Anti Bullying Policy

Andover Town Youth Football Club (The Club) is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all 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. This club is committed to playing its part to teach players to treat each other with respect.

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

CYBERBULLYING

This is when a person uses technology i.e mobile phones or the internet (social networking sites, chat rooms, instant messenger, tweets) to deliberately upset some-one. Bullies often feel anonymous and ‘distanced ‘from the incident when it takes place online and ‘bystanders’ can easily become bullies themselves by forwarding the information on. There is a growing trend for bullying to occur online or via texts – bullies no longer rely on being physically near to the young.

TROLLING

This is the name given to posting deliberately offensive comments on people’s social media pages aimed at causing upset and distress. This type of behaviour could result in legal action.

OUR COMMITMENT

This club commits to ensure our website and/or social networking pages are being used appropriately and any online bullying will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately in line with procedures detailed in this policy.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO RESPOND TO BULLYING?

Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has a right to be treated with respect. Individuals who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.

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 behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and should investigate if a child:

says he or she is being bullied
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:

starts stammering,
cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable,
bullying other children or siblings stops eating,
attempts or threatens suicide or runs away

These signs and behaviours may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and investigated.

PROCEDURES

  1. Report bullying incidents to the Club

Welfare Officer or a member of the club’s committee or contact the County Welfare Officer.

  • In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be referred to the County FA Welfare Officer for advice and possibly to the FA Case Management Team.
  • Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.
  • If necessary and appropriate, the police will be consulted.
  • The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
  • An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.
  • If mediation fails and the bullying is seen to continue The Club will initiate disciplinary action under the club constitution

IN THE CASE OF ADULTS REPORTED TO BE BULLYING ANYONE

  1. The County FA Welfare Officer should always be informed and will advise on action to be taken where appropriate.
  2. In most cases where the allegation is made regarding a team manager, official, or coach, The FA’s Safeguarding Children

Education programme may be recommended.

  • More serious cases may be referred to the

Police and/ or Children’s Services.

PREVENTION

  1. The Club will have a written constitution, which includes what is acceptable and proper behaviour for all members of which the anti-bullying policy is one part.
  2. All club members and parents will sign to accept the constitution upon joining the club.
  3. The Club Welfare Officer will raise awareness about bullying and why it matters, and if issues of bullying arise in the club, will consider meeting with members to discuss the issue openly and constructively.

RECOMMENDED CLUB ACTION

If the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation they should follow the procedure outlined below:

  1. Reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be that a genuine apology solves the problem.
  2. If this fails/not appropriate a small panel (made up of the Chairman, Club Welfare Officer, Secretary, committee members) should meet with the parent and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation. Minutes should be taken for clarity, which should be agreed by all as a true account.
  3. The same three persons should meet with the alleged bully and their parent(s) and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation. Minutes should be taken and agreed.
  4. If bullying has in their view taken place the individual should be warned and put on notice of further action, i.e. temporary or permanent suspension if bullying continues. Consideration should be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between the parties is appropriate at this time.
  5. 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.

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