If apprentices wish to raise any issue relating to Child Protection or Safeguarding, there are a number of routes that they can follow. Every English Football League (EFL) club is required to appoint a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) who is responsible for implementing Safeguarding procedures which follow the policies established by LFE, The EFL and The Football Association (FA) with regard to safeguarding young people.

Alternatively, if apprentices do not feel comfortable approaching a member of staff at the Club, they can also discuss any concerns with their LFE Regional Officer, who will visit your club on a regular basis. Information on reporting abuse will be included in the Apprentice Induction programme and features in the online Safeguarding Module that all apprentices must complete at the outset of their programme. All apprentices will also undertake a Safeguarding refresher online module at the start of their second year at the club. LFE Regional Officers will discuss safeguarding at every progress review (max 12 week interval between reviews) for the duration of the apprenticeship and liaise with the club DSO. Any safeguarding concerns/issues brought to the attention of LFE staff will be treated seriously, acted upon and referred through the appropriate investigation channels.

The LFE DSO sits on the Affiliated Football Safeguarding Forum, which has representation from The FA, The Premier League, The EFL and its partners the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), The Football Foundation, The League Managers Association and representation from the NSPCC – Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU). The Football Safeguarding Forum seek to provide a strategic approach across all of football and share best practice.

The FA has a dedicated NSPCC helpline for adults who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood within the football industry. The free, independent helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.

Referrals of concerns about recent and non-recent abuse should continue to be made directly via the designated persons’ network in football (club DSO), or directly to The FA’s safeguarding team via [email protected] and a safeguarding professional from the team will make contact.

All apprentices will become members of The PFA, which provides all members with a 24/7 counselling telephone helpline. This ‘round-the-clock’ support is available to all members past and present. In addition, PFA members can access a nation-wide network of qualified counsellors.

In partnership with Achievement in Mind (AIM) The PFA also provide an online Safety Net to support academy players during their journey through the phases of development (U9 – U16). Players and parents/guardians/carers) are free to access this service 24/7.