It is up to a complainant to decide if they wish to proceed with a complaint. If a person is unsure what to do then they may consider the following options:
Consider what may occur if a complaint is made or not made.
If you are unsure of what to do and it is a minor concern, consider monitoring the situation to see if there is still a concern or whether it was just a misunderstanding or something minor that was said or done that can be forgiven under the circumstances.
Consider whether speaking to the person directly may help resolve the matter. If the person knows about the concerns, they may recognise the error of their ways and if it was a misunderstanding they may offer apology. In most cases it is only fair that the person is provided with an opportunity to understand any concerns and take steps to discuss and resolve the problem.
Mediation is where a club official or another person may act as a mediator between to two parties involved. For example: If a parent is having a problem with a coach or another parent, a meeting may be arranged between the two parties with a club official or an impartial person acting as mediator. This way the problem can be discussed and resolved politely in a managed setting.
The matter could be discussed with the MPIO, Secretary, President or another official of the club. This may provide the club an opportunity to monitor the situation and take any steps they deem appropriate. A club may request that a written complaint be lodged before they take any further action.
Complaint by a child
If you are making a complaint on behalf of a child, depending on the child’s age (particularly if the child is a teenager) and depending on the nature of the complaint, it may be beneficial to ask how they feel about you making a complaint or what they would prefer to happen. It is also a good idea to clarify any details with the child about what happened that involved them and discuss their concerns. This will also ensure that you have all of the facts before considering further steps. This is important particularly if you were not present and did not witness the occurrence yourself or if you are relying on second hand information from another person or via another source.
Where a complaint is made directly by a child to a coach, manager or club official then the complaint should be noted and reported to the club MPIO or an appropriate club official. A complaint by a child, whether verbal or in writing, should never be ignored or disregarded.
Reporting Child Abuse
Although club officials and others who work and volunteer in sport are not mandatory reporters, in the event that a child discloses an incident of child abuse or an incident that made them feel unsafe or where a child’s safety or welfare may be at risk, it is important that concerns relating to the safety and welfare of a child is passed onto Football NSW and/or the appropriate authorities. Refer to the information provided in relation to Mandatory Reporting and the Quick Reference Guide for child protection issues in sport. Reports of child abuse or neglect can also be reported to the NSW Family & Community Services Child Protection Hotline on phone 132 111 (24hr helpline). Visit the Family & Community Services website for further information.
An official complaint should be in writing and addressed to the Club Secretary. The person who signs the complaint must be able to be identified and be contactable. It is important to note that the person being complained about is entitled to be informed of the complaint and may be provided with a copy of the complaint and provided with an opportunity to respond to the allegations. An unsigned complaint, anonymous complaint or a rumour cannot be acted upon.
Clubs have a duty to respond to all complaints and follow appropriate complaint handling procedures. Clubs should always endeavour to act in the best interests of all parties involved and respond to a complaint as quickly and effectively as possible. Clubs should manage all complaints fairly and effectively.
Michelle Hanley, Football NSW State Member Protection Officer
- E: firstname.lastname@example.org
- P: (02) 8814 4402