Club Welfare

Recognising Abuse or Bullying

This is just a guide on how to recognise some forms of bullying or abusive behaviour – it is not a comprehensive list.

Abuse can take many forms, involving either direct harm or by failing to prevent harm. Often the abuser is a person known and trusted by the child or vulnerable adult, however abuse may also be performed by another child or peer.

Remember that it is not down to us to decide if abuse is taking place, but it is our responsibility to report it if we think it may be taking place.

Here are some key indicators that should alert us to a child or vulnerable adult who may be being physically or sexually abused –

  • Unexplained bruising or injuries.
  • Inadequately treated injuries.
  • Sexually explicit action or language.
  • Changes in mood or behaviour, or showing withdrawal.
  • Changes in weight, self-esteem or appearance (ie dirty or dishevelled).
  • Always hungry, perhaps scavenging or stealing food .
  • Frequently tired, distant or unable to listen or concentrate.
  • No or very few friends
  • Out of character aggression, temper or poor discipline.
  • Sudden speech problems.
  • Use of alcohol, drugs or non-prescribed medication.

Children or vulnerable adults may be subject to one or more types of abuse, here are just some examples of abuse types  –

  • Neglect
    Failing to be provided with basic physical and/or psychological needs.  This may range from the abused person not being provided with adequate food, shelter or clothing for the activity; or being left alone or unsupervised; or failing to provide medical care and attention; or deliberately withholding appropriate affection and attention.
  • Physical
    Causing physical harm or injury through any form of deliberate harm, and/or providing inappropriate drugs or alcohol.
  • Sexual
    Some individuals directly target sports activities in order to gain access to, and sexually abuse, children or vulnerable adults. This may include using sporting activities in order to take inappropriate photographs or videos of sportspeople (including children, disabled participants and vulnerable adults) in vulnerable positions.
  • Emotional
    This type of abuse can take several forms it may include making the child feel unloved, inadequate, frighten or feel in danger. Being over-protective and not allowing the child to develop, or conversely by imposing unrealistically high expectations.
  • Bullying
    Bullying is a hurtful behaviour that is often repeated over a period of time. It can be verbal, written or physical it includes such actions as
    – Physical assaults
    – Name calling, sarcasm and racist taunts.
    – Threats and gestures
    – Unwanted physical contact
    – Being ostracised or ignored

    Bullying can also occur over the internet through blogging, emails and social media sites as well as via mobile phones and SMS texting.

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