Safeguarding Adults

Learn about safeguarding adults in football.

Safeguarding adults can be complex. The rights of the adult to self-determination and to be involved in decisions about their lives needs to be balanced against risks, such as the need to keep others safe.

disability football

The FA Safeguarding Adults Course

An introduction to safeguarding adults in disability football.


Click here to view all FA policies and procedures related to safeguarding.

‘Safeguarding adults’ means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

In open-age adult disability football ‘safeguarding adults’ means creating safe environments and responding when an adult is at risk.

This includes:

  • Adopting best practice and creating an inclusive, safe and positive environment;
  • Ensuring coaches and others in positions of power understand their responsibilities and respect clear boundaries in relationships;
  • Ensuring everyone knows how and when to report concerns about an adult at risk;
  • Swift and appropriate action when an adult might be at risk;
  • Whistle-blowing if a safeguarding concern is not properly addressed.

The categories of abuse are:

  • Self-neglect (not looking after personal hygiene, health or surroundings or hoarding).
  • Domestic abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse). 
  • Discriminatory abuse (due to race, gender or disability or any of the other protected characteristics of the Equality Act, 2010).
  • Organisational abuse (including neglect or poor practice in a care setting).
  • Physical abuse (includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions).
  • Sexual abuse (includes sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and rape).
  • Financial or material abuse (including theft, fraud, internet scamming or coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements).
  • Neglect (including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of medication, food or heating).
  • Emotional (could include: threats of harm or abandonment, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks).
  • Modern slavery (slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude).
  • Bullying (the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power).

Initial reports will normally be to the Club Welfare Officer (Adult Disability Teams) unless they are suspected of being involved in the concern. If this happens the report should be made directly to the Derbyshire FA's Designated Safeguarding Officer, Jenny Blewitt, at or 07507 427548.

Even if the adult does not want action taken, the concern must still be shared as no volunteer or staff member should hold back information that might mean an adult is at risk.

Holding back information could mean that poor practice or abuse continues or gets worse. Keeping information private puts unfair pressure on volunteers and encourages a culture of secrets.

After receiving a report, the Club Welfare Officer (Adult Disability Teams) will involve the adult to establish their views and involve them in the next steps (assuming it is safe to do so).

If a disclosure is made:

  • Find a quiet place to talk;
  • Be patient, listen carefully and stay calm;
  • Allow enough time for the person to communicate fully;
  • Be clear with them that they have a right to be safe;
  • Ask the adult what they would like to happen and reassure them that their views and wishes will be taken into account;
  • Explain the information must be passed on to the CWO (Adult Disability Teams) – assuming they’re not implicated.

    But please avoid:

  • Asking lots of questions;
  • Beginning investigations or touching any evidence;
  • Deleting any messages or pictures;
  • Putting anyone at risk by the actions you take.

If you are worried about an adult don’t keep concerns to yourself.

Depending on your relationship with the person and how serious your concerns are, see if the person would like to talk to you or the Club Welfare Officer (Adult Disability Teams).

It is best practice, when safe to do so, to discuss any safeguarding concerns with the adult to establish their views and the expression ‘nothing about me without me’ is a useful one to remember.

The Club Welfare Officer or the Derbyshire FA's Designated Safeguarding Officer, Jenny Blewitt, at or 07507 427548.

If you are concerned that an adult may be experiencing, or be at risk of, abuse or neglect please telephone 999 in an emergency, or contact Call Derbyshire at 01629 533190.

If you're worried about yourself or someone else being abused or neglected, please contact Call Derbyshire, tel: 01629 533190. 

Out of Hours Service

Outside of these times an emergency out of hours service for adult care is available from 5pm to 9am on Monday to Friday and 24 hours a day during weekends and public holidays.

This is an emergency service available for the public and agencies to access a range of social care staff for adults or children in need of social care.

Tel: 01629 532600.

General Enquiries

For general non-urgent requests for advice and support you can contact Call Derbyshire by email, text, fax or minicom. This should not be used for Safeguarding concerns or reporting abuse.

If something is – or might be – abuse, the Club Welfare Officer (Adult Disability Teams) must report this to the CFA DSO within 24 hours.

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