Cymru footballers and Welsh Government team up to tackle online sexual harassment

By A Reporter   |   IOM Reporter   |
Friday 15th July 2022 11:01 pm
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Welsh international Joe Allen said: “It has been shocking to hear how many young girls and women are experiencing online sexual harassment” (Welsh Gov )

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The Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Government have launched a new video, featuring several Cymru players (including Pembrokeshire’s Joe Allen) that aims to help tackle the issue of online sexual harassment.

The thought-provoking video, ‘Calling Out: Online Sexual Harassment’, reveals conversations between Cymru international footballers Joe Allen, Lily Woodham, Esther Morgan and Joe Morrell, encouraging young people to speak up about sexual harassment online and the importance of both boys and men calling out the behaviour.

The film promotes a culture of equality and respect, with further advice for families, children and educators available on Hwb, the digital teaching and learning platform for schools in Wales.

The video is one of a series of three from the FAW which will be published across Hwb, with conversations covering the topics of online misogyny, the importance of challenging attitudes and safely reporting inappropriate behaviour.

The FAW have previously worked with the Welsh Government on raising awareness and addressing other social issues, including launching unique educational resources and a powerful film with the Senior Cymru Women’s team tackling online misogyny.

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, recently visited Porth Community School, where he joined pupils for a lesson on tackling the problem of online sexual harassment and where the new video was first viewed by pupils and school staff.

Jeremy Miles said: “Online sexual harassment has become an increasingly common and challenging issue and one that can have a huge impact on people subjected to it.

“The new video will equip our education practitioners with the tools to support important conversations with young people about the seriousness of the issue - what it looks like, how to report inappropriate behaviour and how to get further advice, via our Hwb platform for schools.

“Our Welsh international footballers, with their unprecedented success on the field, are such strong role models for children and young people, so it’s fantastic to have them leading by example in speaking up about this issue.”

FAW Safeguarding and Player Welfare Manager, Sian Jones, said: “It is brilliant to see our Cymru male and female players coming together and using their platform to discuss this important issue.

“The FAW is committed to ensuring that young people are safe on and off the pitch and working with our players in their capacity as role models and key partners, such as Welsh Government, is critical in helping us achieve this.

“We want children and young people to feel comfortable to talk about matters such as online sexual harassment and know how to seek further support if needed.”

Welsh international Joe Allen, who was raised in Narberth and started playing football in Tenby, and recently re-signed for Swansea City AFC said: “It has been shocking to hear how many young girls and women are experiencing online sexual harassment. It has really shown that there is a need for more education on both the topic and scale of things.

“There is so much work to be done to put an end to this behaviour, but I hope that the conversations between myself and my Cymru teammates will encourage people to call out this behaviour and for those who may be suffering it, as tough as it may be, reporting it is vital,” added Joe, a former pupil of Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych.

The Welsh Government has worked with Childnet International to publish age-appropriate learning materials to address online sexual harassment, ‘Just a joke?’, for 9-12 year olds, and ‘Step up, speak up’, for the 13-17 year age group.

A training package is being developed to help teachers increase their confidence in addressing the issue.

Children and young people can also get advice about online sexual harassment, including what it looks like, how to report this behaviour and how to get help in the ‘Online issues and worries’ area of Hwb. The advice published in March was co-designed with children and young people and has been shaped by Welsh Government research into their online experiences and worries and some of the barriers to getting help.

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