ASA Social Media Presentation - Sport and Recreation Alliance

ASA Social Media Presentation
Jenni Dearman
National Child Safeguarding Coordinator
Who are the ASA?
• The ASA is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of
swimming, diving, water polo, open water and synchronised
swimming in England.
• We are responsible for approximately 1,200 affiliated member clubs
and swim schools, advising and regulating these organisations and
their members on child safeguarding and child protection.
• British Swimming is the performance and excellence arm for all
home country swimming associations. It shares many staff and
resources with the ASA including the ASA Child Safeguarding Policy
and Procedures commonly known as Wavepower.
• Currently the ASA has 176,119 members of which 70% are young
people under 18 years of age.
Brief History of Child Safeguarding
• Since 1994 the ASA has worked closely with the NSPCC becoming
the first NGB to develop child protection procedures for sport after
the first case of child abuse was identified in swimming.
• Appointed a qualified and experienced social worker as their Lead
Independent Child Protection Officer to develop child safeguarding
policy and procedures and manage a case management structure.
• In collaboration with the NSPCC “In at the Deep End” was published
providing a case study of child abuse cases in the ASA from 1997 –
• This study identified key messages in practice which has assisted
the ASA and other sport NGBs to develop safeguarding good
practice and procedures.
• In 2006 my role was created. Primarily working with the Lead
Officer to develop and implement the ASA child safeguarding policy
and procedures and provide advice, guidance and training to ASA
clubs and members.
Where we are now
• In 2008 the ASA achieved the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit
Advanced Standards for Child Safeguarding in Sport.
• Acting as a pilot organisation for the new safeguarding framework,
assisting the CPSU and Sport England.
• In 2008 the ASA Youth Forum was formed. A group of 16 – 25 year
olds who assist the ASA to encourage young people to be involved
and stay involved with our sport. They play an active role in
advising the ASA on policies and procedures that impact on young
people in our sport.
• In 2012 In at the Deep End 2 – Ten Years on is planned providing a
study of Child Safeguarding cases from 2007 - 2011.
• In 2012 the ASA Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures entitled
Wavepower will be fully updated.
Social media and the ASA
• In 2009 the ASA began to receive a large number of enquiries from
clubs and parents concerned by the potential implications of social
media on them and how they should act.
• Historical joint policy between the BSCTA and ASA on the use of
mobile phones and e-mail by coaches.
• Increased calls relating to cyber bullying.
• CPSU published a detailed briefing paper on social networking
services for sport.
• Although useful, our clubs requested concise and role specific social
media guidelines.
• Particular concerns over those in a position of trust having contact
with young people in their care.
Case management figures
• All child safeguarding cases are recorded by the ASA. Cases are
divided by subject matter e.g. physical, sexual etc.
• The amount of concerns being received in this new area resulted in
the ASA adding inappropriate communication as a category.
• Recording started for the period of 2009 -2010.
• The category is sub-divided to show:
• Cases involving Coaches;
• Cases involving Swimmers;
• Cases involving Parents; and
• Bullying
What we did
• In 2009 we embarked on a consultation exercise involving club
welfare officers, coaches and club members, ASA personnel with
expertise in this area, Facebook, British Swimming Coaches
Association and the ASA Youth Forum.
• Advice was also sought from a Local Authority Designated Officer
and the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU).
• The ASA Youth Forum was able to provide valuable insight and
feedback from a young person’s perspective.
• Views ranged from those wanting to blanket ban social media
completely to those who could see the benefits of its use in a club
setting but concerned as to how such use could be controlled to
protect both young people and adult members.
Benefits / Concerns
• Effective communication tool / ability to share important information
• Promotion tool for swimming clubs / increasing participation
• 16/17 year olds who are young coaches / teachers or officials able
to share professional information with their adult counterparts or
mentors to develop their skills further
• Grooming behaviour / press coverage
• Persons in a position of trust and / or responsibility to young people
• Cyber bullying
• How to stay safe online – confusion over privacy settings
• Parental responsibility or club responsibility?
• Posting of inappropriate comments, photographs or videos about
swimming clubs, adult officers, parents or swimmers leading to
action through statutory agencies
The Result
• It became apparent very quickly during the consultation that the
guidance needed to relate specifically to an individuals role at the
club. The resulting areas we cover in our guidance are :
 Coaches, teachers and others in a position of trust and responsibility
to the children at the club;
 Coaches who have children that swim at the club;
 Coaches, teachers and young volunteers who are under 18;
 ASA members under 18;
 Parents;
 What to do if you have concerns;and
 Signposting to outside agencies.
The reaction so far
• The guidance published in September 2010 has been well received,
clubs have stated they find the advice clear, concise,easy to follow
and relevant in a club setting.
• Endorsed by the CPSU and signposted as recommended good
practice on their website.
• The guidance has been made available to our colleagues in sport
some of whom have adapted it for their own use.
• Some sports have looked at a parental consent type approach to
allow those in a position of trust to have contact with young people.
• This approach may be appropriate in some sport settings
• Our guidance is not a set in stone policy, it is a living document
which will be developed further as we receive feedback and ideas
from our clubs.
Further development
• To develop the guidance further we have requested examples /
feedback from those who have club situations which are either not
covered or where it is felt the guidance is overly restrictive.
• Moving forward we anticipate merging our historical mobile phone /
e-mail policy together with social media guidance.
• CPSU are looking at providing more workshops for sport NGBs and
CSPs to promote the benefits and safe use of social media.
• The ASA / BS as a business has a twitter site. Parental guidelines
on twitter our published on our website.
• The BOA has recently published a do’s and don’ts style guide aimed
at world class athletes, coaches and support staff. They also have a
specific twitter and facebook guide.
Going that extra mile
• One of the biggest challenges facing the ASA, our clubs and
members has been knowledge and understanding the ever
changing and sometimes scary world of social media.
• ASA has published a step by step guide to Twitter.
• A similar guide for Facebook is planned.
• Our clubs have found engaging with their local Police Safe Schools
and Communities Team a useful tool. Excellent training has been
provided by this team to both adults and children in some of our
• Our clubs use literature available from organisations such as
ChildNet, Child Exploitation Online Protection Unit (CEOP), Safe
Network and Kidscape as part of welcome packs to swimmers and
parents to provide further information on staying safe online.
Q & As
Thank you all for your time
If you require any further information please e-mail
me at [email protected]

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