‘Roundtable: Child Safeguarding Policy in Sports Setting’ Nearly 60 Practioners Attended the Event to Exchange Views

Children are our future. It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard our children. Children’s best interests should be taken into consideration in all aspects including education, life, activity design and interest development.

Plan International Hong Kong understands that every child is unique. All children have the right to be protected under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). A clear Child Safeguarding Policy is to ensure employees have fundamental principles to follow so that children can get the maximum protection when participating in any activities of the organisation.

Nearly 60 people from the industry participate in the roundtable and discuss the implementation of child safeguarding measures in sports training.

Plan International Hong Kong understands unity is important in influencing work. Child safeguarding work needs to be pushed forward step by step. We know that joining hands with different sectors to obtain the maximum benefits is significant. In recent years, various incidents exposed children to the harm in the sports sector and they reminded us again of the need for all parties to protect children in sports training. Therefore, Plan International Hong Kong organised the first “Roundtable: Child Safeguarding Policy in Sports Setting” on 23 June 2020. With the support from heavyweights from the sports sector, the event achieved a great success. The guests include Dr. Trisha LEAHY, BBS (Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute), Prof. CHUNG Pak-Kwong, JP (Associate Dean (Development), Faculty of Social Sciences of Hong Kong Baptist University), Ms. WONG Yeuk-ling, Betty (Women’s Football Manager of The Hong Kong Football Association), Mr. CHAN Ki-tak, Peter (Chairperson of Hong Kong Association of Youth Development Kowloon City District Branch), Mrs. Priscilla LUI TSANG Sun-kai, BBS (Chairperson of the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights) – the pioneer in child protection and around 60 practitioners of sports industry.

Dr. Kanie Siu, CEO of Plan International Hong Kong (second from the left) thanks our honourable guests and Dr. Sandra Tsang (fourth from the left), Board Advisor of the organisation, for sharing valuable insights on child safeguarding in the event.

Dr. Kanie Siu, CEO of Plan International Hong Kong delivers the opening speech.

Dr. Kanie Siu, CEO of Plan International Hong Kong, shares her feelings of her work in the organisation in the past 5 years. “Although Hong Kong is a developed region, our child participation and child safeguarding system still have room for improvement. Economic development grows rapidly but child abuse incidents continue to happen one after another. The general public often care about the punishment an abuser got, but tend to forget about the lessons learnt after some time and fail to prevent another tragedy from happening.”

Dr. Trisha Leahy, BBS, shares her valuable experience of institutionalising Child Safeguarding Policy in the Hong Kong Sport Institute.

Dr. Trisha Leahy, BBS, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute, encouraged other sports organisations to set up their Child Safeguarding Policy in the forum. ‘Some organisations might think that implementing a Child Safeguarding Policy implies a lack of trust in its staff. On the contrary, the Child Safeguarding Policy can set a clearer code of conduct which can help its staff understand their roles and set proper boundaries of interaction with children. These rules do not only ensure the safety of children, but also protect the staff’s reputation by avoiding situations which may arouse suspicion.’

Prof. Pak-Kwong Chung, JP, shares about safeguarding children’s health and well-being in sports activities and daily training.

Professor Pak-Kwong Chung, JP, Associate Dean (Development), Faculty of Social Sciences of Hong Kong Baptist University, suggested to enhance the child-safeguarding-related content in universities’ sport and physical education curriculum to raise the sense of ethics and capacity of coaches in ensuring the safety of children. He also recommended the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong China and national sports associations to take the lead in establishing procedural guidelines on safeguarding children in different sports.

Participants exchange points of view in the Q&A session.

From honourable speakers’ sharing to group discussions, all parts were remarkable. All the participants are looking forward to a child safeguarding policy and most of the participants would like to have more training on setting up the policy and code of conduct, hoping everyone in the organisation can go one step further to safeguard children. Plan International Hong Kong is delighted to see everyone has a common goal and welcome the public to contact our Child Safeguarding Advisor for coach training and consultancy service.

Last but not least, Plan International Hong Kong would like to thank all honorable speakers, guests and participants once again for joining us and sharing their valuable opinions! We will continue to organise different workshops and events and work hand in hand with all stakeholders in the sports industry on enhancing children’s development in Hong Kong!