British Gymnastics is currently embroiled in a safeguarding safety shame as The Telegraph revealed that it did not remove a coach until 12 years after sex abuse allegations were reported, despite police advising that the coach’s suspension should become permanent.
British Gymnastics Safeguarding Scandal
The sport’s governing body were aware of the allegations made to police against the former Olympian and founder of York City Gymnastics Foundation (YCGF), Stan Wild, however, British Gymnastics failed to interview the alleged victim and training camps continued at the York club where the team would sleep in the basement, which had been converted into bedrooms.
It was only after a further two complaints to police that Wild was brought to the British Gymnastics’ attention and, in 2016, he was temporarily suspended pending investigation.
However, despite another complaint in 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take further action against Wild pertaining there was ‘insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction’, but The Telegraph did confirm that his suspension from coaching and the gym club was permanent.
The police had previously made a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), but, after consideration, the DBS issued a certificate permitting Wild to work with vulnerable groups in May 2020 and he was not included on the Children’s Barred List.
However, British Gymnastics did not close their investigation until November 2020 and their disciplinary panel decided that Wild would be prohibited from holding membership or work with children in a British Gymnastics environment.
The investigation has, consequently, created apprehension about the safeguarding process by a government body.
The police’s concerns should have been enough ammunition to prevent Wild from working with vulnerable groups, however, it took over a year for British Gymnastics to take action. It is the responsibility of the governing body to safeguard their athletes, but it seems their practice is flawed.
Why Is Safeguarding Important?
Safeguarding is a vital process that protects children and adults from harm, abuse, and neglect. The safety and wellbeing of adults and children is important and should not be ignored. Too often, reported cases get overlooked and existing problems only deteriorate.
Once a complaint or concern has been raised, action needs to be taken immediately. Records will show whether there has been a delay in responding to an incident and, if there is a delay, it should be noted in the records explaining the reasons.
An employer or governing body must recognise the complaint and assess the situation before acting on the immediate risks first.
DBS checks are of the utmost importance when assessing the safety of individuals and are imperative when working with vulnerable adults and children.
If you would like to discuss safeguarding in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact Care Check on 0333 777 8575 and one of the team will be happy to help.