open 9am to 9pm Mon-Fri).
  • Anyone who witnesses, suspects or is told about abuse in an athletics setting should read the Child Safeguarding Procedures and follow the procedures set out.

Historic abuse

If you were abused in the past, and you want to report it or seek help, we recommend that you report it to the police first.

If the abuse happened in an athletics environment, you can also contact the scottishathletics welfare officer, Morva McKenzie.

There is useful information about child abuse on the Victim Support website, including how it might affect you, and where you can go for help.

Survivor Scotland also has three directories of resources to help you find support:

More information about welfare and wellbeing in athletics

The About section of our website has more information about welfare, including:

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