Child-focused international aid agency ChildFund and Oceania Rugby will expand their program to strengthen safeguarding systems across rugby to Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, following commencement in Nauru in February 2020.
The wellbeing of young people participating in sport has become an increasing focus among International Sports Federations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has recognised the importance of establishing policies and procedures to ensure children and adults participating in sport activities at all levels are safe from all types of harm and abuse.
As a Regional Association of World Rugby, Oceania Rugby is committed to ensuring rugby is a safe sport for everyone across the region both on and off the field.
The Safeguarding in Sport Project was first launched in late 2019, with ChildFund providing technical expertise, tools, training and support to Oceania Rugby to build safeguarding systems in-line with international best practice.
Oceania Rugby General Manager Bruce Cook said that rugby is committed to providing a positive and high-quality experience in all forms and at all levels of the game that starts with a foundation of safety.
“Working with ChildFund, Oceania Rugby is committed to establishing a culture and systems that prioritises safeguarding for all participants, and equally, we are committed to supporting our Member Unions to do the same,” Cook said.
The Safeguarding in Sport Project has 4 key objectives:
- To create and sustain safe environments for children in sport through the development of safeguarding standards and processes at the regional and national level;
- To address negative social norms with the aim of fostering positive behaviours and deterring harmful ones;
- To establish a strong evidence base to strengthen learning and inform further development of safeguarding in sport initiatives (with a focus on Oceania); and
- To support National Governing Bodies in establishing links with formal and informal service providers to support case management and response.
ChildFund Sport for Development Director Chris Mastaglio said: “Oceania Rugby’s determination to build an environment and supporting systems where all players – but particularly children – can thrive and feel safe is to be commended.
“We are really excited to be continuing our partnership with Oceania Rugby and their Member Unions in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Samoa and Solomon Islands to ensure that everyone engaging in rugby across the region will benefit from a safer environment, both physically and emotionally.”
The Safeguarding in Sport Project builds on learning and resources developed by ChildFund Australia through work with more than 30 sports organisations around the world.
ChildFund is recognised as a Pioneer Organisation in the International Safeguards for Children in Sport and 2017 was awarded the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport Award at the Beyond Sport Global Awards in recognition of its work supporting sporting bodies to improve safeguarding practices.
As the regional governing body of World Rugby, Oceania Rugby has committed to supporting members to strengthen their safeguarding systems at all levels.