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Safeguarding in Sport Special Interest Group

'Principles of Participation: Including Child Athletes in Decision-Making in Sport - Moving from Rhetoric to Reality'

Tuesday 27th June 2023 9:30am - 11:30am

Guest Speaker: Dr Melanie Lang

Involving children and young people in decision-making in sport is more than a legal imperative underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; it is key to democratising sport and realising safe sporting environments. When done well, children’s participation, often referred to as giving them a ‘voice’, can enhance child safeguarding and protection from abuse by breaking down power imbalances, encouraging disclosures and a listening culture, and creating innovative, more athlete-centred sporting spaces.

However, sport in the UK and globally has been slow involve athletes in decision-making and there remains much misunderstanding among sport stakeholders about what meaningful child participation looks like in practice. As such, incorporating children’s voices can be said to be the missing link in most current strategies to safeguard children and promote their rights in sport.

This session will identify some of the barriers to child participation in sport and present a framework for best practice in implementing meaningful child participation to help sport stakeholders better engage children and young people in decision-making.