This week (15-21 November) marks Safeguarding Adults Week, an initiative set up by the Ann Craft Trust to promote a nationwide conversation on safeguarding.

This year the focus is around creating safer cultures.

The BAC’s Head of Safeguarding, Elaine Francis, explains here how the organisation strives to ensure that safeguarding is truly embedded within elite sport.

“At the BAC, one of our key priorities is to safeguard the welfare and interest of our members. Safeguarding refers to the steps and actions that are taken to promote the welfare of those in sport, and prevent them from experiencing harm and/or mistreatment.

“We work within the high-performance system to promote a culture where safe sport is fair, equitable and free from all forms of abuse.

“We recognise the additional vulnerabilities faced by elite athletes: The 2021 CARE report (Census of Athlete Rights Experiences) took a global look at elite athletes’ experiences in sport and concluded that 1 in 3 elite athletes reported experiencing some form a physical abuse whilst training or competing, and over half reported suffering emotional abuse at least once.

“Therefore, it is crucial that the BAC facilitates nationwide conversations to ensure that measures are not only put into place, but adhered to across the system, to ensure athlete welfare and safety.

“Any athlete on World Class Programme is automatically a member of the BAC and therefore entitled to advice on safeguarding, or any other issue.”

What is the BAC doing to create a safer culture in sport?

As part of Safeguarding Adults Week, the Ann Craft Trust is holding its annual conference, focused on Adult Grooming and Exploitation. The BAC’s Head of Safeguarding, Elaine Francis, and Head of Athlete Support, Sam Little, have been invited to co-deliver a workshop looking at learning from best practice as we recognise grooming and exploitation can be experienced at any age and in a wide range of contexts, including elite athletes.

The aim of the session is to understand how professionals and those working within the high-performance system can have better and more effective conversations with athletes from an earlier age to ensure athletes have the knowledge and confidence to recognise signs of grooming, know who to contact for support, and feel able to speak out without fear of repercussion.

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