Guidance on transporting young people
Many clubs could not operate without the goodwill of volunteers and parents ensuring that children are transported to events and returned home in a private car. Sport Ireland and Sport NI do not state that coaches/volunteers can never transport a young person by themselves, however they recommend individuals and organisations recognise the risks and put in place appropriate measures to reduce these risks.
For further information on transport guidelines in relation to safeguarding please contact your sport’s governing body .
The vast majority of coaches and volunteers will help out through a genuine desire to see children or their particular sport develop. Unfortunately we must face the reality that a small minority of people will join a sports club as an opportunity to gain access to children. These adults create an air of acceptability about their role, therefore justifying their close contact with children.
Although those who want to abuse children may find it more difficult to do so in a group setting, such as a leisure centre or sports pitch, they can use this time to gain the trust of not only the young person but also other adults, including parents/carers. This is known as 'grooming' or 'entrapment'. Developing credibility is an essential part of any abusers ‘grooming process.’ An abuser will "groom" the environment i.e. creating a justifiable reason for getting the child alone.
Easy rules to remember when a club are organising transport
- It is good practice to inform parents who will be transporting their child, why and how long the journey will take.
- Attempt to have more than one child in the car.
- Alternate drivers if possible and which child is dropped off last.
- Driver should have a point of contact/mobile phone.
- A person other than the planned driver should talk to the child about transport arrangements to check they are comfortable about the plans.
- The driver must ensure that they have insurance to carry others.
- Drivers representing and volunteering on behalf of a club should be vetted through AccessNI/National Vetting Bureau if driving regularly, and therefore meeting the regulated activity criteria.
- Consider the need for booster seats.
- Parents and coaches can also download Sport Irelands Safeguarding App.
Sport Ireland's Safeguarding App
Personal Arrangements Between Parents
If parents make personal arrangements between themselves this is not the responsibility of the club unless there are particular concerns about a parent’s ability to drive for example due to the consumption of alcohol.
The Use of Booster Seats
From 2006, the law in Europe requires all children in cars, vans and other goods vehicles to be carried using an appropriate child restraint until either they have reached the age of 12 years or are 150 cm (5” in Republic of Ireland) and 135 cms (4’ 5” in Northern Ireland) or whichever comes first with very few exceptions. The European law allowed countries to opt for a minimum height of between 135 and 150 cm.
Republic of Ireland | Use of Booster Seats
Northern Ireland | Use of Booster Seats
NSPCC | Transporting Children