Legal requirements and standards

The CPSU has compiled an overview of the key legislation regarding keeping children safe and protecting their rights.

Legal requirements for safeguarding children are outlined in Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2018) and apply to all organisations working with children. This includes the requirement of funded NGBs and Active Partnerships to achieve the CPSU Safeguarding Standards.

Working Together states that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Working Together outlines the duties of all organisations that work with children. These are summarised in the diagram below, which has been created from the text in Chapter 2, paragraph 3 (© Crown copyright 2018). 

For more information, see this section of the CPSU resource library.

In addition, charitable organisations have specific requirements as outlined in this guidance for charities and trustees from the Charity Commission. There are more resources, including links to an e-learning course and a free podcast on the roles and responsibilities of charity trustees: Safeguarding and child protection for charity trustees | NSPCC Learning


What is child protection?

Child protection is part of the safeguarding children process, protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes the child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

What is abuse?

The NSPCC provides information on the different types of abuse that a child might be susceptible to, as well as signs to spot and information on what you can do to keep a child safe. The categories are:

You can get more information about the definitions of abuse and the signs of possible abuse on CPSU’s Child abuse in a sports setting page and in their FAQs section.

Things to consider

The signs of child abuse are not always obvious, and a child might not feel able to tell anyone what is happening to them. Sometimes, children do not even realise that what is happening to them is abuse.

There are different types of child abuse and the signs that a child is being abused may depend on the type. For example, the signs that a child is being neglected may be different from the signs that a child is being abused sexually.

Common signs

Some common signs that there may be something concerning happening in a child’s life include:

  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body

These signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being abused; there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour.

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing.

There is further information on the signs, symptoms and effects of abuse on the NSPCC website.

Next: Safeguarding adults