Every child has the right to participate in sport and recreation within a safe environment.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries expects all sport and recreation organisations to create and maintain safe environments that are fit for purpose, provide positive experiences and ensures the safety of children. 


Provide leading practice guidelines for the sport and active recreation industry in creating child safe environments. 


  • Whilst most people who volunteer or work with children in the sport and recreation setting do so in a safe manner, instances of child abuse can occur.
  • 63% of Western Australian children aged 5-14 years participated in at least one sport outside of school hours (ABS, 2012).
  • Whilst instances of abuse can occur in any organisation, those that fail to uphold relevant policies, procedures and a positive culture are at greater risk.
  • It is estimated that across Australian society; 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are victims of sexual abuse (James, 2000). 


Keeping children safe is a whole of community responsibility. Children should be able to grow and develop in a safe environment without the risk of harm. Most people who volunteer or work with children are safe and do so to make a positive contribution and to help children develop to their full potential.

There is legislation that covers the protection of children, including who is legally responsible to report certain types of child abuse. Sport and recreation organisations are required to comply within the Working with Children Act 2004. Relevant acts include:

Through the sport and recreation industry there are a range of initiatives and resources to assist organisations to create child safe environments. Some of these resources include:

  • Fair Safe Sport – a partnership program between the WA Sports Federation, Equal Opportunity Commission, Working with Children Screening Unit, WA Police – Child Abuse Squad and the Department of Sport and Recreation that provides information, training and resources to the sport and recreation industry to address child safeguarding and member protection. The underlying principles are to build a positive culture within sport and recreation organisations.
  • Safe Clubs 4 Kids – an educational project that supports the sport and recreation industry to create and maintain safe environments for children and young people. This project is a partnership between the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, WA Sports Federation, Working with Children Screening Unit, Surf Life Saving WA and the WA Police – Child Abuse Squad.
  • Play by the Rules – a website aimed at community level sport and recreation to assist in creating safe, fair and inclusive sport and recreation environments. 
Everybody is morally and/or legally obligated to provide a duty of care that ensures children are protected from all types of abuse, discrimination and harassment. 


The department has partnered with the WA Sports Federation to deliver the Fair Safe Sport project and Safe Clubs 4 Kids project.  


Manager, Industry Development
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Sport and Recreation
Telephone 61 8 9492 9700


Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Sport and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia, 2012. Catalogue no 4156.0, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved in July 2016.

James (2000) Trends and Issues Series (no. 146). ‘Child abuse and neglect: Redefining the issues’ Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.


6 September 2016


1 February 2017

Related pages

Page reviewed 25 June 2019