FA historical abuse adviser to speak at sport seminar

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Dr Mike Hartill, a senior lecturer in Sociology of Sport at Edge Hill University, has been booked to lead a training session during a conference called Child Exploitation in Sport, which is aimed at informing volunteers or workers within sport about the issue of child sexual exploitation and how it can be prevented.

The lecturer, who has been carrying out research on the subject for around 15 years, said: ‘In this seminar I provide an introduction to the relatively recent recognition that sport is also an arena where children can be sexually exploited and abused.

‘Delegates will hear about the development of “safeguarding in sport”, current knowledge in the field, and have the opportunity to discuss survey and case-study data on a range of key issues.

‘I hope my visit can contribute to ongoing efforts in the Jersey sports community and I look forward to sharing insights and experiences that might inform policy development, implementation and training.’

Nikki Holmes, sports club officer for Jersey Sport, said that events such as the seminar provided support to the Island’s sport organisations.

‘This has been in the pipeline for a while now. The timing of it is quite interesting given everything that has been going on.

‘It is very topical at the moment, with the FA leading an inquiry into historical abuse and, although it is not strictly related to sport, the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry,’ she said.

Ms Holmes added that it was often difficult for sports clubs to keep up with safeguarding regulations, which change regularly. She said: ‘Almost all of the safeguarding officers in Jersey’s sport clubs are volunteers and they can feel quite isolated and lonely having to deal with it all. We held a similar event in November and they called for more of these kind of things.

‘Events such as these give them the opportunity to meet their counterparts from other clubs and discuss how they operate.’

She also added that it was imperative that the subject of child abuse continued to be discussed.

She said: ‘Abuse happens when we do not talk about it. If there is anything we can do to raise the profile of this and make sure children are safe then we should do it.’

The seminar is due to be held at St Paul’s Centre on 30 August. Anyone wishing to attend should visit jerseysport.je

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