Special Olympics Slovakia organized its first-ever Safeguarding seminar as part of the Special Olympics Operation Safeguard project, funded by Erasmus+, with 60 participants attending.
This seminar provided attendees with an excellent foundation to the further development of safeguarding policies, training and reporting at Special Olympics Slovakia.
During the 3-hour seminar, teachers, volunteers, coaches and youth leaders learned about and discussed all aspects of safeguarding. This included how to introduce Special Olympics athletes to safeguarding, why safeguarding is important, what behaviors are acceptable by volunteers, coaches, Special Olympics staff and fellow athletes, and what behaviours are not.
Safeguarding is an essential part of any sports organization’s activities as it is central to the creation of positive environments for participants, coaches, staff and volunteers. Safeguarding focuses on ensuring that participants are protected from potential sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Safeguarding also focuses on creating a safe and positive space for participants to train and compete. While most safeguarding policies focus on children, it is essential that sports organizations who work with adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) have procedures in place to protect both adults and children with ID. This project will help Special Olympics programs better understand the requirements needed to protect athletes.
“To keep our athletes safe is our major priority. To let them know we care is helping them to be stronger and braver to openly speak about abuse.”
Special Olympics Slovakia Project Manager Veronika Sedlackova added, “Prevention is the key. It is scary to know that all kinds of situations can happen, but it also feels safe to know that if we keep our eyes open and stay alert, we can stop it.
Special Olympics Slovakia is part of the wider project consortium in this Erasmus+ funded project which features Special Olympics Estonia, Special Olympics Ireland, Special Olympics Cyprus, Special Olympics Belgium, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia and external expert partner Centre for Sports and Human Rights. The focus of this project, which will finish in June 2024, is for the Special Olympics programs within the consortium to develop safeguarding policies, safeguarding training and reporting procedures to give the best possible protection to their athletes. The key learnings and recommendations from the project will be used to support the roll out of safeguarding policies among the National Programmes in the Europe/Eurasia region.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.