Liverpool County FA is delighted to be able to work with and support the NWG Exploitation Response Unit with its new ‘Safe to Play’ campaign that has been developed in partnership with Sport England to help to keep children safe whilst playing their chosen sporting activities.
Child abuse through sport has featured prominently in UK major media outlets recently, the former football coach Barry Bennell was again convicted at his fourth trial on Friday 31 July 2020 at Cheshire Crown Court. Bennell abused hundreds of children during his career as a football coach and the scale of his offending behaviour is truly staggering; many of his victims are still struggling to cope in their adult life following abuse at the hands of Bennell in their childhood. Recently many more former athletes have also been disclosing their abuse at the hands of coaches in a variety of sports and the problems is truly a global one, disclosures of abuse in sport have come from athletes from the USA, Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Australia all within the last few weeks.
Safeguarding children and adults at risk is everyone’s business, the new Safe to Play campaign has been designed specifically for the sports community to help raise awareness of how abuse can occur through sport. The campaign's efforts are aimed at parents, coaches and children in order to help them understand what to look out for and how to respond to concerns.
Questions NWG often asks parents are: “As parents would you know how to recognise when something is not right at your child’s sports club, would you know who to approach if you had concerns and would you have the confidence to complain to a Head Coach about either his or her behaviour?”
The Safe to Play campaign utilises Augmented Reality (AR)technology as a new method of engaging parents whose children play sport. NWG have produced a short campaign video featuring a family scenario around sport and three short vignettes from a child, a parent and a sports coach relating to the story. The videos are embedded in a small credit card sized resource that can be viewed using a smart phone or other digital technologies. The augmented realty card is packed with information that will help parents, coaches, and children to be able to keep safe in sport and you can also access the Stop-CSE website for links to more free to download and share sports resources, all from the comfort of your smart phone or tablet.
The campaign has had excellent feedback from parents who value the unique nature of the technology and the ease of use and ability to view the resources with their children, they could relate to the central character Jamie who features in the video and felt more confident after using the AR card to raise concerns and just as importantly ask the right safegaurding questions about the club.
Gordon and his team will be distributing the AR cards to your respective clubs, please do distribute them to all your club members, parents and players and join the Safe to Play movement.
Gordon Johnson, Designated Safeguarding Officer for Liverpool County FA, said:
“Liverpool County FA are delighted to collaborate with Kevin, his team from the NWG Network and Sport England in the promotion of the ‘Safe to play’ campaign. Safeguarding both children and Adults at Risk is one of the key priorities of our association and we hope that the distribution of these resources across our County FA area will help to keep this at the forefront of everybody’s minds who are involved in grassroots football, whether that be as a player, coach, volunteer, spectator or parent.”
League and Club Secretaries and Welfare Officers wishing to receive cards and/or advertising posters should contact firstname.lastname@example.org