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Safeguarding Continuous Improvement Program

Several inquiries in recent years have highlighted failings in keeping children and members safe while participating in sport. Featuring detailed witness accounts of abuse, the case studies in the inquiries have sometimes revealed organisational flaws. The ensuing recommendations have made it clear that safeguarding is more than just policies and procedures: it means ensuring that sports embed a culture where all people can take part in sport in a safe and inclusive environment, free from abuse and harm.

National Integrity Framework social media post used in promoting the scheme to sports.
National Integrity Framework social media post used in promoting the scheme to sports.

The Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program (SISCIP) will deliver a nationally consistent approach to keeping sporting environments safe. With action plans for sports to be delivered sequentially, the aim is to create genuine cultural change from national sporting organisations (NSOs) right through to grassroots community sports.

The SISCIP is a joint initiative with the National Office for Child Safety supported by a 3-year, $4.7 million budget measure to enhance child safety in sport as part of the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.

The project’s success will rely on strong relationships, a willingness to share and learn, and a recognition that no one organisation can singlehandedly solve the problem of safeguarding sport. A collaborative approach is key. To this end, our program acknowledges the valuable safeguarding work already undertaken by the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments, as well as by NSOs, state sporting organisations (SSOs) and local clubs and associations. Rather than replace these foundations, we aim to assist sports to complement and build on them.

Launching in late 2021, to align with the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse, the SISCIP aims to foster a culture of child safety and member protection across every area of sport in Australia. To achieve this, it will:

  • provide a mechanism through which sports can demonstrate their commitment to child safeguarding and member protection to the public
  • address each sport’s needs through action plans that are at once overarching and specifically tailored
  • assist sporting organisations to meet emerging and existing legislative and regulatory requirements, such as state-based Child Safe Standards
  • promote a nationally consistent approach that accords with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
  • identify high-risk areas, implementing strategies to both minimise and manage these with support and guidance
  • hold sports to account to continuously progress their child safeguarding and member protection practices
  • provide the leaders and governing bodies of sport with an independent perspective, offering oversight of their safeguarding plans.

 Safeguarding in Sport CIP overview
Figure 3: Safeguarding in Sport CIP overview

 NSO Audit Questionnaire Process
Figure 4: NSO Audit Questionnaire Process