Creating safer cultures in sport – Learning from lived experience

Episode 17,   Nov 23, 2021, 01:00 PM

In this powerful and courageous episode, join former professional footballer Paul Stewart as he shares his personal journey of overcoming child sexual abuse and advocates for safer cultures within sports organisations and clubs.

We focus on the importance of prioritising safeguarding at all levels, ensuring that club and organisations safeguarding policies are communicated to everyone as well as the importance of creating a culture of safety where children's voices are heard.

Paul also emphasises to need for robust safeguarding policies and procedures in sport and activity to ensure all children and young people have a safe and fun experience.

In this episode of the CPSU podcast, we cover:
  • the wider impact of abuse
  • what sports clubs can do to help build a safe environment 
  • the importance of safeguarding policies and procedures 
  • listening to young athletes and children 
  • how people with lived experience should be more involved with organisations and helping create safeguarding policies 
  • knowing who to report a concern to

Please note:

During this podcast we talk about childhood sexual abuse. This may be difficult to hear and, for some people, it may bring up distressing memories, thoughts or feelings.

Whilst it may not be easy to listen to, this episode includes important information to help all of us keep children safe in sport.

To look after yourself while you listen consider taking breaks, listening during a walk or before an activity you enjoy such as exercise or meeting a friend.


Paul Stewart is a former Premiership and International footballer who played for some of the biggest clubs in English Football, including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspurs and Liverpool.

Paul has lived experience of childhood sexual abuse by his football coach. Paul’s story was featured in BBC1’s “Football's Darkest Secret”, where he discussed openly and honestly about the impact abuse has had on his life. 

Since speaking about his experience, Paul now works to create safer spaces and cultures within sport for all children, young people, adults at risk and athletes. Paul works for the English Football League and Premier League to education and raise awareness with academy players, staff and volunteers.

Paul Stephenson – CPSU Senior Consultant
Paul Stewart – former professional footballer

Helplines and support

Visit the CPSU website for more safeguarding help and advice.


Check out the transcript of this podcast and links to further information on this topic.