Tuesday 3 July 2012
Why treat sports coaches as potential paedophiles?
"Professor Heather Piper tells spiked that ‘no touch’ guidelines in sport are helping to poison adult-child relations.
‘During a swimming lesson with Down’s syndrome children, a disability officer told us that one of the children came towards her for a hug. She described how the child was walking towards her enthusiastically, while she had to back away with her arms behind her back because she doesn’t feel able to touch the kids. There are hundreds of these sorts of things.’
Professor Heather Piper should know about ‘these sorts of things’. With her fellow Manchester Metropolitan University researcher, Bill Taylor, and Professor Dean Garratt of the University of Chester, she has just completed an ESRC-supported research project into the effect of so-called ‘no touch’ guidelines on British children’s sports coaching. Some of the stories would be bizarre if they weren’t so depressing. ‘We’ve examples of adults conducting canoeing lessons’, she tells me, ‘saying they won’t pull a child out of the water because they don’t want to touch them, preferring instead to use the plastic handles on their safety vests’."