Child safeguarding policies and procedures

For play, active recreation and sport organisations

Partnership with Safeguarding Children - Tiakina ngā tamariki

Sport NZ is working in partnership with Safeguarding Children with a joint purpose of providing education, policies, procedures and e-learning to help create safer organisations and environments for children and young people in play, active recreation and sport in New Zealand.

Safeguarding Children is a registered charity (cc49059) and a leading provider of child safeguarding and protection education and guidance in New Zealand.

We aim to do this by:

  • Advocating for the voice of tamariki and rangatahi
  • Providing safeguarding measures to organisations in play, active recreation and sport
  • Working with children and young people to ensure their voice is heard
  • Continually developing our child safeguarding purpose through an evidence based approach, in line with global best practice.

Child Protection in Play, Active Recreation and Sport e-learning module

Children’s wellbeing in play, active recreation and sport

As the kaitiaki of the play, active recreation and sport system, Sport NZ is committed to supporting organisations to implement best safeguarding practices to ensure the wellbeing of tamariki and rangitahi. Sport NZ aims to make sure that the involvement of tamariki and rangitahi in play, active recreation and sport is kept fun, safe and inclusive for all.

Sport NZ will help organisations promote the wellbeing of children and young people and consider how they can prevent any risk of harm to children and young people and respond appropriately.

“Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei”
“For us and our children after us”

The whakataukī (proverb) emphasises our duty of care towards the children that we have amongst us already, and our promise to children in future.

  • All children have the right to thrive and participate in play, active recreation and sport.
  • Children and young people’s participation in play, active recreation and sport helps to promote the wellbeing of children.

Children make up a quarter of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population. Their needs, rights and views need to be recognised in decisions made across play, active recreation and sport organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Child safeguarding in play, active recreation and sport

The wellbeing and ability for children and young people to thrive in play, active recreation and sport also requires their safety and welfare is covered too. Children and young people have the right to be free from harm and abuse.

Child safeguarding is the set of actions organisations can take to keep them safe from harm. It is a broad term encompassing the prevention of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect of children.

Even if good preventive measures are in place, concerns about a child’s wellbeing may still arise.

Child protection is an essential part of safeguarding and refers to the action taken in response to a specific concern for a child or children who may be suffering or is/are at risk of suffering harm or abuse. It requires referral to specialised child protection services, law enforcement agencies and expert local organisations that are trained to provide advice and manage cases, if concerns arise.

Sport NZ’s commitment

Sport NZ recognise many organisations already have good policies, procedures and training in place and seeks to build on the great work of those organisations, while providing a starting point for some to begin their child safeguarding journey.

These policies are part of Sport NZ's overall commitment to safeguarding children and will be supplemented with further guidance, templates, knowledge-sharing and training to support national, regional and community organisations.

The policy and procedures have been developed as interactive pdfs for your organisation to download and complete, by adding your organisation’s details in the fields provided, then save to your own files.

They are living documents that will be updated as needed to reflect legislative and best practice changes and feedback and consultation relating to the practical experience of the organisations within the play, active recreation and sport system.

  • Who are these safeguarding policies for?

    This is a resource for all organisations working to safeguard children in play, active recreation and sport, to help them:

    • recognise the needs, rights and views of children to enjoy involvement in play, active recreation and sport
    • promote accountability and responsibility for keeping children safe from harm when involved in play, active recreation and sport
    • self-assess and inform the development of their safeguarding policies, plans and programmes, including for human resource and training needs
    • direct staff to training opportunities and resources to upskill in this area
    • support staff and volunteers who provide services, training and programmes to children and young people to apply good practice for effective action.
  • What these policies do not include

    These policies do not:

    • Replace what organisations currently have in place in terms of policies, procedures and training on child safeguarding, if what is in place is up to date and working well.
    • Provide complete guidance for implementation (for example, safeguarding children at tournaments and competitions). While recognising the need for a comprehensive, system-wide approach to safeguarding, these policies and procedures offer information to help organisations focus on a set of principles to build from.
    • Address abuse of those over the age of 18. However, proactive efforts by organisations to safeguard children will form a basis to safeguard everyone across the play, active recreation and sport system and will support a culture of respect and zero tolerance for any form of abuse, bullying or harassment within the system*.

    *For information relating to Member Protection relating to those over 18 years of age in the play, active recreation and sport system, please refer to Sport NZ's suite of Member Protection Policies.

  • How to get the most out of these policies

    These policies are an interactive tool to assist organisations on their safeguarding journey. Throughout the policies, users can insert details specifically relating to their organisation, including how they work with children.

    There are also links to external websites for more information.

    Organisations intending to adopt the policies should work through each policy to understand the reason behind the policy and how it applies and works for their organisation.

    It is important organisations understand what information the policies contain and how to implement them in a real-life situation.

  • Disclaimer

    These template policies are provided as a useful resource but will need to be tailored to your organisation’s needs and any existing policies and procedures. In adopting any of the policies, they will be subject to the constitution or governance rules of the organisation. Organisations will need to follow their internal process requirements when adopting any new policy, as outlined in the constitution or governance rules. The content of the policy suite is consistent with New Zealand law but does not constitute legal advice. Organisations may need to obtain legal advice in implementing the policy templates.


    The E-learning Course is provided for educational purposes only. The Policies and Procedures are intended as a guide only and may need to be tailored for specific organisations. Safeguarding Children Initiative is not responsible or liable in any way for any actions or inactions by Sport New Zealand or any person or organisation that accesses or uses the resources.

This suite of policies includes:

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