In respect of children, the Football Association of England defines abuse into five categories. This is to
help explain what abuse and harm is.
Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child, young person or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and
psychological needs, e.g. for food, warmth and clothing, or emotional needs such as attention and
affection. It occurs if children or young people are left alone or inadequately supervised or where they
are exposed to danger, injury or extreme weather conditions.
In activities, neglect could occur if children do not have proper supervision, clothing or are allowed or
encouraged to play whilst injured. It could occur if a child or young person’s needs are disregarded
before, during, or after a game or training.
Physical abuse occurs if someone were to physically hit, burn, poison, shake or in some way hurt or
injure children and/or young people, or fail to prevent these injuries from happening.
Within football, physical abuse could happen where training methods are inappropriate for the
developmental age of the child or young person, where they are allowed to play with an injury or where
inappropriate drugs or alcohol are offered or accepted, where a child or young person is hit or physically
restrained or manhandled by those supervising the game and or training session.
It should be noted that only clinical medical officers/consultant paediatrician should diagnose when an
injury is non-accidental. It is not the responsibility of staff to determine the cause of injury (except where
these are football related injuries).
Sexual abuse occurs if children or YP are used to meet another person’s sexual needs. This includes
any form of sexual behaviour with a child or YP (by an adult (male or female) or another child or YP),
the use of sexually-explicit language and jokes, inappropriate touching, exposure to pornographic
material, being made to watch sexual activities or encouraging children or vulnerable adults to behave
in sexually inappropriate ways.
Sexual abuse can occur in sporting settings. For example, where there is inappropriate touching, or
where sexually-explicit jokes occur between adults and children or young people or if indecent images
are taken or adapted, shared and/or placed on child pornography sites.
Child Sexual Exploitation
This is a form of sexual abuse. It involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where YP
receive something e.g. drugs, alcohol, gifts, money. It occurs where an individual or group takes
advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity.
Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from seemingly consensual relationships where sex
is exchanged for affections or gifts or seriously organised crime from groups or gangs.
Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of
technology. (Staff working in community trusts are most likely to identify and work with or support young
people at risk of CSE.)
Grooming is defined as developing the trust of a child or YP for the purpose of sexual abuse, sexual
exploitation or trafficking. Grooming can happen both on-line and in person.
This is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or YP that causes severe and persistent adverse
effect on their emotional development.
Examples of emotional abuse include frequent threatening, taunting or sarcastic behaviour, along with
with-holding affection by a parent or legal guardian or being extremely over-protective. It includes racist
or sexist behaviour and demeaning initiation ceremonies. It can be inflicted by other children and young
people as well as by adults. Children and young people who are being abused or bullied in any way will
also experience emotional abuse.
In football, coaches or parents emotionally abuse children and young people if they constantly criticise,
abuse their power, or impose unrealistic pressure to perform to a high standard. It may also occur if a
Club allows members to deride people with disabilities or from minority cultures and use derogatory
language about them or to them.
Written by Kayleigh Stent – Academy Safeguarding/Player Care Manager
Authorised and signed off by Liz Elsom – Club Welfare Officer