This page is dedicated to providing you with essential information on safeguarding, which is vital for young people and adults involved in grassroots sports.

Participating in sports can have significant benefits, such as promoting physical health, building social skills, and boosting self-confidence. However, without proper safeguards in place, individuals may also be at risk of abuse, neglect, or harm.

It is essential that all those involved in grassroots sports are aware of the signs to watch out for and understand their responsibilities in preventing such incidents from occurring. These signs may include changes in behavior, sudden injuries, or unexplained absences.

Protecting young people is particularly crucial as they are more vulnerable and may not have the knowledge or experience to identify or report incidents of abuse or neglect. Therefore, it is crucial that adults involved in grassroots sports take necessary measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of young people.

This guidance page will provide you with information on how to report incidents of abuse or neglect, and will signpost you to advice on how to identify abuse, what safeguards should be in place, and how to create a safe and inclusive grassroots sports environment.

As advice and best practice differs from region to region and sport to sport, and is changing all the time, Spond does not seek to provide a fully comprehensive guide on this website. The purpose of this section is to signpost our users to the resources and contacts they need.

NOTE: As the majority of Spond’s UK users are in England, we have based this section on guidance from Sport England. The advice applies equally to other parts of the UK and Ireland where the same basic principles are used, and we have also included links to other national governing bodies below.

Children and Young People

If you have concerns about the wellbeing of a child, or children, it’s right that you share these with the right people. You should always bear in mind, however, that it is not your responsibility to judge whether or not a child is being abused, but to report your concerns appropriately.

For non-urgent concerns, there are several options available, including seeking support from your national governing body (if applicable), local authority social care services, the NSPCC, or the Child Protection in Sport Unit.

  • In case you suspect that a child is in imminent danger or requires urgent medical assistance, it's imperative to call 999 for emergency services right away. You can also contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 for immediate support in reporting any risks.

  • If the child isn't in immediate danger and isn't injured, it's important to report your concerns appropriately. If you're affiliated with a national governing body, you can refer to their safeguarding procedures to know whom to report your concerns to. If their procedures aren't available, you can use their complaints procedure or call their main contact number.

  • If your club or activity isn't affiliated with a governing body, you can seek support from your Active Partnership or local children's social care services (Social Services). If you can't find any available support, it's crucial to contact the local police.

Ensure you keep a record of your concern and how you reported it.


In case an adult is in immediate danger or requires urgent medical attention, it is important to call 999 for emergency services. If possible, inform the adult of your actions.

If the adult is not in immediate danger or injured, it is advisable to discuss your concerns with them and work together to determine the next steps.

If you are affiliated with a national governing body, consult their safeguarding procedures to address any concerns. If such procedures are unavailable, report the matter through their complaints process or contact their main office number.

  • If your club or activity is not affiliated with a governing body, seek guidance from your Active Partnership or local adults social care team.

  • If no one else is available to assist, contact the local police for help.

  • If you require support with safeguarding issues, the Ann Craft Trust can provide expert advice to providers and participants.

Support is also available via the Ann Craft Trust – they can offer expert advice on any safeguarding issues to providers and participants.

Remember that you can seek advice without disclosing personal information, but referrals to social care should be made with the adult's consent whenever possible.

Be sure to keep a record of your concerns and the actions you took in response.

Further Guidance

You can find the main contact number for all of the national governing bodies and sporting activities recognised by Sport England here.

You can also find full and detailed guidance on Safeguarding on the Sport England website.

Other useful links

Find Out More

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