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A national children’s charity has called on the Scottish Government to consider regulating sports coaches to bring them into line with other volunteers and paid workers with access to children.
Due to a loophole in the law, sports coaches have not been part of the ongoing PVG (protecting vulnerable groups) checking system for adults working with people under the age of 18 or vulnerable adults.
Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said: ‘The PVG system has been operational for five years and so we want to make sure that it is operating effectively and consistently, that organisations are clear when checks are necessary and that adults who work with children are members of the scheme.
‘It is remarkable that roles such as sports coaches are not considered to be a position of trust by law given the significant amount of responsibility, influence and authority that an individual in this role can hold in a young person’s life.
‘Sadly, we know that this trust can be abused and it is therefore vital that this legal definition is widened to include sports coaches and other youth workers, bolstering protection for teenagers at risk of grooming once they pass the age of consent.
‘There can be no room for complacency. Good policies need strong and consistent application and it is right that, particularly in light of the recent allegations in football, we need to look at what more can be done to protect and support our children in sports settings.’