It's a sad
fact that many children are abused sexually, emotionally or physically.
As a soccer coach you are in a unique
position to spot any signs of abuse among your children. It is vital, therefore,
that you are able to recognise the signs of abuse and know what to do if you
suspect anything untoward.
You also have a responsibility not to
abuse the children in your care by bullying or criticising them in front of
their peers. You must also make sure that you do not expose your children to
extremes of weather, leave your children unsupervised, tell them to 'get on with
it!' when they have been injured or train them in an over intense or in a way
inappropriate to their age.
All these are forms of child abuse.
You should find that most clubs have
a Child Protection Officer (CPO) whose job it is to brief the club coaches about
their responsibilities in this area. But if you are either working on your own
or within a club that has no CPO you'll have to teach yourself about this
important and sensitive subject.
Please read the following carefully
and always bear it in mind.
Both boys and girls can be sexually
abused. Abuse can include: full sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex,
fondling showing children pornographic books or videos or taking pornographic
photographs or videos.
Children can be physically abused by
hitting, shaking, squeezing, biting or burning. In soccer, as with all sports,
physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity or training exceeds the
capacity of the child's body.
Physical abuse can also occur when
adults fail to meet a child's basic physical needs. e.g. food, warmth and
Neglect in soccer might occur if a
coach fails to ensure her children are safe or exposes them to extreme weather
conditions or potential injury.
lack of love or affection.
frequently being shouted at or being taunted,
protection leading to poor social skills.
give children love, affection or attention.
children alone and unsupervised.
Emotional abuse in soccer may include
situations where parents or coaches subject children to constant criticism,
bullying or unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectations.
parents being contacted, going home or receiving medical advice,
or untreated Injuries,
on unlikely or unusual parts of the body,
burns, bite, belt marks, or scalds,
hungry & tired,
clothing or dress,
parental support or interest
itching, bruising, or bleeding in the genital area
sources of money
sexual drawings / language / behaviour,
withdrawn or in fear of one person
If a child tells you something that
suggests they are being abused you must understand that this may be the only
time the child has built up courage to tell someone what has happened.
what you are doing and respect the childís privacy. Stay calm and reassuring. Listen to what they tell you.
Tell them that whatever the circumstances they are not to blame. Do not react in
a way which may add to the child's distress, e.g. anger or shock. Explain that
you cannot promise to keep what the child tells you a secret as you may have to
tell someone else.
Do not question the
child in depth and do not ask leading questions.
i.e. questions that need a
"yes" or "no" answer. Only ask questions to establish exactly what was done and
who did it.
Tell the child that you are
pleased they decided to tell someone and that they are absolutely right to do
Let the child know that you
understand how difficult it is to talk about such experiences.
Inform the Team
Manager (unless implicated).
Do not contact parents
until you have received
advice. Make an accurate record of the time and date and exactly what was said.
Sometimes there may not be any
signs of abuse; you may just feel that something is wrong. If you even
slightly worried it is your responsibility to act on your
concerns and do something about it.
If you suspect a
child has been abused you must contact your Local Authority Child Protection
Officer or the Police without delay.
IF A CHILD DISCLOSE
It is the duty of
all League Management, Referees, Club Officials, Team Managers and any other
individuals directly or indirectly involved with member clubs or teams playing
in leagues to be aware of and help prevent child abuse.
welfare is paramount and all children, whatever age, culture, disability, gender
or religious belief, have the right to protection from abuse.
All suspicions and
allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and
all players and children with respect and dignity befitting of their age,
your language, tone of voice and where you put your body.
You must NOT:
Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games including horseplay
engage in inappropriate or intrusive touching of any kind
children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
sexually suggestive comments to a child even in fun
allegations a child make go unchallenged or unrecorded
the privacy of children when they are changing, showering or going to the
things of a personal nature that children can do for themselves. e.g. help with
excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
children alone on car journeys, however short.
children to your home.
Sport England child protection policy
download child protection material
Child Protection in Sport
Leading the Way in Child Protection
BBC Sport Academy - protecting your child