One of the most important aspects of grassroots football is safeguarding, particularly ensuring that all children and youth people under the age of 18 years can be involved and feel safe.
Let's make football safe, not sorry! Most children and young people have a fantastic experience through football, but sadly, some don't.
This might be down to over-competitive parents and coaches shouting and constantly criticising them from the sidelines, the kind of behaviour that the Respect programme is designed to address, or it might be due to some other kind of abusive behaviour towards them.
The Oxford Mail Youth Football League acknowleges its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of every child and young person entrusted to its care and is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to provide a safe enviroment for all its members. A child or young person is anyone under the age of 18 years engaged in any youth football league activity as a player, as an assistant coach or match official (note that anyone under the age of 18 years cannot manage a team under FA rules). We subscribe to the F's Safeguarding Children - Policy and procedures and endorse and adopt the Policy Staement contained in that document.
Safeguarding Children is everyone's responsibility and having welfare officers in all clubs and leagues with youth teams is crucial to The FA's simple three part approach to safeguarding. This includes:
Right People: Getting the right people involved by seeking references and CRC (Criminal Records Checks) disclosures.
Right Behaviour: Create a safe environment, using code of conducts, education and following best practice.
Right Actions: Promoting clear systems to deal with any concerns.
Remember: It is NOT our responsibility to decide if abuse has taken place BUT if we have concerns it IS our responsibility to act and report those concerns.
Criminal Records Check (CRC)
Who needs to have a CRC?
Anyone who is regularly working or volunteering directly with children and young people in football needs to have an enhanced CRC. Regular is defined as once a month or more, more than twice in 30 days or overnight. Activities include: teaching, training, instructing, supervising, giving advice or guidance, treating or caring for children or driving for the club.
Remember, a CRC is required for each role that an individual has working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults. This means even if an individual has completed a CRC through work an additional check is required for football.
How do I check if someone has a CRC or not?
Club Welfare Officers can now use the Safeguarding Report on Whole Game System to check and manage the CRC and Safeguarding Children Workshop status of volunteers of their club.
FA grassroots safeguarding policies and procedures 2018 (PDF format)
FA Photography and Film Guidelines (PDF format)
OMYFL Safeguarding Policy (PDF format)
OMYFL Equality Policy (PDF format)
FA best practice - running a website (PDF format)
FA best practice - social networking sites (PDF format)
FA best practice - changing rooms (PDF format)
Club template resources:
Club Safeguarding children policy template (PDF format)
Club Anti-Bullying Policy template (PDF format)
Building a Supporting Network
CWO - Every youth club must have a Club Welfare Officer with a valid CRC.
YLWO - Every youth league must have a League Welfare Officer - ours is Kenny Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07715 606505)
CFAWO - Each County FA have a County Welfare Officer.
Nigel Saverton, Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), 07852 722540, Safeguarding@OxfordshireFA.com
Ian Mason, Senior Safeguarding Lead (SSL), 01993 778586, Safeguarding@OxfordshireFA.com
Berks & Bucks FA
Beryl Richardson, Safeguarding Manager, Safeguarding@Berks-BucksFA.com
Spencer Stone, Compliance Administrator, Safeguarding@Berks-BucksFA.com
Case Management - The FA have a Safeguarding team.
RDO - Referee Development Officer will work closely with CFAWO.
Useful non-FA contacts
NSPCC 0808 800 5000 alternatively you can text 88858. The NSPCC Helpline is a free, 24-hour service which provides advice to anyone worried about a child.
Childline 0800 1111 https://www.childline.org.uk/Childline is a free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, however you want to get in touch. We're here for you online, on the phone, anytime.
CEOP The Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency (CEOP) works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account. CEOP protect children from harm online and offline, directly through NCA led operations and in partnership with local and international agencies. Child protection is at the heart of everything they do and their approach is holistic. Law enforcement officers in CEOP and across the NCA work side by side with professionals from the wider child protection community and industry.