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Cricket’s LV= Insurance County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy winners Warwickshire are supporting an NSPCC campaign that is designed to educate parents in allowing their children to play sport in the safest possible environment.

Parents in Sport Week (4-10 October 2021) is an annual campaign run by the NSPCCs Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and backed by Warwickshire, which aims to equip EVERY parent with the safeguarding knowledge that they need and to highlight the important role that parents play in youth sport.

Paul Farbrace, director of cricket, said: “Everyone at Warwickshire County Cricket Club is delighted to back the great work of the NSPCC, as one of our official partner charities, by supporting its Parents in Sport Week.

“So many sports can play such an important role in helping children enjoy a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. However, parents need to have complete peace of mind that every club, society or venue operates to the required standards to keep their children safe.

Paul Farbrace

“As parents, we all want to have the information and tools that we need to spot potential concerns about children playing sport and to have the confidence and knowledge of where to turn to in the event of an issue.”

An online survey*, conducted on behalf of the NSPCC by YouGov, has found that 20% of parents** who had children in sports and leisure clubs, wouldn’t know who to speak to if they had any worries about a child’s welfare at the club (including those who answered don’t know).

As part of the campaign the charity has issued three key safeguarding tips for parents in relation to children’s sport:

  • Every club should have a child welfare officer in post – familiarise yourself with who that is and their contact details;
  • Check if your club has a safeguarding policy in place and understand how that keeps children safe;
  • Know that the NSPCC Helpline is there if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach the helpline on 0808 800 5000 or at help@nspcc.org.uk

This year, the CPSU has also launched special new resources aimed at parents, to help them understand their role in keeping children safe and who they can turn to for help if they have any worries about their child’s sport.

Resources include a free e-learning course for parents on keeping their child safe; a new animation which helps parents identify when something might be wrong in their child’s sport; and the new NSPCC CPSU Parents Hub – an online destination packed full of safeguarding information for parents.

The NSPCC’s Child Protection In Sport Unit was founded in 2001 in response to a series of high-profile cases of abuse of young athletes. Since then, the unit has worked closely with hundreds of governing bodies of sports and local partnerships to provide safeguarding guidance and embed safeguarding best practice in sport.

The campaign comes in a year of high profile concerns about abuse in sport including gymnastics, football and athletics. The NSPCC wants to encourage parents with a child in any sport to seek advice from its Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or emailing help@nspcc.org.uk if they have any worries about their child’s experience in sport or physical activity.

Paul Stephenson, Senior Consultant at the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said: “We’re proud to be running our annual Parents in Sport Week in its sixth year to help more parents be a significant part of their children’s sporting lives and to help ensure their experience is safe and fun. Every year since the campaign’s conception countless sports bodies, clubs and coaches have supported our aims and worked hard to develop better relationships with parents and carers.

“This year, the NSPCC wants to provide the tools needed to help parents and carers access important information to keep their children safe in sport, to spot poor practice and to empower them to speak out. We’re also continuing to support the tireless work sports clubs put into involving parents in their safeguarding process.

Paul Stephenson, Senior Consultant at the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit

“We’ve come a long way in the past five years and there’s a clear impact on parents when it comes to their knowledge of safeguarding in sport. But we can’t stop here, every parent should feel confident about ensuring their child is safe and having fun and that’s why we’re pleased to launch our free, short, interactive course for parents.”