National Integrity Framework: Safeguarding Children and Young People

Last month, we rolled out a blog post introducing the National Integrity Framework (NIF), outlining its core policies, and highlighting the essential connection between each member of the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) and these principles. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can find it here.

Over the coming months, we will explore each specific policy of the National Integrity Framework (NIF) to provide you with more comprehensive insights. Kicking off this series, we’ll focus on the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. At ASAPD, we hold this policy in high regard, considering it one of the most crucial elements within our framework. Upholding the safety and well-being of children is paramount in our community, and we’re committed to ensuring it remains a top priority.

Children should always feel safe and supported in their environment, and this is certainly the case in sports. Just as there are rules to govern conduct during play, there are also rules that outline expected behaviour for others who may be present. All these rules share the same goal: to ensure the safety of children.

A Brief Video Explainer of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy  

We understand that people learn in different ways. That’s why we offer different ways to learn about each policy.  You can watch a video explainer of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy at this link: SGCYP video. Also, for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, the policy is available in Auslan at this link:  SGCYP Auslan video.

If you prefer reading, we’ll provide a detailed introduction to the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy below.

Safeguarding Children and Young People – Some Facts Which Make This Policy Necessary: 

Despite the desire for sport to be a safe and positive experience for children and young people, history (including recent history) shows this is not always the case. This was laid bare by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (“Royal Commission”). The facts of the Royal Commission are startling.


cases handled 


letters received 


private sessions conducted 


Referrals to authorities 


Of these cases, 408 instances of abuse occurred in sport, with 66% of the victim-survivors in sport between 10 and 14 years of age, and 11% of the victim-survivors aged 15 and above.  

Additional research conducted with victim-survivors show poor experience across different metrics: 


Mental Ill-Health 


Difficulties with relationships 


Difficulties with education/finance 


Furthermore, research has demonstrated that people in minority groups (including people with disability) are twice as likely to suffer from sexual abuse, with 75% of cases involving sexual abuse being peer-to-peer abuse, and not necessarily a person in a position of power.  

Unfortunately, it is well-known that not all victim-survivors report their abuse to others, so it is imperative that we as a community implement as many barriers to those who may abuse children to provide them the safe environment they deserve because the impact is devastating. ASAPD and its members are committed to creating this safe environment, and we ask you to join our commitment to protect sport together.  

Prohibited Conduct Under the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy: 

Prohibited conduct is conduct that is banned under the policy. The conduct prohibited in this policy includes: 

  1. Child abuse, including physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and exposure to family violence. 
  2. Grooming, which is behaviour that manipulates or controls a child/young person, their family, guardian and carers, or other support networks, or organisations, with the intention to gain access to the child/young person, obtain the child/young person’s compliance, maintain the child/young person’s silence, and avoid discovery of sexual abuse. 
  3. Misconduct with a child, including age-inappropriate behaviour, or behaviour that places the child at risk of harm. 
  4. Asking a child to keep any communication secret.  
  5. Supplying alcohol, drugs (including tobacco), or medicines, except with appropriate consent and under a valid prescription.  
  6. Failing to comply with recruitment and screening requirements. 
  7. Failing to report a breach of Prohibited Conduct. 
  8. Breaching any of the child-safe practices that cover actions including (but not limited to): 
  • Photographing/filming children.  
  • Travel arrangements. 
  • Overnight stays. 
  • Change room arrangements. 
  • Electronic and online communications. 
  • Discipline and physical contact.  

The behaviour that can create a lot of concern or confusion for many people is the use of filming and photography of children.  

To address these concerns and provide clarity, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) has developed a comprehensive guidebook outlining best practices for capturing images of children and young people. This guidebook serves as a valuable resource for anyone involved in photographing or filming minors and is accessible here. By adhering to these best practices, we not only foster a safe environment for children and young people but also safeguard adults and other children from any potential allegations of inappropriate photography or filming.

In addition to the guidebook, SIA has conducted  a webinar on this issue, which is available for viewing here. Both the guidebook and webinar offer valuable insights into obtaining informed consent for photographing or filming children and young people, educating children, young people, parents, and staff, and providing guidance on reporting suspected breaches of policies.

Beyond the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy – Actions and Behaviours:

Implementing  the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy was essential here at ASAPD, but it’s important to recognise that having a policy is just one piece of the puzzle. We must also put the requirements of the policy through our behaviours and actions in various situations within the sporting environment, where children may be more vulnerable. These instances include:

  • Recruiting, screening, and inducting staff and volunteers to work with children/young people. 
  • Transporting children/young people to and from venues, or accompanying them to camps or competitions, whether locally, interstate, or even internationally.
  • Providing accommodations for children/young people when they travel for sport. 
  • Ensuring the safety and privacy of change rooms and dressing rooms.

Children and young people are not only vulnerable in physical environments but also in online settings, such as through social media and other online communication tools commonly used in sports. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider how we can make the online environment safe for them and ensure it’s also safe for any adults who may need to communicate with children and young people online, such as coaches.  

To provide guidance on actions and behaviours, SIA has developed resources accessible to staff, volunteers, parents and children alike. You can find these resources under the heading ‘Safeguarding’ here.  

I Think a Policy Has Been Breached – Who Do I Complain To?  

For serious types of misbehaviour, such as breaches of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy, there exists an independent complaint handling body known asSport Integrity Australia (SIA). To file a complaint regarding these matters, you can follow this link. It’s important to note that only  matters occurring after our signing of the NIF on  19 September 2023 can be reported to SIA. However, if you’re uncertain or have serious concerns, we recommend contacting  SIA on 1300 027 232 for a confidential discussion, where they can also provide further guidance on which body is the most appropriate for your complaint.