Special Olympics Operation Safeguard (SOOS) is an Erasmus+ funded project managed by Special Olympics Europe Eurasia; starting in June 2022 and finishing in June 2024. Special Olympics Ireland joined with partners Special Olympics Slovakia, Special Olympics Cyprus, Special Olympics Estonia and Special Olympics Belgium, to develop Safeguarding Policies and Procedures as well as other accompanying resources to increase awareness and strengthen practices within the Special Olympics movement.
Thus far we have had 2 in person meetings in Dublin and Tallinn, with one more planned in Spring 2024. Special Olympics Europe Eurasia have hosted regular Zoom meetings to facilitate collaboration and support across programme countries.
The Centre for Sports and Human Rights are also partnering on this project and offering expert guidance and resources to programme countries.
With support from this funding Special Olympics Ireland have been able to develop a number of resources and host various events upskilling members; and aim to complete more by the end of the project. To date we have hosted 2 Safeguarding Forums for Club Safeguarding Officers and Designated Liaison Persons, and an event for our Regional Designated Liaison Persons. More Safeguarding Forums are planned for 2024.
Work To Date ...
See some of the resources developed so far, below, as well as the following events and online training tools:
1. Regional Safeguarding Forums in Cork and Dublin for Club Safeguarding Officers and Designated Liaison Persons. Over 70 officers in these club roles met to explore common themes and concerns they have as safeguarding leads in their clubs. The groups reviewed legislative requirements and completed some of the necessary items during the 3 hour workshop.
2. Regional Director Training - a one day workshop to upskill staff members who take on the role of Regional Designated Liaison Person. The day allowed staff to work with the National Children's Officer and review current case management trends, develop a case management matrix for clubs and troubleshoot safeguarding sample scenarios.
3. Event Safeguarding Module - Designed to support volunteers who attend less than 3 one day events each year but are not club volunteers. This module takes event volunteers through the Spirit of Sport principles, Recognising Abuse and Reporting Concerns, Allegations or Disclosures of Abuse. It outlines the Safeguarding processes at Special Olympics Ireland events.
4. Safeguarding Week 2023 - Coinciding with Sport Irelands 2nd Safeguarding Campaign on the week of September 25th – September 29th, 2023. This year, it supports the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, ‘Children First Awareness Week’ which is the same calendar week. Special Olympics Ireland will also run a daily Call to Action to support clubs in implementing the legislative and best practice requirements for safeguarding. Please find information on the campaign here
Coming Soon ...
See some of the resources to be developed by the end of the Operation Safeguard project
1. Accessible Safeguarding Policies
2. Safeguarding Video