Kristine Johnson, newly-appointed Safeguarding Champion on our Board, explains how we’re working to protect all who are involved in basketball in Scotland
In sport as in life, the feeling of safety is often the cornerstone upon which all growth and success are built. Therefore, whether we’re talking about children, young people or adults in running or wheelchair basketball, we want the environment to be safe for all to enjoy and develop their game. But as we’ve seen in the recent high profile issues in football, when sport allow gaps and complacency to develop unchecked within their policies and practices, it can result in devastating consequences for the lives of young and vulnerable people.
As the newly-appointed Safeguarding Champion on the Board of basketballscotland, I’d like to explain to you what we’re currently doing, and what we’re going to do in the near future, to be proactive in our sport to ensure that we keep all people safe.
Putting children first
At the heart of this work are four key elements: working to improve our own policies, learning from our own experiences, learning from other sports and learning from you the membership. Let me explain each one in more detail.
To start with, having the right policies in place is vital to ensure that we have a strong foundation to shape the practices and behaviours we need to see, and for investigating issues if they arise.
Children 1st is regarded as the leading body on issues relating to safeguarding, protection and prevention. Following the recent launch of their Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport, basketballscotland staff have been making good progress reviewing existing documents and working towards meeting those standards. With a thorough self-assessment completed using the Children 1st tracker, and following discussion of the assessment with Children 1st, we’re now in the process of developing a detailed action plan. This work will also involve some reflective practice of what we have learned over the past two years.
We’re also conscious that this an opportunity to learn from other sports to ensure that basketball takes a decisive approach to safeguarding. The recent recommendations relating to the review panel findings in football will also be extremely helpful to us.
Safeguarding – everyone’s responsibility
But I also want to hear from you about your experiences as part of our ongoing work to grow the sport through collaboration and discussion.
At the forthcoming AGM, I’ll be asking club representatives to get in touch with me to talk about their experiences of safeguarding: what’s working well, what could be improved, and where we might be able to give clubs additional support. For me, your first-hand experiences can be hugely important in helping to ensure that our children, young and vulnerable people can experience a safe, fun environment within which to learn and enjoy basketball, on and off the court.
In basketball, whether we’re coaches, club owners, administrators, volunteers or officials, we are all one large basketball family and we have a huge responsibility to play our part in keeping people safe through our own behaviours, but also by being aware of the behaviours of those we see around us.
Let’s all aim to work together, ask questions and continue to improve, to ensure basketball remains a safe space.
Get in touch
If you would like to get in touch with me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org