Tag: safeguarding

Northumbria Police investigate historic sex abuse claims at Sunderland Foundation of Light

Northumbria Police has released its most recent figures in relation to non-recent recent sexual abuse in the sporting community.

The force’s Operation Tide was set up to support and investigate increased reporting of abuse following reports across the country and in the media.

Since launching the operation in December last year, 25 victims have come forward in relation to eight suspects across nine different sporting clubs including Newcastle United and Sunderland’s Foundation of Light. This also includes some smaller local sporting clubs.

The force’s Operation Tide was set up to support and investigate increased reporting of abuse following reports across the country and in the media.

Since launching the operation in December last year, 25 victims have come forward in relation to eight suspects across nine different sporting clubs including Newcastle United and Sunderland’s Foundation of Light. This also includes some smaller local sporting clubs.

When we initially launched the investigation it was focussed on allegations made in connection with Newcastle United Football Club but with more victims now bravely coming forward, we have broadened the investigation.

“Our specially trained officers have been in contact with a number of people who have taken the hugely brave step of speaking to us.

“My plea to those affected is please don’t suffer in silence, we would like you to come forward, our officers are trained and able to investigate and we work closely with other support organisations to ensure we provide the best possible service to you.

“We also urge anyone who may have any information regarding child sexual abuse to come forward.”

– ASSISTANT CHIEF CONSTABLE DARREN BEST

 

Following the statement from Northumbria Police, the Foundation of Light issued the following statement:

We are currently helping Northumbria Police with their enquiries about a case of non-recent sexual abuse relating to a former employee.

“Foundation of Light is an organisation that is dedicated to improving people’s lives and over the years we have supported many who have suffered abuse, as well as forging positive working relationships with Northumbria Police.

“We are extremely saddened to hear of the allegations and will do everything in our power to support this investigation.

“Our concern is primarily with those who have suffered abuse and we would encourage any others who have suffered abuse in the past to contact the NSPCC on 0800 023 2642.

“To prevent abuse all Foundation of Light staff undergo rigorous safeguarding training; Foundation of Light employs a safeguarding officer as is suitable for an organisation of its size and type and DBS checks are undertaken on all appropriate staff.

“We also adhere to strict safeguarding procedures to protect the thousands we work with every day and take allegations of abuse very seriously.

“As this is an ongoing police investigation it would not be appropriate for us to comment in more detail at this stage.”

– FOUNDATION OF LIGHT

Advice from the NSPCC – Grooming What it is, signs and how to protect children

Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abusesexual exploitation or trafficking.

Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional.

Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.

Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.

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Signs of grooming

The signs of grooming aren’t always obvious and groomers will often go to great lengths not to be identified.

If a child is being groomed they may:

  • be very secretive, including about what they are doing online
  • have older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • go to unusual places to meet friends
  • have new things such as clothes or mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain
  • have access to drugs and alcohol.

In older children, signs of grooming can easily be mistaken for ‘normal’ teenage behaviour, but you may notice unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, or inappropriate sexual behaviour for their age.

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Things you may notice

If you’re worried that a child is being abused, watch out for any unusual behaviour.

  • withdrawn
  • suddenly behaves differently
  • anxious
  • clingy
  • depressed
  • aggressive
  • problems sleeping
  • eating disorders
  • wets the bed
  • soils clothes
  • takes risks
  • misses school
  • changes in eating habits
  • obsessive behaviour
  • nightmares
  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • self-harm
  • thoughts about suicide

If you’re worried about a child, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse

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BREAKING – Hundreds come forward and Report abuse to Police.

Grassroots understands that the number of people that have came forward and reported abuse within football, current and historic,  to police forces around England now stands at 350.

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What at first appeared to be isolated cases may well turn out to be the biggest scandal to rock football in recent memory, the shear numbers coming forward have led organisations such as The FA and The NSPCC to put in place dedicated helplines for victims.

The scandal surrounding allegations of historical child sex abuse in football could spread to other sports, a senior police officer has warned.

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A “significant” number of other alleged victims of abuse are likely to come forward and further sporting governing bodies may report similar problems, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for child protection, said.

The horrifying thought that this could be happening within a sport followed by and loved by millions of children leaves a chill running down our spines.

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The NSPCC which this week set up a dedicated hotline – on 0800 023 2642 – for football-related cases.

 

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Breaking News…Coach at centre of abuse scandal found unconscious.

Ex-youth football coach Barry Bennell, who is at the centre of a sex abuse scandal, has been taken to hospital after being found unconscious.

The convicted sex offender was found at an address in Knebworth Park, Stevenage on Friday, Thames Valley Police said.

The force said it was called to a “fear for welfare” incident and the 62-year-old was still in hospital.

Bennell was named last week by several former footballers who alleged they were abused as children.

Four police forces are now investigating claims of historical abuse.

Former Crewe player Andy Woodward was the first to speak out about the abuse he said he suffered at the hands of Bennell.

More on this story as it unfolds.

Story courtesy of the BBC

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A statement from The FA’s Sue Ravenlaw on Andy Woodward’s disclosure of sexual abuse

Sue Ravenlaw, The FA’s head of equality and safeguarding, said:-

“Reading Andy Woodward’s story in The Guardian was heartbreaking and we applaud his immense courage in coming forward to speak about the horrific abuse he suffered.

“Barry Bennell remains permanently suspended from football, in line with our procedures.

“The FA takes all matters of safeguarding and child protection seriously and we encourage anyone who may have experienced or is experiencing abuse in football, to contact the NSPCC’s confidential 24 hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Child Line for children and young people 0800 1111.

“We’ve worked with the NSPCC for 16 years and we know how important it is for victims of abuse to be guided to where they can receive independent, confidential support from trained professionals.

“Important information on how to report any concerns about a child’s welfare in football can be found here.

“Reports can be made via designated safeguarding officers, direct to the professional who work at The FA or via statutory agencies and the NSPCC.

“In conjunction with the Premier League, English Football League and County FAs, we’ve been working to build fun and safe environments for children and young people to participate in. The FA and the football bodies do not tolerate any form of bullying and or abuse in football.

“Criminal record checks are required for those in regulated activity with children, in line with legislation and FA Regulations. More than 35,000 people go through The FA’s safeguarding children awareness workshop, or tailored training every season and we require every club or league with affiliated teams who are U18, to have a named, trained designated safeguarding officer, who has been criminal record checked.”

Referring a concern can be done via your club, league or County FA – all will have a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), trained by The FA. Alternatively, you can email them directly via safeguarding@thefa.com.

 

FA guide to Safeguarding children – No action is not an option.

The FA’s role in safeguarding and dealing with abuse

Let’s make football safe, not sorry

As the governing body of football in this country, The FA wants to do everything it can to create a sustainable safe and enjoyable framework around the game we all love.

We want you to feel confident in football and to know that your child will have fun and be safe.

If standards ever fall short; with poor practice or unacceptable behaviour, there is a framework in place to make sure we can deal with it and by reporting a concern you can help us make sure that the youth game stays safe and strong.

If you, or your child, are involved in football we encourage you to share this film with club staff, parents and volunteers to help spread the message that by reporting your concerns you can help to keep youth football fantastic. Click on the video link above to watch this film.

So, anyone who has a concern about the welfare of a child or the behaviour of an adult towards a child or young person under 18 years of age in football is required to refer it to The FA Safeguarding team. The team is staffed by professionals who are experienced in dealing with child welfare.

Referring a concern can be done via your club, league or County FA – all will have a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), trained by The FA. Alternatively, you can email them directly via safeguarding@thefa.com.

If the matter is urgent and you cannot contact your club or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you can call The FA/NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 – or if it is an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police or Children’s Social Care in your area.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. No action is not an option.