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Child Safeguarding Officer: better understanding for better implementation


Child protection practices are gaining ground within sports organizations. Elena Casero, Programme Manager for EPAS, Council of Europe, underlines the importance of Child Safegaurding officers in this field.

Public authorities and sport organisations are increasingly taking meaningful action to create safer and healthier environments for children and young athletes, including the establishment of Child Safeguarding Officer (CSO) roles in public and private sport structures. CSOs are key stakeholders in the development and implementation of effective child protection policies and their responsibilities may include, among others, addressing concerns in sport settings, communicating cases and disseminating safeguarding protocols.

Creating safer and healthier environments

International standards on child protection in sport have begun to call for the creation of these roles. Some countries have included this obligation in their national legislation. The “Start to Talk” project, implemented by the EPAS, supports countries and sports organisations in responding to this call. The project helps them to understand how CSO roles should be implemented according to specific legal and policy frameworks on child protection, and to identify the core responsibilities of CSOs from which curricula and job profiles can be developed. “Start to Talk” also provides training courses for stakeholders with child protection responsibilities from both the public and sport sectors, using a trauma-informed practice approach.

Giving children and young people a voice

The project also includes the voices of children and young people, recognising them as active contributors to decision-making processes on issues that affect their lives. A pilot initiative involving the consultation of children in child protection and the CSO role was organised by EPAS in collaboration with the Bulgarian State Agency for Child Protection in May 2023.
This successful experience has encouraged us to continue on this path and to strengthen cooperation with children and young people in future roadmap processes. EPAS has developed other tools to support child protection practices in safe sport, including the Pool of International Experts on Safe Sport, which has a specific “CSO” category of professionals with this particular expertise. In addition, the Resource Centre on Safe Sport provides examples of well-established systems with CSO roles and guidance on relevant aspects of CSO practice such as support systems and case management.

This article was published in the magazine Sport and Citizenship n°57 : protecting sport integrity




Sport et citoyenneté