The FAW are committed to Safeguarding your child in football, however unfortunately abuse or poor practice can occur in sport. The Child Protection in Sport Unit ("CPSU") has a parents section on their website that provides useful information on how to spot abuse and what to do if you are worried about your child: https://thecpsu.org.uk/parents/information-for-parents/
Knowing when something is wrong
Concerns may arise through the following:
- Your child might come to you with concerns about something that’s happened to them or something they’ve witnessed, in which case it’s important for you to address these concerns and raise the alarm with the right people.
- Your child is displaying a change in behaviour or warning signs
- someone else has raised concerns regarding your child
Sometimes spotting abuse or poor practice might not be as simple as your child telling you about something that’s bothering them and that’s why it’s vital that all parents are aware of and can spot the signs of abuse.
The CPSU have provided a list of the common signs children might display if they are experiencing abuse or there’s poor practice taking place in their sport.
There might be:
- unexplained changes in behaviour
- a change in the way they talk about their sport or a member of staff
- anxiety about taking part in a sport they once enjoyed or attending practice
- mention of negative things they’ve seen or heard happening to other children in the team
- changes in diet or a sudden concern about their weight or appearance
- frequent communication, either online or in person, with a coach or other member of staff outside of the sports setting that isn’t about practices or competition planning
- unexplained gifts or favours from coaches or other staff members
- increased levels of stress to achieve or perform well
If you're worried that your child is being abused or put at risk during sports activities, it's vital that you talk to someone. If you think a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999. Please also contact the FAW Safeguarding Team immediately.
For lower level concerns, all FAW Junior Clubs, Leagues and Area Associations have a registered Safeguarding Officer who you can raise concerns with. Please refer to the our Respond, Record, Report Section.
Please note the following:
- For low level concerns, in the first instance please submit this in writing to the Club Safeguarding Officer.
- Please provide as much details as possible to enable the Safeguarding Officer to investigate further
- The club should have procedures in place for dealing with concerns. You can ask what happens next and how your child will be supported going forwards. Please refer to our Respond, Record, Report Section or the FAW Safeguarding Policy for more information on this.
- If you are unhappy with how a concern has been dealt with, please raise the concern with the League Safeguarding Officer and Area Safeguarding Officer.
- If you are unsure on who the concern should be reported to, please contact a member of the FAW Safeguarding Team. The NSPCC helpline can also support you and advise you on what to do next - call 0808 800 5000