Swim England

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Prohibiting use of mobiles in changing rooms will help protect our members

Swim England’s new version of Wavepower contains an important update with regards the usage of mobile devices in changing rooms.

Here, Kevin Suckling, Swim England’s head of safeguarding and welfare, explains the reasoning behind that decision.

Mobile devices have become an everyday part of life.

They have evolved in such a way that a vast majority of our day-to-day activities rely on them.

However, that doesn’t mean they should be used in all settings and environments.

There is a time and place for mobiles – but at Swim England, we vehemently believe a swimming pool changing room isn’t one of them.

That is why our updated version of Wavepower prohibits the use of mobile devices in changing rooms during Swim England regulated activity.

And there is a one simple reason why we have done this.

To help protect our members.

Not tolerated

Due to the nature of our sport, we have a disproportionate level of inappropriate behaviour in changing rooms where the circumstances involve mobile phones and the use of their cameras.

Previous guidance around mobile phone usage in changing rooms has, sadly, been insufficient in reducing the number of safeguarding cases relating to inappropriate photos and video footage being taken in changing rooms.

In the past 12 months alone, the Swim England safeguarding team have dealt with 40 such cases.

The harm this can cause to a victim of such an offence can be emotionally devastating.

Such behaviour is illegal and will not be tolerated in any form.

Therefore, protecting our members in changing rooms is of paramount importance to us.

That’s why we are taking these increased measures in an attempt to reduce the number of safeguarding cases in this area.

Everyone feels safer

We’re confident that this is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate approach – and would hope the people agree with us.

Of course, there will be some exceptional circumstances when the use of a mobile phone in a changing room is required.

Common sense must prevail and in an emergency situation, it would obviously be totally appropriate to use a mobile to call for help.

If it is needed for medical purposes, for example a diabetes glucose tracker, again, that would be acceptable but please carry out the check within the privacy of a cubicle.

Instances such as those aside, there should be no need for anyone to have a mobile device out on display in a changing room.

Keeping them tucked away in your bag and out of sight will ensure everyone feels safer so please resist the temptation to send a text, check your social media or make a call until you’re out of the changing room.

By sharing this message with your club members, peers, sons and daughters, we can all help prevent incidents of illegal indecent images and videos being taken and then potentially shared, which can leave the victims of such a distressing act so traumatised.

Read Wavepower

To view Wavepower, and find out more about the changes made in the new version, please click here.

A series of FAQs on Wavepower are also available by clicking here.

Raising a safeguarding concern

If you have a concern that a child or adult may be at risk of harm, or being harmed, you should, without delay, contact:

  • Your organisation or club welfare officer
  • Your county or regional welfare officer
  • The Swim England national safeguarding team. Email safeguarding@swimming.org or call (01509) 640700 (option one for Swim England and then option three for safeguarding).
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