Child Protection Policy Statement

Parkfield Youth Football Club is committed to creating and preserving the safest possible environment for children to play football.

It is the duty of all Club Members, Referees, Club Officials, Team Managers, Coaches, Parent Helpers and any other individuals directly or indirectly involved with the club to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual, or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying.

Parkfield Youth Football Club accepts children’s welfare is paramount and all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender or religious belief, have the right to protection from abuse. All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

Definitions

The term child abuse is used to describe ways in which children or young people are harmed, usually by adults and often by those they know and trust. There are five main types of child abuse, though a child may experience more than one kind at any one time in his / her life.

  1. Physical Abuse – Occasions when parents, adults or other children or young people deliberately inflict injuries on a child or knowingly do not prevent such injuries. It includes injury caused by hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning, biting or using excessive force, and giving children or young people alcohol, inappropriate drugs or poison, and attempts to suffocate or drown them. Physical abuse may also be deemed to occur if the nature and intensity of training disregards the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body, or predisposes the child to injury resulting from fatigue or overuse. (e.g. over training and also when coaches encourage children or young people to take performance enhancing drugs or alcohol).
  2. Emotional Abuse – Occasions when adults fail to show children or young people due care and attention or threaten use sarcasm taunt or shout at a child causing him / her to lose self-confidence or self esteem and become nervous or withdrawn. It includes situations where children or young people are overprotected preventing them from socialising. It may also occur when an adult repeatedly ignores or fails to respond to a child’s efforts or progress, or places the child under unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectations constantly.
  3. Neglect – Occasions where adults fail to meet a child’s essential needs, such as adequate clothing, food, warmth and medical care. It also includes occasions where an adult leaves a child alone without proper supervision, or does not ensure that the child is safe, or exposes them to undue extremes of temperature or risk of injury. (e.g. through unsafe equipment).
  4. Sexual Abuse – Occurs when males and females use children or young people to meet their own sexual needs. Examples include forcing a child to take part in sexual activity such as sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal intercourse, fondling or exposure to pornographic material. This also includes suggestions that sexual favours can help (or refusal can hinder) a career. Sexual abuse might also occur when inappropriate physical contact takes place. (e.g. through inappropriate touching of children or young people).
  5. Bullying – This is not easy to define and can take many forms. The three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking and theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats or name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities). There is also the abuse of trust—Where young people are indoctrinated with attitudes to training, drugs and cheating, or social, political and religious views, which are unacceptable to the young footballer’s family, community or rules of the sport. The inappropriate use of photographic material taken at sporting events is an area of abuse that is increasing and all those involved within the sport should be aware of this.

Identifying Abuse

Introduction

It is the policy of Parkfield Youth Football Club to ensure that every child or young person who takes part in football should be able to participate in a fun and safe environment and be protected from neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Key principles are:-

  • Anyone under the age of 18 years should be considered as a child for the purpose of this document.
  • The child’s welfare is paramount.
  • All children or young people whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicious incidents and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • Coaches, managers and other relevant people will be provided appropriate documentation and support to ensure they are able to implement the policy.
  • Adults working with children or young people are also provided protection and are aware of the best practice so they can be protected from wrongful allegations.
  • Working in partnership with children or young people and their parents / carers is essential for the protection of the child.
  • Parkfield Youth Manor Football Club recognises the statutory responsibility of Social Services to ensure the welfare of children or young people and it is committed to working with the appropriate Child Protection committee, and to complying with their procedures.
  • Dealing with child abuse is rarely straightforward. In some cases a child’s disturbed behaviour or an injury may suggest that a child has been abused.
  • In many situations however, the signs will not be clear-cut decisions about what action to take can be difficult.

Possible Signs Include:

  • Uncharacteristic changes in a child’s behaviour, attitude and commitment e.g. becoming quiet and withdrawn, or displaying sudden outbursts of temper.
  • Pitch or training ground gossip.
  • Bruises and injuries not typical for the sport, or injuries for which the explanation seems inconsistent.
  • Signs of discomfort and pain.
  • Reluctance to remove tracksuit or kit or take a shower.
  • The child becomes increasingly dirty or unkempt.
  • The child loses weight for no apparent reason.
  • Nervousness when approached or touched.
  • Fear of particular adults – especially those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
  • The child wishes to switch to another coach or team without a reasonable explanation.
  • Inappropriate sexual awareness.
  • Children or young people who are always alone and unaccompanied and/or are prevented from socialising with other children or young people.
  • Children or young people who are reluctant to go home.

It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, and the presence of one or more indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place.

All children or young people will suffer cuts, bruises and grazes from time to time and their behaviour may sometimes give cause for concern. There may well be reasons for these factors other than abuse. If, however you are concerned about the welfare of a child or young person YOU MUST ACT. Do not assume that someone else will.

The Role Of The Club Will Be:

  • To appoint a Club Welfare and Child Protection Officer, This is Clare Glanvill, you can speak with her in total confidence on 07801994704
  • To accept that all Officers, Managers, Assistants and Committee members have responsibilities in this area and to be prepared to respond to any indication of abuse.
  • To be ready to amend bad practice.
  • To implement any recommendations of the F.A or any other body / association relating to this area.
  • To maintain confidentiality of the child and the accused.

The Role Of The Child Protection Officer In The Club Will Be:

  • To ensure all club helpers/officials/coaches complete a volunteer reference form.
  • To send all forms to the relevant body/association on request.
  • To receive and advise on reports from other club members.
  • To initiate action, ensuring all appropriate persons have been contacted.

Abuse May Become Apparent In A Number Of Ways:

  • A child may tell you.
  • A third party may have reported an incident, or may have a strong suspicion.
  • You may have suspicions

If An Allegation Is Brought To Your Attention:

Step 1

  • Listen and Reassure DO Stay calm: do not rush into inappropriate action.
  • Reassure the child: that they are not to blame and confirm that you know how difficult it must be to confide.
  • Listen to and believe: show that you believe what the child says and that you take them seriously.
  • Allow only one adult to talk to the child: Any discrepancies in statements may lead to legal problems.
  • Keep questions to a minimum: In many cases it may be more appropriate to nod and acknowledge the child’s account.
  • If you must question the child then use open ended questions i.e. those where more than a yes / no response is required.
  • The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed if it appears that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested.
  • Ensure that you clearly understood what the child has said: You should then pass it on to the appropriate agencies.
  • Consult with the identified Child Protection Officer: Ensure that you communicate all the information accurately.
  • Maintain confidentiality: Only the minimum number of people possible should be informed.
  • DO NOT panic: Follow the guidelines laid down here. Make promises you cannot keep:
  • Explain that you may have to tell other people in order to stop what is happening whilst maintaining maximum possible confidentiality.
  • Delay: Appropriate follow-up action must be taken immediately.
  • Take sole responsibility for further action:
  • Contact an appropriate person as soon as possible.

Step 2 – Record

  • Record what the child has said and/or your concerns legibly and accurately.
  • Details should include:
    • The child’s name, address and date of birth.
    • Date of time of the incidents and/or nature of allegation. . your observations e.g. describe the behaviour and emotional state of the child and/or bruising or other injuries.
    • The child’s account—if it can be given —of what has happened.
    • Any action that you took as a result of your concerns e.g. comments made to the child, whether the parents/carers have been contacted.
  • Record whether the person writing the report is expressing his or her own concerns or passing on those of someone else.
  • Sign and date the report.
  • Keep a copy of the report.
  • Please note that when a disclosure is made, it is the person to whom the disclosure is made that the authorities (Police and/or social services) will come to for an account of what was said. This first hand account is of primary importance.

Step 3 – Involve The Appropriate People

Once you have completed your report you must ensure that the Child Protection Officer in your club has been informed so a decision can be made as to the most appropriate action.

This person must forward the report to the relevant Child Protection Officer indicating whether further action is required. If you are unhappy with the Child Protection Officer’s handling of the incident or unhappy that the allegations are made specifically against a particular individual you should contact the person in charge immediately and make a record of this.

This person might be the Club Chairman, Committee member or the Team Manager. The person in charge shall then contact the Social Services and/or the Police immediately. A record of the name and designation of the official informed, together with the time and date of the call should be kept, in case future contact is required. Contact should also be made directly to the Child Protection Officer of the relevant body/association. In all cases do not delay.

If you cannot contact the persons above immediately, you must contact the authorities (Police and/or Social Services).

If you are unsure what to do, advice can be obtained from the F.A Child Protection Help line 0808 800 500 or from your local Social Services department.

Promoting Good Practice

By promoting good practice throughout the Club and in the wider context of football it is possible to reduce situations where abuse of children or young people can arise.

The Club should have a policy that ensures children or young people are protected and kept safe from harm, and everyone should know what to do if there are concerns about abuse and where the procedures are kept.

The appointment of a Child Protection Officer is key in this process and he/she will be encouraged to promote good practice throughout the Club by ensuring everyone is aware of their responsibilities. This role may include leading by example organising simple training briefings and the use of leaflets/posters and notices throughout the various areas used by the Club.

Use Of Photography And Video Recorders

There has been an increase in the misuse of sports photography and video recording within the sporting arena. To reduce the risk of abuse to children or young people, some Sports Centres require any person wishing to use cameras and video recorders to declare their interest by filling in a simple form which asks their name, address, who they are with, and the reason for the use of the camera/video recorder.

This is not intended to prevent bona fide use of this equipment for family or coaching purposes but may deter the inappropriate use of such material. Clubs, Event Promoters and Sport Centres are encouraged to adopt this practice.

Bullying

There is a possibility that bullying may occur between children or young people and all involved in football are encouraged to be aware of this possibility. Clubs are encouraged to adopt an anti-bulling policy and ensure that everyone understands that bullying will not be tolerated in any form.

Clubs must be prepared to take the problem seriously and investigate any incident and decide on appropriate action, also ensuring that children or young people are able to report the instance of bullying (either to themselves or team members) to someone in authority, preferably the Child Protection Officer.

Team Management/Team Travel

Implicit within this policy is the duty of care that a Team Manager and/or Club has to its young footballers when travelling to events.

It is recommended that Clubs travel with a full address list and contact telephone numbers for all the children or young people within their team and the permission of the parent/guardian of each child (the inclusion of special instructions, dietary requirements and allergies is also extremely useful). This will allow Team Managers to take the necessary action in the event of an emergency.

Overnight Stays

For those events that require an overnight stay in lodgings/hotels it is essential that Team Managers take the necessary action to prevent the misuse of alcohol (from hotel mini bars etc.) and access to adult video/film channels.