England Football Learning – The FA’s education arm – has launched a free online course for parents and carers. The 30-minute course aims to create greater awareness of the safeguarding role parents and carers can play within football.
Emphasising the needs and wellbeing of children, the course outlines the forms, signs and indicators of abuse, including ‘grooming’. It also includes a checklist of the safeguards that should be in place at a child's club or football setting, and how to verify these are in place. Crucially, it also covers the ways in which concerns can be reported through recognised channels.
“Producing the course is one of the numerous commitments we made in Building an Ever-Safer Culture, the three-year safeguarding strategy we launched earlier this year,” says Sue Ravenlaw, The FA's Head of Safeguarding. “Now the drive is on to gets as many parents and carers who’s child(ren) play football in whatever setting, to take the course so we can raise awareness levels across the country.
“The key will be getting clubs to encourage ‘their’ parents/carers to take the course, so we will be contacting every grassroots club in the country via the County FA network.”
The course has also been welcomed by The FA Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG), formed in 2018. “We wish there had been a course like this when we were children, leading to spotting the signs that things were not ‘right’,” says the Group. “Sadly, there are still cases of abuse in football and sport today. This means it’s so important that everyone – in this case parents and carers – recognises the signs and indicators that a child may be at risk of being groomed or abused and importantly, knows what to do.”
The course can be taken here
It extends England Football Learning’s existing series of safeguarding in football courses, some of which are free to access, and each aimed at a different type of football participant. These courses include:
• Safeguarding For All – for grassroots volunteer helpers, under-16 coaches and referees.
• Safeguarding Children Course – for coaches, managers, welfare officers, medics, referees and anyone taking FA qualifications, or in a role working directly with children.
• Welfare Officers Course – for grassroots league and club welfare officers.
• Safeguarding for Committee Members – for grassroots league and club committee members.
• Guide to Safeguarding Adults – for everyone involved in adult disability football from players to coaches and helpers.