Creating safer spaces for children across Asia

Photo: ChildFund's Pass It Back Safeguarding in Sport Program will ensure sporting unions in Asia are equipped with the skills and tools they need to keep children physically and emotionally safe [credit: Savanhxay Xayyasone]

Photo: ChildFund's Pass It Back Safeguarding in Sport Program will ensure sporting unions in Asia are equipped with the skills and tools they need to keep children physically and emotionally safe [image credit: Lao Rugby Federation]

BANGKOK, THAILAND, 14 September 2016 — Pass It Back has launched a new initiative to improve safeguarding practices for young people involved in rugby across Asia.

The Pass It Back Safeguarding in Sport Program will ensure that growth towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics will provide inclusive and safe environments for children playing rugby.

Developed by ChildFund Australia and partners, Pass It Back is a unique sport for development program, which not only promotes the right to play in regions where children have little access to organised sport, but provides important learning opportunities by focusing on leadership, planning for the future and gender equality.

With extensive experience in the design, implementation and monitoring of safeguarding arrangements in sport, Pass It Back now plans to share best practice methods among rugby federations across Asia, in the lead-up to global sporting events taking place in the region over the next four years.

Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund Australia, said: “Ensuring the safety and protection of all children taking part in our program has been a priority for Pass It Back from day one. With three years of implementation under our belts, we can now advise other organisations and sporting bodies on the most appropriate and effective safeguarding practices.

"We also know that where safeguarding measures are working effectively, this has the added benefit of increasing the number of girls taking part in organised sports activities. Pass It Back is testament to this – currently, more than half of all players and coaches are female.”

The Pass It Back Safeguarding in Sport Program will be implemented between September 2016 and December 2018, with rollout at both regional and national levels through Asia Rugby and its members, building on the International Safeguards for Children in Sport.

Working initially with 23 and ultimately over 30 national federations, the Pass It Back team will undertake an assessment of current safeguarding practices across the sport in Asia. From this starting point, up to eight national federations will then be supported to develop and implement minimum safeguarding standards, which include codes of conduct, background checks for staff and volunteers, dealing with disclosure and developing links with relevant child protection service providers.

Pass It Back Director Chris Mastaglio added: “With two major sporting events on the horizon in Japan, and more regional interest in the game of rugby than ever before, we absolutely need to make sure that sporting unions in Asia are equipped with the skills and tools they need to keep children physically and emotionally safe.

"Sport is a powerful development tool, so we want to make sure that we create an environment for participants in which they feel confident, relaxed and free from harm.”

For more information, please contact Larissa Tuohy on 02 8281 3106

About Pass It Back

Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development program using rugby to equip children and young people in a dynamic Asia to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and ‘pass it back’ to their communities. Developed by ChildFund Australia, the program is implemented with the support of Asia Rugby and Women Win. Pass It Back is powered by Get Into Rugby, a World Rugby initiative which aims to encourage children to Try, Play and Stay in the game. Visit www.passitback.org

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