The Safest League In England

Tootoot – the JPLs pledge to make our league the safest in the world
Junior Premier League kicks out abuse with safeguarding app Tootoot sport

• Over 11,000 young footballers given access to the anonymous reporting app
• The agreement comes after revelations of widespread historical child abuse in football
• Junior Premier League aspires to be the safest football league and sports organisation in the world

A new initiative hopes to tackle the issue of bullying in football, as over 11,000 young footballers across the country will be able to report concerns, abuse, and racism, as part of the Junior Premier League’s new agreement with Tootoot sport.

Over the past 18 months, football has been in the press for the wrong reasons and for reasons that could have been prevented and stopped earlier, if the necessary measures were in place to report issues.
Considering the above, the league has partnered with Tootoot Sport to ensure that every player in the Junior Premier League can voice a concern anonymously – however trivial it may seem – the young people of our league will be able to voice it.

This week all parents who have a son or daughter registered to the JPL will receive an email form Tootoot inviting them to complete their registration to be given free access to Tootoot’s award-winning anti-bullying and reporting app, where they can have anonymous and confidential conversations with child welfare staff at the Junior Premier League. A series of education workshops will also accompany the roll-out so players are confident on how to use the platform.

The announcement follows a number of serious historic accusations of child abuse in football, with many victims not speaking out about their ordeals until many years later, and a current lack of awareness about how to report any concerns. Analysis by the Junior Premier League identified that the majority of young players are not aware of their club’s Child Welfare Officer. The Junior Premier League and Tootoot want to encourage players to report all forms of inappropriate behaviour so that mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Launched in September 2015, Tootoot was conceived by CEO and co-founder Michael Brennan, following his experience of bullying and cyber-bullying while at school. The app has already been used by over a quarter of a million young people, across 650 UK schools. Whilst issues reported on Tootoot will continue to go through FA safeguarding procedures, it is hoped the confidential nature of the conversation will make players more confident to share their concerns, and remove any fears that they might risk their place in their team or club.

Martin Brock, Chairman at the Junior Premier League, said:
“Sport has many great ideas on how to tackle abuse and respect issues, but sadly most the safety procedures are designed by adults to protect adults. Tootoot allows us to put into the palm of each young player a mechanism for them to anonymously highlight any bad behaviour they encounter, and when necessary, immediately intervene.
“Sadly recent events in the news have highlighted that where young people are involved there will be a minority who will exhibit poor behaviour. Being the father of an autistic child, I see clearly how vulnerable children are and want to do everything I can to make sure that no child in the Junior Premier League is ever abused. No child should suffer and we will do whatever we can to make the Junior Premier League the safest place in the world for a kid to play football.”

Michael Brennan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Tootoot, said:
“We were all shocked to see the scale of the abuse in football, and together with the Junior Premier League, we are passionate that all children should be protected from abuse when playing the sport that they love.
“Since our launch in September 2015, Tootoot has already saved lives, helping over a quarter of a million children in schools and sports clubs across the UK. We look forward to working closely with the Junior Premier League to ensure that players confidently use the app to report their concerns, and action can be taken should an investigation or referral be required. All children should be given the protection and support they require to fulfil their potential.”

Why are we launching Tootoot sport?

Last season we attended lots of games and asked parents and players who their clubs Child Welfare Officer was; sadly we found that a large proportion of those asked, especially players, do not know who their Child Welfare Officer is, or what the process would be if they wanted to report anything.

This is why we felt it necessary to go further for the players within our league. We want to encourage the young people of our league to feel comfortable speaking up about all forms of inappropriate behaviour.

Your happiness and safety are our number one priority which is why we have worked hard to bring you a tool that makes it easier for you to speak up. That is why we are launching Tootoot sport this week and enabling all players the opportunity to access the platform.

What is Tootoot sport?
Tootoot sport is an anonymous messaging app that you can use, for free, to talk about anything; an issue you are experiencing within your club, your mental health, or something outside of JPL that you need to talk about. Your messages will be received by nominated Child Welfare Staff within the JPL, who will respond and work to find a resolution for you.

This is not designed to replace your club Child Welfare Officer, it is just an extra resource that allows players especially to be able to report anything anonymously, without fear, and to receive support as and when necessary. We will be working with clubs CWOs on any and all cases so there will be a fantastic level of support offered to clubs, parents and players.

What would you use Tootoot sport for?

These are just a few examples of things you might use Tootoot sport for:

• You have recently relocated and are feeling a bit isolated not knowing the area
• You are not happy about something that’s happening in your team or club
• You are not happy at another team/coach/supporters behaviour at a match
• You are concerned about another player’s wellbeing/health
• You are being bullied/abused

This week all parents who have a son or daughter registered to the JPL will receive an email form Tootoot inviting them to complete their registration as we continue to raise the standards in grassroots football.

Please do take a moment to watch this video (click here) which explains a little more about Tootoot Sport

If you have any queries on this, please feel free to contact the league welfare team on:

cwo@junior-premier.co.uk / childwelfae@junior-premier.co.uk

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