Football Association video outlines four key steps to safeguarding children at all levels of football
England captains Wayne Rooney and Steph Houghton are among four national team leaders to feature in a new video promoting the FA's guidance on safeguarding children.
The video, which also features under-21s vice-captain Nat Chalobah and Jack Rutter, captain of the England cerebral palsy team, explains how both parents and children can raise any concerns they may have about adults working in football.
There are currently 8,500 people trained as Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) working across English football, from grassroots up to the professional game, who each take the following four steps to ensure that children playing football are safe:
1. Checked – to ensure adults are suitable to work with youngsters
2. Trained – from coaches to referees, all are given suitable safeguarding training
3. Hear – concerns from both children and adults will be listened to
4. Report – the importance of raising concerns about a child’s welfare
55,000 criminal records checks are carried out across the game each season, to screen out anyone who seeks to work in football who may pose a risk of harm, whilst 35,000 coaches and referees attend the FA’s safeguarding children awareness course each season.
The FA hopes the video will encourage children and parents alike to report any concerns they may have, whilst assuring them that a framework is in place to help address any unacceptable behaviour from people working within the game.
A statement on TheFA.com said: "Anyone who has a concern about the welfare of a child or the behaviour of an adult towards a child or young person under 18 years of age in football, is required to refer it to the FA Safeguarding team. The team is staffed by professionals who are experienced in dealing with these concerns.
"Referring a concern can be done via your club, league or County FA – all will have a designated safeguarding officer (DSO). Alternatively, you can email us directly via email@example.com.
"If the matter is urgent and you cannot contact your club or County FA designated safeguarding officer, you can call the NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 – or if it is an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the police or children’s social care in your area."
The FA video comes in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked English football in recent weeks, since former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward chose to go public about the abuse he suffered as a young player.
Police are now investigating allegations of abuse from around 350 victims across the country linked to 55 professional and amateur clubs, whilst the FA has setup an independent inquiry into football's handling of abuse, which will run in conjunction with police investigations.
The NSPCC has launched a dedicated helpline on 0800 023 2642 for the victims of sexual abuse in football across the UK - a move supported by each of the four home nation FAs.
If you are child or parent concerned about safeguarding children in the game today please call 0800 1111. For more information on safeguarding in football visit:
Northern Ireland: irishfa.com/taking-part/youth-football/safeguarding
Scotland: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image courtesy of TheFA.com.