All sporting organizations that make provision for children and young people must ensure that: The welfare of the child is paramount.
All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
All volunteers working in Manchester Girls Football Club have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
Volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse nor decide if abuse has occurred.
Manchester Girls FC Club Welfare Officer (CWO) can be reached via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Girls Football Club has a duty of care to safeguard all children from harm whilst they attend its activities. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of children with disabilities and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account
Manchester Girls Football Club will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Manchester Girls Football Club through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Manchester Girls Football Club.
A child is defined as under 18 (The Children Act 1989). Policy aims
The aim of the Manchester Girls Football Club Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of Manchester Girls Football Club.
Allow all volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting Good Practice with Young People.
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment.
Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them.
A coach, official or volunteer may have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where a player needs protection.
All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters the club having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self esteem. In such instances the club must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
Good Practice Guidelines.
All club officials shall demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate within football:
Good Practice means:
Alway working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging an open environment i.e. no secrets).
• Treating children equally, and with respect and dignity.
• Always putting the welfare of each child first, before winning or achieving goals.
• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with players (e.g. it is not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them).
• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust, which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
• Making sport fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
• Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the FA Level 1 Certificate in Coaching. Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving.
Young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained. Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should always be carefully considered.
• Keeping up to date with the technical skills, qualifications and insurance in sport.
• Involving parents/guardians wherever possible (e.g. for the responsibility of their children in the changing rooms). If groups have to be supervised in the changing rooms, always ensure parents/coaches/officials work in pairs.
• Ensuring that if mixed teams are taken away, a male and female member of staff should always accompany them. (NB however, same gender abuse can also occur).
• Ensuring that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.
• Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of players at training sessions and matches.
• Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
• Securing the parents consent to administer first aid and for other medical treatment.
• Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Practice to be avoided.
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents.
For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
• Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
• Avoid taking children to your home if they will be alone with you.
Practice never to be sanctioned.
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
• Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Share a room with a child.
• Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
• Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
• Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
• Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
• Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
• Do things of a personal nature for a child that they can do for themselves.
• Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
NB. It may sometimes be necessary for Club officials to help children before or after a match/training session, particularly if they are young or disabled. This may include things of a personal nature such as the administration of first aid.
These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the players involved.
There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities.
Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed.
• If you accidentally hurt a player.
• If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
• If a player appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
• If a player misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Guidelines for the use of Photographic filming equipment at Sporting events.
There is evidence that some people have used sporting events as an opportunity to take inappropriate photographs or film footage of young and disabled sportspeople in vulnerable positions. It is advisable that all clubs be vigilant with any concerns to be reported to the Club Child Welfare Officer. (email@example.com)
Videoing as a coaching aid: there is no intention to prevent club coaches and teachers using video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid. However, performers and their parents/guardians should be aware that this is part of the coaching programme and care should be taken in the storing of such films.
Use of images of children/young people under the age of 18.
The FA promotes “Ten Golden Rules” to remember when planning to use images of young people under the age of 18.
1. All children must be appropriately dressed.
2. Photography or recording should focus on the activity not on a particular player.
3. Images should focus on small groups rather than individuals.
4. Images of a child who is under a court order should never be used.
5. If a player is named avoid using their photograph.
6. If a photograph is used avoid naming the person or use their first name only. Personal details should never be revealed.
7. Makes sure parents/guardians/players have signed and returned the Players and Parents Agreement Form.
8. Use photographs that represent the broad range of youngsters participating in football.
9. All people taking photographs or recording footage at a football event should register with the event organiser.
10. All concerns regarding inappropriate or intrusive photography should be reported to the Manchester Girls Football Club’s CWO. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Manchester Girls Football Club recognises the need to ensure the welfare and safety of all players in football. As part of our commitment to ensure the safety of players we will not permit photographs, video or other images of players to be taken or used without the written consent of the parent/guardian and the player.
Manchester Girls Football Club will take all steps to ensure these images are used solely for the purposes they are intended which is the promotion and celebration of the activities of Manchester Girls Football Club.
If you as parents/guardians become aware that these images are being used inappropriately you should inform the Club Child Welfare Officer immediately. (email@example.com)
Manchester Girls Football Club will ensure that once the player is no longer a member of the Club then any image of him/her on the Manchester Girls Football Club website will be removed if requested, or with the parent/guardian and players consent at the end of that year’s football season.
If at any other time either the parent/guardian or player wishes data to be removed from the Manchester Girls Football Club website, seven days notice must be given in writing to the Club Secretary, after which the data will be removed.
A consent form will be offered to all parents/guardians and players to complete giving their permission to use the players image.
Recruitment and selection of volunteers
Manchester Girls Football Club recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. When undertaking pre selection checks the following should be included:
• All successful volunteer applicants will be asked to undertake a Criminal Records Bureau Check, which will require proof of identity.
Responding to suspicions or allegations
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in Manchester Girls Football Club, in a paid or unpaid capacity to take responsibility or to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.
Manchester Girls Football Club will assure all volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a Club Official there may be three types of investigation
• A criminal investigation by the police.
• A child protection investigation by the Club Child Welfare Officer.
• A disciplinary or misconduct investigation by the Club Committee.
• If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the Club Child welfare Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
• If the allegation is about poor practice by the Club Child Welfare Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the Club Secretary who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
• Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a volunteer should be reported to the Club Child Welfare Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
• The Club Child Welfare Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
• The parent/guardian of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
• The Club Child Welfare Officer should also notify the Club Secretary who in turn will inform the Manchester Football Association Child Welfare Officer who will deal with any media enquiries.
• If the Club Child Welfare Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the Club Secretary or in his/her absence the Manchester Football Association Child Welfare Officer who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.
Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
• The Club Child Welfare Officer.
• The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
• The person making the allegation.
• Social Services/Police.
• The Manchester Football Association Regional Development Manager and The Manchester Football Child Welfare Officer.
• The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant, and secure and destroyed when necessary).
Internal Enquiries and Suspension
• The Manchester Girls Football Club Child Welfare Officer will make an immediate decision about whether any individual accused of abuse should be temporarily suspended pending further police and social services inquiries.
• Irrespective of the findings of the social services or police inquiries the Manchester Girls Football Club Disciplinary Committee will assess all individual cases to decide whether a volunteer should be reinstated and how this can be sensitively handled. This may be a difficult decision; particularly where there is insufficient evidence to uphold any action by the police.
• In such cases, the Manchester Girls Football Club Disciplinary Committee must reach a decision based upon the available information which could suggest that on a balance of probability; it is more likely than not that the allegation is true.
The welfare of children should always remain paramount.
Support to deal with the aftermath.
• Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to children, parents and volunteers.
• Use of Help Lines, support groups and open meetings will maintain an open culture and help the healing process.
• The British Association of Counselling Directory may be a useful resource.
The British Association for Counselling Directory is available from
The British Association for Counselling,
1 Regent Place, Rugby, CV21 2PJ
Tel: 01788 550899, Fax: 01788 562189,
• Consideration should be given about what support may be appropriate to the alleged perpetrator of the abuse.
Allegations of previous abuse.
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event (e.g. by an adult who was abused as a child or by a volunteer who is still currently working with children). Where such an allegation is made, the club should follow the procedures as detailed above and report the matter to the social services or the police. This is because other children, either within or outside sport, may be at risk from this person.
Anyone who has a previous criminal conviction for offences related to abuse is automatically excluded from working with children.
This is reinforced by the details of the Protection of Children Act 1999.
Action if bullying is suspected.
The same procedure should be followed as set out in the Section relating to ‘responding to suspicions or allegations’, if bullying is suspected. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have rigorously enforced anti bullying strategies in place.
Actions to help the victim and prevent bullying in sport.
• Take all signs of bullying very seriously.
• Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns (It is believed that up to 16 children per year commit suicide as a result of bullying, so if anyone talks about or threatens suicide, seek professional help immediately).
Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge or someone in authority.
Create an open environment.
• Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe. Speak with the victim and the bully(ies) separately.
• Reassure the victim that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to tell no one else.
• Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).
• Report any concerns to the Club Child Welfare Officer.
Actions towards the bully(ies).
Talk with the bully (ies), explain the situation, and try to get the bully (ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Seek an apology to the victim(s).
• Inform the bully’s parents.
• Insist on the return of borrowed items and that the bullies (ies) compensate the victim.
• Provide support for the coach of the victim.
• Impose sanctions as necessary.
• Encourage and support the bully (ies) to change behaviour.
• Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.
• Inform all organisation members of action taken.
• Keep a written record of action taken.
• Do not share the information with anyone else.
• However you may need some support yourself and you should discuss this with the person to whom you report your concerns.
• If your concerns have not been dealt with satisfactorily, you should follow up by contacting the FA/NSPCC help line yourself.
• If you report through the Manchester County FA Child Welfare Officer or directly to the FA, you will be asked to give factual details on an official referral form.
• Maintain confidentiality on a need to know basis only.
• Ensure the Club Child Welfare Officer follows up with social services.
• The Club Child Welfare Officer should also report the incident to the Manchester Football Association Child Welfare Officer who should ascertain whether or not the person(s) involved in the incident play a role in football and act accordingly.
If you do not know whom to turn to for advice or are worried about sharing your concerns, you should contact the social services direct (or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111)
What to do if there are concerns:
Information passed to the social services or the police must be as helpful as possible, hence the necessity for making a detailed record at the time of the disclosure/concern.
Information should include the following:
• Name of child.
• Age of child and date of birth.
• Home address and telephone number.
• Is the person making the report expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
• What is the nature of the allegation? Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
• Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
• A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Behavioural signs indirect signs?
• Witnesses to the incidents.
• The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
• Have the parents been contacted?
• If so what has been said?
• Has anyone else been consulted? If so record details.
• If it is not the child making the report has the child concerned been spoken to? If so what was said?
• Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.