Safe sporting environments

All Western Australians should have access to safe, fair and inclusive sport and recreation environments.

Many programs are available to sport and recreation organisations to help create safe sporting environments for all Western Australians. They help increase the capacity of State Sporting Associations (SSAs) and affiliated clubs to shape and maintain a welcoming environment, building a positive culture that makes all participants feel safe and included within their club.  

Everyone has the right to participate in sport and recreation and there are factors that need to be considered to ensure their environment is safe, fair and accessible to all.

Fair Safe Sport

Delivered by SportWest in partnership with the department, the Working with Children Screening Unit, Department of CommunitiesEqual Opportunity Commission and WA Police – Child Abuse Squad, Fair Safe Sport provides information, training and resources to SSAs and their affiliated clubs  in the areas of child safeguarding and member protection. 

Complaint management framework

An important part of providing a fair environment is being able to manage and resolve issues or conflicts that may arise in a transparent and timely manner. Having a clear complaint management framework and procedure is invaluable for all staff, volunteers, coaches, parents and children when these issues emerge.

Online communication and cyber safety

Online communication, especially social media, has become an important tool for clubs and organisations to connect with their members and the wider community. This has both opportunities and risks. Organisations should adopt a balanced approach to cyber safety and pro-actively consider how to reduce any potential misuse, through education and the introduction of policies and procedures

Member protection

Member protection involves protecting members from harassment, abuse, discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behaviour, and adopting appropriate measures to ensure that the right people are involved in an organisation, particularly when it comes to those involved with juniors.

Your organisation’s Member Protection Policy is a commitment to provide a safe environment for everyone involved. It is important for sport and recreation clubs to have a member protection policy. If you don’t currently have a member protection policy, please visit the Sport Australia website and download the template provided.

Member Protection Information Officers (MPIOs)

MPIOs are the first point of call for inquiries, complaints or concerns about harassment, abuse or discrimination in an organisation or club. They provide information about a person’s rights, responsibilities and options when managing an issue or complaint, and provide advice about the Member Protection Policy of a sport.

Play by the Rules

The Australian Sports Commission, all state and territory sport and recreation departments and the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) collaborate with other organisations to provide the Play by the Rules initiative.

Play by the Rules provides information, resources, tools and free online training to increase the capacity and capability of administrators, coaches, officials, players and spectators to assist them in preventing and dealing with discrimination and harassment in sport and recreation activities.

WA Sport and Active Recreation Dispute Resolution Centre

State Sporting Associations and Recreation Peak bodies have additional support through the WA Sport and Active Recreation Dispute Resolution Service, a partnership between the Department and the WA Sports Federation.

The service offers assistance ranging from information, education, referral to further support agencies and subsidised mediation.  The types of disputes may include governance related matters, conflicts of interest, grievances under the organisations' Member Protection policy and by-law breaches for off-field conduct.

A dispute can only be brought to the Service by a State Sporting Organisation or Recreation Peak body once the organisation's internal dispute mechanisms have been exhausted.

More information

Manager Industry Development
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
Telephone 61 8 6552 7300
Email the department

Page reviewed 27 March 2024