Child protection in sport emerged at the start of the 21st century amidst headlines about coaches raping, sexually assaulting and abusing children. Against this backdrop, in 2001 the UK government established an independent agency, the English Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), which introduced national child protection standards for sports organizations. This included the requirement to appoint national “safeguarding lead officers”. Utilizing the theoretical framework of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this paper considers the impact of “safeguarding and child protection” (SCP) within the English sports community through the experiences of those who have been at the vanguard of its implementation in the early years of its establishment within sport. Utilizing data from qualitative interviews with nine national safeguarding lead officers (SLOs), the paper discusses the challenges experienced by SLOs and critically appraises the relation between them (their habitus) and the prevailing logic (capital) within their sporting fields. We discuss the extent to which SLOs have been supported by their organizations and conclude with a consideration of the degree to which national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) have been invested in SCP.
- Child protection