Papua New Guinea
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OFC creating a safer football future

It is reported that on average, 77 percent of children in the Pacific experience physical violence (Source: UNICEF) while 2 out of three Pacific women are impacted by gender-based violence.

OFC is committed to working towards a safer and inclusive future in football having already seen a positive impact from their integrated safeguarding programme.

The implementation of safeguarding to OFC elite referee’s training course and OFC U19 Women’s Championship this year has meant that nearly 200 players, coaches, managers, and referees are now educated on knowing the signs of abuse and how to report it.

READ MORE: OFC Referees Benefits from Safeguarding Workshop

The OFC Women’s U19 Championship in Fiji was a significant milestone for the safeguarding initiatives. For the first time, all teams travelling to the tournament were required to include a Team Safeguarding Welfare Officer (TSWO) as part of their delegation.

This clause, inspired by FIFA’s competition regulations, ensures that safeguarding practices were upheld during the tournament.

TSWOs attended a pre-tournament workshop including a competition safeguarding briefing presented by FIFA WWC Safeguarding Manager Katie Hodges.

Fiji Football Association Safeguarding Lead, Filomena Liku highlights the need for such practices to be in place.

“The Safeguarding workshop during the U19s is so important because it helps players and officials know that they are protected while on and off the field. It helps protect them from abuse, harm, neglect and especially their safety on the field. It also enlightens them of the trusted person they can talk to when things happen and the right steps to follow when reporting matters,” Liku said.

Additionally, each team attended Safeguarding briefings presented by OFC Safeguarding Lead Ali Osborne and Filomena Liku who have completed the FIFA Guardians essential course.

“This new competition regulation adds to a growing series of safeguarding initiatives OFC have introduced this year in an effort to ensure football is a safe environment for all involved at all levels of the game. It’s the first step towards providing clear reporting processes and mechanisms for all involved at tournaments and educating players on where they can report and how to get further support if needed.” Osbourne said.

Furthermore, OFC has extended its reach through a partnership with “It’s a Penalty.” This collaboration aims to amplify the messaging of the #KeepKidsSafe campaign by leveraging the power of football and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to raise awareness of child abuse and exploitation.

The campaign features five international soccer stars and role models competing in the Women’s World Cup, including Australian players Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams, as well as New Zealand’s Fern Ria Percival, Brazil’s Rafaelle Souza and England Lioness Mary Earps.

The campaign provides resources to parents, sports institutions, coaches, and fans, encouraging them to actively contribute to the protection of children and to report suspected abuse or exploitation.

#KeepKidsSafe can be found in airports across New Zealand and Australia, and on international flights operated by Air New Zealand, Emirates, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific.

You can show your support by sharing messages and the hashtag #KeepKidsSafe.