Safeguarding

Reporting abuse, getting support and survivor voice

Support for adult survivors

Following the publication of the Sheldon Report, the survivors who form The FA Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG) have recorded a podcast giving their wide-ranging thoughts on the Report and related topics, including a look to the future.

Listen to Episode #1

Listen to Episode #2

Reporting abuse

Thinking about reporting? If you are an adult victim and survivor of childhood abuse within a football context and are thinking about reporting it to the police, follow the link below to watch a video produced by Operation Hydrant¹ and Police Scotland provides supportive information:

Watch Operation Hydrant¹ and Police Scotland video

¹Operation Hydrant is a co-ordination hub established in June 2014 to deliver the national policing response, oversight, and co-ordination of non-recent child sexual abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence, or in relation to those offences which took place within institutional settings.

How to report concerns

Here are some organisations to whom you can make a formal report of childhood sexual abuse within a football context:

Organisation Website Tel. no. Email
 Police  As in your area

 In an emergency dial 999 or 101 if it is not an emergency

 As in your area
 NSPCC Football Helpline or generic Helpline  https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/reporting-abuse/report/  0800 023 2642 or 0800 800 5000  help@nspcc.org.uk
 The FA  Visit Section 2  0800 169 1863 and ask for the safeguarding team  safeguarding@thefa.com

In addition, If you have reported your case to the Police previously but no action was taken by the Police or Crown Prosecution Service at the time, and you are not satisfied that the original allegations were dealt with properly, there is a new option available to you to seek a review under the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP) process.

If you want to report a concern about child abuse in football, please follow the link below to see more information on reporting and support 

Visit Section 2 - Reporting concerns

This video produced by the CSARP tells the story of survivor David Lean’s experience through the process. It also contains information on the work of the Panel and encourages victims and survivors to come forward to refer their case, if appropriate watch the video below:

Watch David Lean's story

Getting support

Organisations to contact:

There are a number of organisations that can support you and talk through your situation to whom you do not have to make a formal report. A detailed list is provided in Guidance Notes 9.1, which you can download at the foot of this page.

Support via The FA:

Therapy: The FA has established a system through which non-recent survivors of football-related sexual abuse can receive specialist therapeutic support without a long wait. This system was developed with the guidance of Dr Elly Hanson (an independent clinical psychologist specialising in the field of abuse and trauma), input and feedback from survivors, and in partnership with Sporting Chance², a charity specialising in supporting sport people’s mental health and wellbeing. The video below speaks to the importance of therapy as part of the healing journey:

Providing therapeutic support for survivors

FA Benevolent Fund:

This Fund has provided financial assistance to 50 survivors to date and is open to new applications. You can read more about the Fund and football’s other discretionary funding sources in Guidance Notes 9.3, which is downloadable at the foot of this page.

²Sporting Chance is the charity set up by Tony Adams, former Arsenal and England player, to support sportspeople with addictive disorders and their all-round well-being.

Support via The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA):

The PFA has created a Survivor Support Advocate role to provide dedicated support predominantly for survivors of non-recent child sexual abuse in football to ensure they can access the help they need. Co-funded by The PFA and The FA, the Survivor Support Advocate role was advertised and recruited for in 2019 and is fulfilled by Ian Ackley, who is a survivor, with lived experience of abuse in football.

Support includes:

  • Signposting to Legal advice and information;
  • Emotional support;
  • Practical support.

To find out more, visit the relevant section of the PFA website here, or please email Ian below:

Contact the PFA Survivor Support Advocate

Survivor voice

To ensure a forum for the voices of survivors, The FA Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG) was formed in 2018. This followed meetings between the Chairman of The FA, The FA’s Head of Safeguarding and survivors of non-recent sexual abuse in football.

If you're an adult survivor wondering about whether to waive your anonymity or not, please download guidance notes 9.2 at the foot of this page. It's a thought-provoking guide based on former players who have faced this question.

The Group brings together former footballers with lived experience who wanted to collaborate with others, alongside independent safeguarding professionals and specialist organisations. Some members of the Group with lived experience have waived their anonymity – some haven’t.

The Group has an important role in both challenging and informing The FA’s thinking in relation to the needs and experiences of survivors. Post the Sheldon report, the FASSSAG aims to act as a voice for those with lived experience of abuse. It aims to consult as widely as possible with survivors of abuse in football, so the diverse range of views in this community are represented in the Group’s work with The FA.

It also links to a Panel that has been established by Sport England with similar representation to assist across Sport. Since inception, FASSSAG has been engaged in a range of projects including:

  • Helping shape research on the experiences that survivors have of the reporting process and support services – in order to identify gaps and improve our provisions.
  • Developing criteria for a new element of The FA Benevolent Fund to be open to survivors of abuse in football and a service to advise survivors about the civil claims process hosted by the Professional Footballer’s Association.
  • Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on improving The Victims’ Code.
  • Giving feedback and advocacy in relation to The FA and to the Football Review, undertaken by Clive Sheldon QC.
  • Developing guidance for survivors to decide whether to waive their anonymity and guide them through a process that might help them to make the right decision for them, at the appropriate time. See Guidance Notes 9.2 at the foot of this page.
  • Informing The FA safeguarding team’s outputs and streams of work – including those that impact survivors directly as well as those aimed at making children, young people and adults at risk safer in football (e.g. through the Respect programme) including advice for parents and carers on The FA website (e.g. FA Guidance Notes: 8.1 and 8.6) and clubs on how they can provide a positive welcome (FA Guidance Notes 5.9). Also inputting into the ‘Heads Up’ campaign on mental health and giving survivor issues coverage within that campaign.

If you wish to make contact with members of the Group please follow the link below to email and messages will be passed to the Group:

Contact FASSSAG