This year, the primary focus of the national ‘Play Safe’ campaign is on the key role of parents/carers in safeguarding within football and there are two key messages being promoted through the campaign:
- An awareness of the vital safeguarding role that parents/carers play in football
- A request for parents/carers to please take the new, short and free safeguarding course specifically developed for parents/carers.
Play Safe is focussed towards ensuring everyone understands the important part they can play to safeguard children throughout football, with parents and carers being one important element in the approach to maintaining appropriate levels of safeguarding.
Parents and carers with a child in football are encouraged to:-
- Ensure you know who your child’s coach/manager is, how they will communicate with you, how you can contact them and how to get feedback on your child - ask if they are FA DBS checked and safeguarding trained
- Put the NSPCC Helpline and CWO name and contact details in your phone/notebook - ensure you and your child understand the CWOs role
- Be clear about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at your child’s club - sign up and adhere to their codes of conduct
- Ask your child what they enjoy about playing - and remember this when supporting them!
- Agree with your child how you will support/check-in to see how they are doing
- Ensure your child understands their rights - find out more
- Ensure you and your child know how to report a concern - find out more
- Encourage your child to speak to you about anything that worries them, no matter how big or small
What can parents expect?
- All affiliated clubs must have a Safeguarding Children Policy and a Club Welfare Officer (CWO) who has been DBS-checked and safeguarding-trained.
- The Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and CWO must have completed the free ‘Safeguarding for Committee Members’ course.
- All coaches must be named against the team they're involved with on our system, must be DBS-checked and safeguarding-trained.
What can parents do?
Firstly, it’s important to know who’s helping your child play football, understanding what’s expected of your child and in turn how you and their coaches are expected to behave. A well-run club will be happy to share how they organise things, so go ahead and ask, check out the club’s website and social media pages (if they have them) as these will also give you some insights to the club.
You might be offered parent/carer and or player ‘welcome packs’, player ‘taster sessions’ and pre-season parent/care meetings. All are helpful in getting to know exactly what’s on offer.
What if I have a safeguarding concern?
If you're worried about a child, it’s vital you report your concerns. There are five ways to do this:
- To your club or league Designated Safeguarding Officer (usually referred to as the club welfare officer in grassroots football);
- To your County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- By emailing our Safeguarding Team at safeguarding@TheFA.com
- If urgent and you cannot contact your club, league or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline for expert advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
- If it's an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police or Children’s Social Care.
All relevant safeguarding contact details in Guernsey can be found at the bottom of this page .
Remember - you have a right, and a responsibility, to ensure that your children are safe at all times.
- Safeguarding Awareness for Parents & Carers Course:
This course has been designed to help parents and carers to make an informed choice about the football environment in which you enrol your child in. It explains what safeguarding is, your role in safeguarding children in football, what grooming is, and it encourages discussion with your child(ren) about their football experience to check that they are enjoying their football and experience their club or football setting positively.
It also covers how to identify and report any concerns about poor practice or abuse.
The course can be accessed here.
- Play Safe Video
The FA, and Guernsey FA, would encourage all parents and carers to take a moment to watch the Play Safe film for parents/carers and listen to what some of our England players have to say about what to do if a child feels unsafe or worried; https://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/safeguarding/play-safe
- Safeguarding Contact Information