Ashford Town FC Youth is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our members so they can participate in football in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, all club members or parents should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING club. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the club welfare officer or any committee member.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is the use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim.
Bullying can be:
Emotional ...being unfriendly, excluding (emotionally and physically) sending hurtful text messages, tormenting, (e.g. hiding football boots/shin guards, threatening gestures).
Physical ...pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
Racist ...racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
Sexual unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
Homophobic ...because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality.
Verbal ...name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing.
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Individuals who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
This club has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
Objectives of this Policy
All club members, coaches, officials and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
All, club members, officials and coaching staff should know what the club policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
All players and parents should know what the club policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.
As a club we take bullying seriously. Players and parents should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported.
Bullying will not be tolerated.
Signs and Indicators
A child may indicate by signs or behavior that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
says he or she is being bullied
is unwilling to go to club sessions
becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
feels ill before training sessions
comes home with clothes torn or training equipment damaged
has possessions go "missing"
asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay the bully)
has unexplained cuts or bruises
is frightened to say what's wrong
gives improbable excuses for any of the above
In more extreme cases
cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
is bullying other children or siblings
attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
These signs and behaviors may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
Report bullying incidents to the club welfare officer or a member of the clubs committee or contact the CFA CPO
In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be referred to the CFA CPO for advice and possibly to the FA Case Management System
Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem
If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted
The bullying behavior or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly
An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behavior
If mediation fails and the bullying is seen to continue the club will initiate disciplinary action under the club constitution.
If the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation then we will follow the procedure outlined below.
Reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be that a genuine apology solves the problem.
If this fails/not appropriate a small panel (Made up from chairman, Club Welfare Officer, Secretary, committee members) will meet with the parent and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. Minutes will be taken for clarity, which should be agreed by all as a true account.
The same 3 persons should meet with the alleged bully and parent/s and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minutes shall again be taken and agreed.
If bullying has in their view taken place the individual should be warned and put on notice of further action i.e.
To issue a one match ban of the player.
To place the player on a one month good behavior probationary period.
Reviewed at the following monthly meeting.
To exclude from the club.
In some cases the parent of the bully or bullied player can be asked to attend training sessions, if they are able to do so, and if appropriate. The club committee should monitor the situation for a given period to ensure the bullying is not being repeated.
All coaches involved with both individuals should be made aware of the concerns and outcome of the process i.e. the warning.
In the case of adults reported to be bullying anyone within the club Under 18...
The Club Welfare Officer should always be informed and will advice on action to be taken
It is anticipated that in most cases where the allegation is made regarding a team manager, official or coach, The FAs child protection and best practice awareness training is recommended.
More serious cases may be referred to the police, social services or judicial complaints