The Centre for Child Protection launches new safeguarding simulation

Heidi Pullig

Kent and the LTA, supported with funding by Sport England and the National Lottery, are pleased to have partnered to launch a safeguarding simulation called ‘Izzey’s Story: a safeguarding concern in tennis’. The simulation, designed for Welfare Officers and County Safeguarding Officers, offers a new form of training to help address safeguarding issues.

The simulation explores a case of grooming happening over a period of time at a tennis club – something not easily achieved via traditional methods of training which are constrained by written scenarios or short videos. Acting as a form of learning, the simulation brings across a more accurate depiction of the grooming process and the nuanced aspects which can be overlooked, including cultural and attitudinal issues within a club, volunteers being isolated and not supported by committees, the risks around the use of social media, and the role of parents, children and others in the club.

The simulation will take players through a number of scenes following Izzey’s story, including text messages, social media communication, emails, audio clips and videos of different characters interacting.

The intention of the simulation is to provide a safe learning environment whereby a visual interactive setting and emotive characters will provide a wealth of content for players to develop their knowledge and skills in a safe learning environment that is relevant to their role. The simulations aims to increase awareness of grooming and change attitudinal values towards certain practices which are often used by groomers seeking to exploit children.

The simulation was developed with Dr Tracee Green, Professor Jane Reeves and other experts from Kent’s Centre for Child Protection.

Dr Tracee Green, Head of the Centre for Child Protection, added: ‘The Centre for Child Protection has a history of getting to the heart of child protection training using the latest research, innovation and technology while working in collaboration with key stakeholders. Professor Jane Reeves has been at the forefront of this pioneering work and has built upon an impressive portfolio of simulations with inspiring impact. We are excited about this recent collaboration with the LTA – resulting in the ‘Izzey’s Story’ game. This work builds on the core principles that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. It draws from the expertise of a proactive sporting community who want to promote good safeguarding practices and integrates proven learning pedagogy which will be of great benefit to the children ‘Izzey’s Story’ aims to keep safe.’

Professor Jane Reeves said: ‘The significance of ‘Izzey’s Story’ is that it recognises that grooming is a sad reality in sport and that in tennis, club welfare officers and county safeguarding officers across Britain benefit from training on this. ‘Izzey’s Story’ is an important, modern and significant piece of training designed in partnership between The Centre for Child Protection and the LTA, which tackles a complex area of abuse by entering Izzey’s life. Officers are given a window into her life via her social media pages and the relationships she forms so they are able to see how she is groomed, the risks she is exposed to as well as the protective relationships and factors which also exist. The simulation facilitates discussions about the risks and promotes learning about the procedures, policies and relationships in the LTA that exist to protect young people like Izzey and are designed to stop grooming in its tracks.’