Safeguarding young people in sport

Research conducted at Loughborough University is helping sporting organisations to keep more than 50 million young people safe when playing sport.

Dr Daniel Rhind's research informs the guidance and support which The International Safeguards for Children in Sport offers to sport organisations across the globe.

The safeguarding guidance is designed to help organisations to work to prevent neglect, as well as emotional, physical and sexual abuse, by providing information on:

  • Establishing a safeguarding policy
  • What to do if you are worried about a child
  • Providing advice and support to children and staff
  • Understanding and addressing risk
  • Agreeing what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
  • Safely recruiting and training staff
  • Sharing safeguarding with partners
  • Understanding how to monitor, evaluate and learn.

Organisations including the International Netball Federation, FIFA, World Rugby, Manchester United, Manchester City, Centre for Sport and Human Rights (Switzerland), Peace Players International (USA), ASA Foundation (Indonesia), Paralympics Australia, TackleAfrica and Sport for Change (Ethiopia) are among those to have implemented guidance based on Dr Rhind’s research.

To mark this commitment and raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding children in sport, Safe Sport Day is celebrated on the 8 August each year.

Our research plays a key role throughout the safeguarding process. This includes understanding the challenges, informing solutions and evaluating the impacts of these solutions. I believe that our collaborative approach through co-producing the International Safeguards has facilitated the efficacy, utility and effectiveness of these guidelines and associated resources. This in turn has helped our global coalition to create better sport, together.

Dr Daniel Rhind Reader in Organisational Psychology

Research in focus

Safeguarding the child athlete in sport

Participation in sport has many physical, psychological and social benefits for the child athlete. A growing body of evidence indicates, however, that sport participation may have inherent threats for the child's well-being.

Dr Daniel Rhind has published research that has highlighted the threats to children’s well-being in sport. His research has also informed resources and guidelines which assist sport organisations to create safe sport. This in turn can help to ensure that child athletes can flourish and reach their athletic potential through an enjoyable experience.

Dr Rhind has evaluated the impacts of organisations working towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. This has captured a wide range of benefits at the individual, relational and organisational levels.

  • Mountjoy M, Rhind DJA, Tiivas A, Leglise M. (2015). Safeguarding the child athlete in sport: A review, a framework and recommendations for the IOC youth athlete development model. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49, 883-6. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094619
  • Rhind DJA, Owusu-Sekyere F. (2019). Evaluating the impacts of working towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. Sport Management Review, 23, 104-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.smr.2019.05.009

Safeguarding culture

Following undeniable evidence of child maltreatment in sport, Dr Daniel Rhind has provided a comprehensive and holistic approach to address individual, interpersonal and systemic contributors to this issue.

He has found that to tackle child maltreatment in sport, a commitment to implement safety management systems, committed leadership and stakeholder engagement are required, as outlined in the Safeguarding Culture in Sport Model.

  • Owusu-Sekyere F, Rhind DJA, Hills L. (2021). Safeguarding Culture: Towards a new approach to preventing child maltreatment in sport. Sport Management review, 1-23. DOI: 10.1080/14413523.2021.1930951

Tracking progress towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport

To understand the existence (or not) of reporting mechanisms for child protection violations in sport, as well as how existing reporting and response systems operate, Dr Rhind has conducted research on current abuse disclosure and reporting pathways in sport, with support from the Centre for Sport and Human Rights.

This research describes global child protection systems and reporting mechanisms, and identifies major areas of concern, in areas of effective case resolution, healing and children’s experiences along reporting pathways in sport.

  • Tuakli-Worsornu T, Kirby S, Tiivas A, Rhind DJA. (2023). The journey to reporting child rights violations in sport: Stakeholder perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.907247
  • Wilson AL, Rhind DJA. (2022). Tracking progress towards the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. Social Sciences, 11, 322-330. DOI: 10.3390/socsci11080322

Meet the expert

Dr Daniel Rhind

Dr Daniel Rhind

Reader in Organisational Psychology