Worthing United Youth & Colts FC defines bullying as 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 (for example: hiding football boots/shin guards, threatening gestures).
- Physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
- Verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing.
- Racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
- Sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.
- Homophobic – because of, or focussing on, the issue of sexuality.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC is committed to eradicating bullying because:
- 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.
All club members, coaches, officials and parents/carers should have an understanding of what bullying is. They should know:
- What the club policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
- What they should do if bullying arises.
- The signs and indicators of bullying.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying. As a Football Club we take bullying seriously. Players and parents/carers should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported. Bullying will not be tolerated.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC 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.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC acknowledges that a child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and 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- Becomes withdrawn, anxious, or lacking in confidence.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.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC also acknowledges that in more extreme cases, a child may:
- Cry themselves to sleep at night or have nightmares.
- Become aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable.
- Bully other children or siblings.
- Stop eating.
- Start stammering.
- Attempt or threaten suicide, or run away.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC acknowledges that these signs and behaviours may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
Worthing United Youth & Colts FC uses the following procedures to deal with incidents of bullying:
- Report bullying incidents to the club’s Child Welfare Officer or to a member of the club’s committee, or contact the Sussex FA’s Child Protection Officer.
- In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be referred to the Sussex County Football Association’s Child Protection Officer for advice and possibly to the Football Association’s Case Management System.
- Parents/carers should be informed and will be asked to come in for a meeting to discuss the problem.
- If necessary and appropriate, 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, Worthing United Youth & Colts FC will initiate disciplinary action under the club constitution. This means the club decides it is appropriate for them to deal with the situation.
This procedure may include, reconciliation by getting the parties together. It may be that a genuine apology solves the problem.
If this fails, or is not appropriate, a small panel (made up from Chairman, Child Welfare Officer, Secretary and Committee Members) should meet with the parents/carers and child alleging bullying to get details of the allegation.
The same persons should meet with the alleged bully and parents/carers and put the incident raised to them to answer and give their view of the allegation.
If bullying has in their view taken place, the individual should be warned and put on notice of further action. ie: temporary or permanent suspension, if the bullying continues.
Consideration should be given as to whether a reconciliation meeting between parties is appropriate at this time.
In some cases the parent/carers 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.
In the case of adults reported to be bullying anyone:
- The Sussex County Football Association’s Child Protection Officer should always be informed and will advise on action to be taken where appropriate.
- It is anticipated that in most cases where the allegation is made regarding a team manager, official or coach, attendance of a Football Association Learning Safeguarding Children course may be recommended.
- More serious cases may be referred to the Police and/or Social Services.