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24 Jan 2023

World Cup winners take centre stage at 15th annual RFL Safeguarding Conference

World Cup winners take centre stage at 15th annual RFL Safeguarding Conference

World Cup winners Tom Halliwell and Scott Gobin were special guests at the RFL’s annual safeguarding conference, held yesterday (Sunday 22 January) at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The conference attracted more than 100 delegates from across Rugby League, many of them club welfare officers and all of them committed to keeping children safe in the sport.  

Halliwell and Gobin were world champions at Wheelchair and Physical Disability Rugby League respectively last autumn, and the two captains offered a unique perspective on their experiences in 2022. They also reflected on the value of Rugby League’s Community Game and their positive experiences at that level. 

Another headline guest was Liza Ware from the NSPCC’s Chid Protection in Sport Unit, whose workshop on Safer Recruitment offered delegates essential advice on best practice in volunteer recruitment. 

Delegates also heard that 2022 had seen an increase in cases involving children presenting with challenging behaviours – both diagnosed and undiagnosed. A post-Covid survey of 200 children, carried out by Young Minds, showed that four out of five reported increased anxiety and suicidal thoughts.  

RFL Safeguarding Manager, Kerry Simmons, says:  

“It was an honour to take this year’s conference to the fabulous new facilities at Headingley and overall feedback was very positive. 

“Clearly, we are going to see the impact of Covid on children for many years to come. Given the increase in cases in this area it was only right that we covered topic and provided our volunteers with information on how to effectively manage this behaviour. Marie Cunliffe from Ever-Evolving facilitated a very informative workshop on the topic and I’d like to thank Marie and all our guests for their fascinating insight and expertise.”

The RFL is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children in the sport of Rugby League and has the highest possible CPSU rating.

For more information on safeguarding within Rugby League, email kerry.simmons@rfl.co.uk