Any robust and effective safeguarding system must be underpinned by the principal of 'responsibility for all'.  This absolutely and crucially includes parents and carers..... First thing is first. Make sure the club your child joins is affiliated to The Football Association and therefore governed by it's regulations which have safeguarding at the forefront. Be aware that It is still possible for clubs and even leagues to not affiliate to The FA and therefore not be bound by these regulations you would take for granted such as all key volunteers being subject to a criminal record check. If your child is luck enough to be joining a professional club then that is definitely an affiliated club. Make sure when your child joins the club you and your child are given a proper induction. The club should have a 'designated welfare officer' who is in overall charge of safeguarding. Make sure that at the very least you have their contact details and ideally that you meet them or at the very least recognise them. Also make sure you know who you should contact if you have any concerns about your child or another child. At 'SAVE' we advocate the introduction of 'safeguarding committees' to underpin the principal of 'responsibility for all'. We also recommend that each safeguarding committee has parental representation. Would you approve or even consider becoming that representative ?





Recent polls we carried out too suggested that two thirds of parents and carers did not know who their child's junior sports clubs designated welfare officer was with many not knowing that there should even be one. THIS IS ALARMING.This is the person who has overall responsibility for the welfare of your child whilst at the club. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Click here to learn more about their role.

Spotting signs a child may be being abused - Ian Ackley


One or more of the following may trigger concerns about a child or vulnerable adult but the signs may vary according to the age and understanding of the child/vulnerable adult.

Sexual abuse

BEHAVIOURAL SIGNS: Change in behaviour such as becoming withdrawn or over familiarization, sexualised behaviour inappropriate for the childs age, sexually explicit knowledge inappropriate for age, acting out with toys, mood swings, unexplained gifts, running away, self harm, substance or alchohol misuse, bed wetting.

PHYSICAL SIGNS: Genital pain, itching, bleeding, discharge, stomach pains, discomfort, incontinence, urinary infections, S.T.D’S, thrush or pain on passing motions.

Physical abuse

BEHAVIOURAL SIGNS- Fear of contact, aggression, temper, running away, fear of going home, reluctance to change or uncover body, depression, withdrawal, bullying or abuse of others. PHYSICAL SIGNS- Unexplained and/or unusual bruising, finger or strap marks, injuries, cigarette burns, bite marks, fractures, scalds or even missing teeth.

Emotional abuse

BEHAVIOUR SIGNS- Unable or unwillingness to play, fear of making mistakes, fear of telling parents/carers, withdrawn, unexplained speech and language difficulty, having very few/ no friends. PHYSICAL SIGNS- Weight change, lack of growth or development, unexplained speech disorders, self harm, clothing inappropriate for childs age, gender, culture etc.


BEHAVIOURAL SIGNS- Difficulties making friends, anxiety over school or attending a club, truancy, withdrawal, anger, moodiness, suicide attempts, reduced performance, money and or possessions lost, stealing from within the family or trusted people/organisations, distress or anxiety on reading texts or e mails. PHYSICAL SIGNS Weight change, unexplained injuries or bruising, stomach aches or headaches, bed wetting, disturbed sleep, nightmares, hair pulled out.


BEHAVIOURAL SIGNS- Always being tired, always very early or late, unexplained absence, few or no friends, regularly left alone, stealing, no money, parents/carers never or rarely attending, parents/ carers unsupportive. PHYSICAL SIGNS- Constant hunger, dirty or disheveled, ill fitting clothes, inappropriate clothes, weight change, untreated conditions, continuous minor ailments or infections. Note that some signs or symptoms above appear in more than one category. Remember that it doesn’t matter what type of abuse a child may be suffering what is important is that we are alert to the possible signs. We are not experts nor should we be expected to be, that is why if you recognize any/some  of the above signs in a child or vulnerable adult and you have serious concerns for their welfare you should report your concerns to the L.A.D.O (LOCAL AUTHORITY DESIGNATED OFFICER) at social services or if out of hours the duty social worker. If you fear that the child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger then you should call the police. You can or might alert your club or welfare officer but be mindful if there is concern that the perpetrator of the abuse is a member or person attending the club/organisation. If you do report any concerns to your club ensure that you follow up that report by asking who the concern was reported to. You are entitled to ask the club/organisation what was done and what the outcome was. If the issue was resolved internally then you have the right to feel satisfied that the issue was dealt with appropriately. It may be that details can not be given due to data protection but if you are not satisfied with the decision or explanation you have the right to report your concern to an outside agency such as social services or the police independently of what the club or organisation say.


Who supports the family of a victim of childhood sexual abuse? - David White


It seems to be a very under researched subject. How do we offer support to the parents, spouses, siblings and children of the victims of childhood sexual abuse ? We recognised very early on in this process that this was a major issue because in many cases of C.S.A. the parents are the totally innocent and ignorant main reasons for non-disclosure.

'How can I tell my mum her brother abused me ? It will tear the family apart'. 'I said nothing because I thought my dad would kill him. My dad's no good to me in prison'. 'After all these years I can't tell my mum now. The guilt will finish her'. The abuser knows all this. It is the reason they feel they are invincible. The closer the child/parent relationship, the more chance the abuser has of non-disclosure, very often forever.

If and when the parent does find out (often at an advanced age) that their child was abused as a child it is inevitable that they will feel guilty and they will feel helpless so it is further inevitable that they may need therapy to cope with this new knowledge. The same may go for spouses and partners (particularly in long term relationships). It may be that they feel that they have been unsupportive or lacked understanding. They may feel guilty that had they had the knowledge they would have understood their partner better.

The feeling of sadness that their partner has suffered in silence may be very difficult for them to deal with. Older children will have similar feelings in terms of sadness and younger children may be confused, know that something has changed but not what. And right there is the direct support network that the survivor needs and they now have to find the additional strength to support.... How do they do that with all this new knowledge and negative, energy sapping emotions?

Just as important is that a failure of the parent/carer to cope well with their new knowledge is that the survivor really could do without all their fears coming to fruition. The last thing they need on their own road to recovery is to have to worry about their family, their support network and what their disclosure has done to them. So therapy for family members is an offering that simply has to be there if only to assist and supplement survivor therapy.

 David White June 2017

If you would like any further information or advice please fill In the adjacent form and we will endeavour to respond or signpost you to the relevant organisation if we are not able to assist.

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