Canoeing South Africa has joined the growing international Safeguarding movement which seeks to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals to allow people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults, to live free from abuse, harm and neglect with the ratification of an agreement with The Guardian.
Safeguarding in Sport is a growing global movement with policy implementation being driven by a growing number of International Sporting bodies. The IOC and UNICEF Sport have driven the need to implement safeguarding into every national federation in the world and the KAZAN Action Plan, to which South Africa is a signatory, dictates that all National Federations must have a safeguarding policy and dedicated Safeguarding Officer and Safeguarding Training for every person involved in sport.
Closer to home the national Olympic body SASCOC has requested all Federations develop their Safeguarding Policies and take control of their own Safeguarding.
Janet Simpkins, CSA’s National Development Coordinator commented that she knew as a federation Canoeing South Africa had a responsibility to ensure all of their athletes, as well as administrators were aware and protected in this safeguarding space.
In that portfolio, where she deals with many young athletes, she felt that CSA needed to strengthen their internal processes.
Having dealt with The Guardian before, she turned to them to learn more about the requirements, not only from a legal point of view but meeting the moral responsibility too.
The CSA Board members gave their stamp of approval and now that the country is easing out of hard lockdown restrictions, Simpkins feels it is time to implement the roll-out.
The partnership with The Guardian will include the implementation of the Federation’s National Safeguarding Policy Document and ensure that all coaches and staff attend their online Basic Safeguarding Awareness Course (SAC). They will ensure that every club has access to a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).
The partnership will also see every single person who is employed permanently or in a volunteer capacity through Canoeing SA, being cleared against both the Child Protection Register and the Sexual Offences Register which is a legal requirement.
Another one of the more exciting developments will include the implementation of The Guardian’s internationally patented anonymous reporting app which will allow all athletes, but most importantly vulnerable athletes, the ability to report anonymously on any challenges they may be facing.
The Guardian recently held a webinar on “Safeguarding in South African Sport” attended by many Federation Heads. For attendees, Simpkins and President of CSA, Kim Pople, “this just further cemented that we are heading in the right direction”.
Marc Hardwick The MD of the Guardian said, “We are extremely proud to have been appointed as the Official National Safeguarding Partner for CSA and it has been encouraging to see how driven and committed they are to this process.”
Simpkins has since been appointed the Federation’s Senior Safeguarding Officer and will oversee the roll out process and manage all future elements of safeguarding.
“For me, having The Guardian as a resource gives me peace of mind. I work with a number of children and to know that I have done everything in my power to ensure their safety is important. I look forward to learning more,” said Simpkins.
“As I’ve since discovered, safeguarding is not just about the protection of minors but is far more complex than I originally thought. This process not only includes addressing safeguarding from a reactive perspective, but really calls on the Federation to be proactive in their approach.
“The vulnerability doesn’t only extend to children but includes all athletes, those with any physical or mental disability, women, young adults and even high performance athletes and is very relevant in this day and age. I’m grateful for the guidance and expertise The Guardian will bring to our journey, ensuring safe sport for all” she added.