All clubs, associations and referee branches are required to have a Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO). This position is usually a voluntary position.
MEMBER PROTECTION INFORMATION OFFICERS
An MPIO is the first point of contact for persons with member protection or child protection enquiries or complaints. MPIOs provide information to participants about the options available to them. MPIOs can also provide information to clubs about member protection and related policies. MPIO’s remain impartial and do not mediate or investigate complaints. There is an MPIO in every club, association, branch, referee branch within Football NSW and a State MPIO at Football NSW Head Office.
MPIO REGISTRATIONS 2017
For insurance purposes MPIOs need to register on My Football Club CLICK HERE
For communication purposes please register in the FNSW MPIO register CLICK HERE
MPIO TRAINING COURSES
All MPIO courses are all free and provide MPIOs with valuable training and tools.
- MPIO Training course (PBTR on-line & workshop)
- Child Protection course (PBTR on-line)
- Harassment & Discrimination (PBTR on-line)
- Complaints Handling (PBTR on-line)
- Child Safe Training Courses (NSW OCG on-line)
- Becoming a Child Safe Organisation (NSW OCG on-line)
MPIO Contact Details
All participants need to be able to contact the MPIO at their club and/or association. The name and phone number of the MPIO (of a club/association/referee branch) must be made available without question to any person requesting it. The MPIO’s name and contact details should be listed on the organisation’s website and included in club Newsletters and player and parent notices.
MEMBER PROTECTION & CHILD PROTECTION
For information about Member and Child Protection refer to:
- FFA National Member Protection Policy
- FNSW Working with Children Check webpage
- Play By the Rules website
- E-Safety - cyberbullying & social media
- NSW Office of the Children's Guardian
HELP FOR KIDS
All children should feel safe at home, in sport, school and any community organisation. If anyone makes you feel unsafe or scared or is hurting you, it is important that tell someone that you trust. Even if the person who is making you feel unsafe tells you not to tell anyone or said it was a secret, you still need to tell someone.
Who can you tell? Tell an adult that you trust. You can even tell more than one adult that you trust!
Here are some of the people you can tell or talk to about what is happening: Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandad, Aunty, Uncle, school teacher, team coach, team manager, club committee people, Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, Police Officer or anyone else that you trust. It is probably not ideal to tell the person who is hurting you, it is better to tell someone else.
If you don't feel comfortable telling any of these people, then please talk to someone else about it.
Who can you call?
Child Protection Helpline on Phone 132 111 (available 24 hours a day)
Kids Helpline webchat CLICK HERE
Kids helpline Phone 1800 55 1800
Football NSW Member Protection Officer Phone 02 8814 4402 or to send an email CLICK HERE
NSW Police Assistance Line 131 444
Help for kids aged 5 - 12 yrs old CLICK HERE
Help for young people 13 - 25 yrs old CLICK HERE
Help for parents CLICK HERE
If you are being bullied it is important that you tell someone so they can help to stop the bullying.
You should report it to Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandad, Aunty, Uncle or anyone else that you trust. If someone at school is bullying you, you can also tell a teacher or school counsellor. If someone at football is bullying you, you can also tell your coach, manager, Member Protection Officer or a club committee person.
If you are being bullied on Facebook or any type of Social Medica, you should report it to the same people listed above.
You can also report it to the Kids Cyber Bullying Safety Centre. To report it CLICK HERE
For more information about Cyber bullying, what you can do and how to stop it visit these websites:
- Cyber Bullying Safety Centre
- ThinkUKnow - Information for Parents, clubs, schools and teachers
- ThinkUKnow - Information for youth aged 11 - 17 years
- E-Safety - Commissioner for e-Safety website
- FNSW Social Media Policy
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
To report child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days) or CLICK HERE for more information
INFORMATION AND SUPPORT AT YOUR CLUB, ASSOCIATION AND FOOTBALL NSW
Contact the MPIO at your club or local Association
Contact FNSW State MPIO on email firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 02 8814 4402.
STRATEGIES FOR KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN CLUBS
The Safeguarding Children program developed by the Australian Childhood Foundation has created seven unique strategies to help your sports club or association keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation by staff, volunteers or other relevant related individuals.
The strategies are evidence-based and form an important part of the Safeguarding Children organisational accreditation scheme.
While strategies are quite easy to understand they can involve quite a comprehensive review and assessment of your club or association’s policies and procedures that protect children.
The strategies are:
1: A commitment to safeguarding children Strategy
2: Personal roles and conduct Strategy
3: Recruitment and screening practices Strategy
4: Personal induction and training Strategy
5: Involving children and parents Strategy
6: Child abuse reporting and allegations Strategy
7: Supporting a child-safe culture.
To assist you in starting this process and fleshing out some of the details for each of the strategies, Play by the Rules has designed a free template in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is ready to use, provides example strategy statements, and can serve as a planning document as well as a presentation/workshop tool. You can download the presentation template at www.playbytherules.net.au/legal-stuff/child-protection
For more details on these strategies and to register for the full online Safeguarding Children program visit http://safeguardingchildren.com.au
There are some common issues that arise and which MPIOs need to be aware of:
Insufficient Game Time
This is not a child protection issue and can be resolved through mediation. It is a decision for the coach of a team to determine how much game time players receive however some clubs do have policies relating to amateur football game time. Contact your local club to enquire whether they have a game time policy.
Football is a team sport and time on the bench is an accepted part of being in a football team. The strategies used by coaches are many and varied in their efforts to try and provide players with fair game time but equal time is not always possible particularly where the games are closely contested and where player fitness, endurance, ability and team cohesion are factors in player selection, rotation and positioning.
Non Selection in team or squad
This is not a child protection issue. The selection of players is a decision for selectors. Players are generally selected into teams and squads based on skill, strength, stamina, physique, fitness, sportsmanship, commitment and a willingness and ability to learn and improve. A good behaviour record both on and off the field, is also beneficial.
Our team is not winning - my child is not scoring goals
It is interesting to note that a study on children's sport found that the top 3 reasons children play amateur sport are: To make friends; To have fun; and To play the game.
Winning is not always a priority for children and just playing with their friends, having fun and kicking the ball is often what they base their good experience on. Parents should support their children and encourage good sportsmanship no matter the outcome of the game - win, lose or draw.
Sport is often the only outlet a child has from the pressures of school and life in general so it is important to ensure they are allowed to enjoy their football and have a good experience.
Failure to release a player from a contract
This is not a child protection issue and is a matter for resolution between the club and the player involved.
Behaviour of the Coach
Inappropriate behaviour in football is unacceptable and clubs and associations are responsible for taking appropriate action where they consider the behaviour of their team officials to be in breach of the Coaches Code of Conduct. Associations also have a level of jurisdiction over coaches and team officials which can result in those persons appearing before the tribunal and sanctions applied.
Penalties imposed for serious breaches of the Code of Conduct can include a lifetime ban from football.
Options for Breaches of the Code of Conduct
Options which clubs may consider when responding to breaches of the Coaches Code of Conduct:
- Speaking with the coach about their behaviour
- Monitoring the coach to observe the reported behaviour
- Mentoring the coach on how to improve his/her behaviour
- Mediation between the aggrieved parties
- Required to complete the Play By The Rules on-line training
- Required to complete an accredited coaching course at Football NSW
- Issue of a written warning to the coach about their behaviour
- Taking disciplinary action
- Suspending the coach from his/her duties for a period of time
- Dismissing the coach
OR a combination of these. Any action taken is at the discretion of the club or tribunal. The complainant DOES NOT determine the penalty. An offender should also consider offering an apology as this can often result in a favourable outcome.
It is up to a complainant to decide if they wish to proceed with a complaint. If a person is unsure what to do then they may consider the following options:
Consider what may happen if nothing is done.
Consider whether speaking to the person directly may resolve the matter. If the person knows about the concerns they may recognise the error of their ways and alter their behviour. In most cases it is only fair that the person is provided with an opportunity to resolve the problem themselves.
Mediation is where a club official or another person may act as a mediator between to two parties involved. For example: If a parent is having a problem with a coach, a meeting may be arranged between the parent and the coach with a club official acting as mediator. This way the problem can be discussed and resolved politely.
The matter could be discussed with the MPIO, Secretary, President or another official of the club. This may provide the club an opportunity to monitor the situation. A club may request that a written complaint be lodged before they take any further action.
Complaint by a child
Where a verbal complaint is made by a child to an adult then the adult is obliged to note and report the complaint. A complaint by a child should never be ignored. Where the safety or welfare of a child is of concern, these matters should be reported to Football NSW. Reports of child abuse or welfare concerns of a child can also be reported to NSW Family and Community Services or phone 132 111 (24hr helpline).
An official complaint should be in writing and addressed to the Club Secretary. The person who signs the complaint must be able to be identified and be contactable. It is important to note that the person being complained about will be informed of the complaint and may be provided with a copy of the complaint as it is their right to be notified of any complaint made against them. An unsigned complaint, anonymous complaint or a rumour cannot be acted upon.
Clubs have a duty to respond to all complaints and follow appropriate complaint handling procedures. Clubs should always endeavour to act in the best interests of all parties involved and respond to a complaint as quickly and effectively as possible. Clubs should manage all complaints fairly and effectively