Posts in Respect in Sport

It's Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

It’s Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

December 9th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

Source: Sports Illustrated:MICHAEL ROSENBERG

 

The NHL has a problem, and it’s not just that Bill Peters used the n-word with an African-born player, or that Mike Babcock apparently accosted a player to the point of a nervous breakdown, or that Marc Crawford has been accused of assaulting at least three players. It’s that they thought they could get away with all that—and for a long time, they did.

Hockey’s culture, endearing in so many ways, has some real shortfalls. For decades, coaches’ ideal player had soft hands, fast feet, a powerful shot and no vocal cords. Players are told to fall in line early and almost always do. No matter how much money they make or how famous they are, players just seem to want to play hockey. It’s charming. But coaches know they can take advantage, and teams become autocracies.

“What you hear is, ‘All those hockey guys are such nice guys, they’re so nice to work with,’” former NHL forward Sheldon Kennedy said. “You hear that all the time. And the players are good, most of the coaches are good people. [But] it’s not a player-empowered league. It is very authoritative, dominant. Even the star players in hockey don’t really have a voice … the big stars don’t speak up like they do in other leagues.”

Kennedy only played 310 games in the NHL, but he understands the sport’s cultural problem as well as anybody. In the 1990s, he publicly accused his junior-league coach Graham James of sexual abuse. James was convicted. For the last 16 years, Kennedy’s company the Respect Group has trained 1.3 million people in workplace and sporting conduct.

 

Kennedy is clear: “It’s not just a hockey issue.” But hockey is especially vulnerable. From the moment teen stars leave home to play junior hockey, they are told, “Make sure you listen to your coach.” The idea that authority figures know better than they do is instilled early and often. You can draw a line from Players’ Association head Alan Eagleson defrauding players to the current crisis.

The coaches in the news lately are not just any coaches. Babcock won the Stanley Cup once, nearly won it two other times, then signed the richest coaching contract in NHL history, with the league’s flagship team. Former Red Wing Johan Franzen, who has a history of concussions and depression, says Babcock verbally assaulted him to the point where he didn’t want to go to the rink.

Crawford also won the Cup. He has been accused of kicking and choking players.

Peters used the n-word in anger toward player Akim Aliu a decade ago, when Aliu played for Peters with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs. Peters says he apologized in front of the entire team —which, if true, would mean the whole team knew about it. Yet Peters got two NHL coaching jobs after that.

Imagine seeing these kinds of headlines about Steve Kerr. Or Sean McVay. Or Joe Maddon.

The NHL can change, but only if commissioner Gary Bettman wants it to change—and early indications are that he does. He met with Aliu, who said they had “a great discussion.” And last week, NHL executive vice president Kim Davis reached out to Kennedy. They are supposed to talk this week.

 

Davis should ask Kennedy the same question I asked him:

When it comes to educating people about these issues, does the NHL trail youth hockey?

Kennedy’s response: “Absolutely.”

It is a strange phenomenon. In most sports, players have the most power when they are professionals. But hockey still clings to the archetype of the domineering coach. Most players fear losing ice time or getting sent down to the minors, and established stars don’t want to look like divas. You can see where players who want to speak up often feel trapped.

The Respect Group’s Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program, is mandatory for all coaches by Hockey Canada and all host families in the Canadian Hockey Legaue. More than 300,000 people have been certified. Hockey Canada requires one parent or care-giver of every youth player to complete the Respect in Sport Parent Program. Yet Kennedy says, “I’ve done nothing, ever with the NHL.”

Maybe Davis and Bettman will change that. This is not just about the coaches who have been named. Professional environments should have certain standards. Somebody has to implement them.

“They just need to get on board,” Kennedy said. “They need to support the good work that is happening in grassroots hockey … the sexual-abuse stuff has made the headlines for all these years. But the reality is, we’ve known the emotional and physical abuse and verbal abuse doesn’t make the headlines, but it’s probably more prevalent.”

 

Bettman is meeting with the league’s Board of Governors this week. He has declined to talk until after that meeting. He and the board should realize they have two options here. They can worry about damage control, or they can root out the problem and start fixing it. Kennedy says, “What I know about this stuff is when we have good leadership within an organization, or a team, this stuff doesn’t happen.” That applies to leagues, too.

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

December 2nd, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Calgary Herald:

SAMMY HUDES

 

As the Calgary Flames investigate allegations of racism and physical force by head coach Bill Peters toward former players, some say changes are desperately needed in order to foster a more inclusive environment in hockey from the grassroots to professional levels.

The allegations began surfacing Monday when former Flames forward Akim Aliu wrote on social media that Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room” while both were in the minors during the 2009-10 season.

Former Carolina Hurricanes player Michal Jordan later alleged that Peters kicked him and punched another player “to the head” during a game. Peters coached the Hurricanes prior to joining the Flames.

The allegations of racial slurs came as no surprise to Cecil Harris, who in 2003 wrote a book on racism in the sport titled, “Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey.”

“Only the names have changed, unfortunately, because the same racial intolerance exists,” said Harris, who is based in New York.

Throughout his research, he said he spoke to many black players who described having “buried” racist experiences in order to advance their hockey careers, including former Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

“Iginla shared a story with me. It’s something that happened when he was 15 years old. He was chased by some people and racial slurs were uttered,” said Harris, adding Aliu was “right in believing that he would have been blamed” had he come forward with his allegations against Peters sooner.

“The onus would be put on him and he would be attacked and he wouldn’t be able to progress in the sport.”

In Canada, more than 50 sport organizations across the country have partnered with the Respect Group, which strives to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sports.

Co-founder Wayne McNeil said games like hockey are changing as new Canadians continue to fuel population growth across Canada.

“Have they been slow? Maybe we’ve all been slow across all sports to really come up with the best approach to getting new Canadians involved,” he said.

“We need to come up with the right messaging and scheduling and levels of play that are going to make it really exciting for new Canadians to be part of it.”

McNeil said the group tries to prepare coaches with the tools needed to handle their behaviour, especially in high-emotion circumstances.

“The emotional levels that people feel — be it coaches, be it parents — in a sport, they get elevated to a level that you don’t typically see in a workplace, or that you even encounter when you’re in a school environment,” he said.

“You look at a lot of the things that happen. They’re quick responses to high emotional moments often followed by apologies because people realize ‘oh my god, I don’t typically act like that.’”

He said coaches need to “understand their legal and moral duty of care,” while remembering that their goal is to build self-esteem in participants.

In a statement, the Coaching Association of Canada said “inclusion must be a foundational pillar of our sport system” and that it continues to educate coaches, administrators, and volunteers on the most “constructive ways to build inclusive and respectful sport experiences.”

Andrea Carey, director of operations and special projects with Sport for Life, said issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at the grassroots level are “rapidly changing right now.”

Carey said the organization trains those in the sporting community to create inclusive environments, with a focus on creating opportunities for Indigenous people and newcomers, people with disabilities, women and girls.

Akim Aliu skates with the Calgary Flames during his time with the team in April 2012. LORRAINE HJALTE / CALGARY HERALD

She said there’s still a huge gap in terms of staff, volunteers, parents and players being fully prepared to ensure a welcoming culture at all times.

“In many cases, they don’t know what they don’t know. They might think they know about, let’s say racism. They think they know what issues are around racism,” said Carey.

“But if you dive deeper, often they really don’t know because they maybe haven’t had the opportunity to work with someone with lived experience that can share that story and bring those topics to light.”

That still needs to be tackled from the top-down, according to Harris, who noted that while “outstanding players” of colour like Iginla or Edmonton Oilers great Grant Fuhr found acceptance at hockey’s highest level, “marginal” players have a harder time than white athletes of the same calibre.

He said more diversity is needed among hockey’s most influential decision-makers.

“It’s business as usual if the overwhelming majority of coaches, assistant coaches and general managers are white. I think the black player who is subjected to racial slurs will be told ‘just forget about.’ They cut deep if those words are uttered to you,” he said.

“If there was more diversity and inclusion … I think that would send a strong message to all players: respect everybody regardless of their background, get racism out of the sport. It doesn’t belong here. It’s vile.”

shudes@postmedia.com
Twitter: @SammyHudes

Canadian universities failing to protect athletes from abusive coaches, students say

Canadian universities failing to protect athletes from abusive coaches, students say

November 25th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE:

Laura Kane – The Canadian Press

By

The Canadian Press

 –

VANCOUVER — Meredith Goldhawk has loved hockey since she was four.

But she says since a coach at the University of Windsor harassed and bullied her, she can’t even bring herself to play a pickup game with friends.

“Some days I will just sit down and cry because she took so much away from me,” says the 22-year-old.

The athlete is among several across Canada who say universities are failing to protect players from abuse. Students in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia all say their schools mishandled serious complaints against coaches in recent years.

Their fight is part of a movement to end so-called “old-school” coaching techniques that experts say are abusive. But change is slow, they say, because coaches hold so much power over players and some mistakenly believe military-style training is key to winning.

Six hockey players, including Goldhawk, complained to the University of Windsor about coach Deanna Iwanicka in February. The athletes allege she humiliated them in front of others, belittled them with expletive-laden insults and kicked out some without cause.

The university hired an investigator but refused to provide the final report to complainants, instead sending a four-page summary that didn’t address all the allegations, say Goldhawk and fellow complainant Reagan Kaufman.

The summary says the investigator found the allegations were unsubstantiated. For the most part, Iwanicka was “direct, clear and professional,” though it was “inappropriate and disrespectful” to tell Goldhawk and Kaufman they were being cut by phone, it says.

“It’s definitely not right,” says Kaufman. “If they had been there for everything we went through, she definitely wouldn’t still be coaching.”

The school says it can’t comment on personnel matters and Iwanicka, who is still head coach of the women’s team, didn’t respond to calls and emails requesting comment.

Margery Holman, a retired kinesiology professor who helped the University of Windsor players file their complaints, says post-secondary institutions lack courage.

“Often it’s a ‘he said, she said’ and we lean in the direction of the person in power because they have more at stake,” she says. “We’re not going to fire a coach, no matter the preponderance of evidence, if we can’t prove it.”

She adds coaches have unique power over athletes’ futures, determining whether a player is a starter or a bench warmer and influencing scholarships and other opportunities.

At the University of Lethbridge, an investigator found in July 2018 that women’s hockey coach Michelle Janus had violated its harassment policy. The school required her to undergo counselling and additional training and it also started developing a coaches’ code of conduct.

But the six players who had filed complaints had called for Janus to be fired or suspended. In August 2018, four of the complainants launched a lawsuit against the university, Janus and athletics director Ken McInnes seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit alleges Janus bullied players, insulted them as “pathetic” and “useless” while using expletives, threw water bottles, broke equipment, punched doors and participated in a “fine jar” that charged fees to players for their sexual history or personal lives.

It also accuses Janus and McInnes of requiring players to vote on whether to allow a teammate who had attempted suicide to return to the team.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. The university, Janus and McInnes deny all the allegations in a joint statement of defence and say the lawsuit should be struck as it is “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious.”

Janus left her position at the university in January.

Complainants Alannah Jensen, Brittney Sawyer and Chelsea Kasprick all say they’re still suffering psychological and emotional impacts. Kasprick alleges Janus forced her to play five weeks after shoulder surgery, potentially causing permanent damage.

“I put so much on the line for this coach who had all the power and control and abused me and secluded me and isolated me from all my teammates,” Kasprick says.

Janus, the university and a lawyer representing the defendants declined comment as the matter is before the court. McInnes did not reply to a request for comment.

Last week, the University of Victoria wrapped an appeal process after three athletes and an assistant coach filed complaints accusing women’s rowing coach Barney Williams of verbal abuse and harassment.

The three rowers say the university threatened them with disciplinary action if they speak about the results of the investigation.

Lily Copeland is one of the complainants and has alleged Williams criticized her weight and appearance and yelled at her in a small, locked room.

Williams has said respects the confidentiality of the university probe and couldn’t provide a detailed response until it wrapped up. He didn’t respond to requests for comment after the investigation concluded.

He says he regards coaching as a privilege, and he encourages athletes to become their best version of themselves. Other athletes on the team credit Williams with their success.

The university has said privacy legislation and its own confidentiality policies apply to all investigations.

Jennifer Walinga, a Royal Roads University professor and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in rowing, says her research has shown that humiliating or neglecting athletes typically leads to worse performances.

“You can still win and be broken,” she notes. “But you can achieve greater heights, win more gold medals and for longer periods of time with a values-based approach to coaching.”

That approach includes supporting athletes’ mental health as well as their physical health, Walinga explains.

But she says the coaching style that is similar to combat training, involving hurling insults and swearing at athletes, still exists because our society tends to glorify people who can endure abuse.

“In society, it’s a naivete or an ignorance about what sport actually involves,” she says. “Sport is not war. It’s not a battle at all.”

There is a growing campaign to rid Canadian sports of abuse and harassment.

More than 700 national-team athletes responded to a survey by the group AthletesCan about mistreatment. Seventeen per cent reported psychological injuries, 15 per cent experienced neglect and four per cent suffered sexual harm.

The federal government has brought in a series of initiatives, including establishing new policy for national sports organizations, funding the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre to create an investigation unit and setting up a toll-free confidential tip line.

It’s crucial to encourage young people to remain enrolled in sports, says Carolyn Trono, a director with the non-profit group Sport for Life Society.

“If the place that you are going to voluntarily isn’t positive, why would you stay?”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2019.

ATHLETICS ONTARIO JOINS THE MOVEMENT WITH RESPECT GROUP INC., safe sport, sport, training, coaching, coach training canada

ATHLETICS ONTARIO JOINS THE MOVEMENT WITH RESPECT GROUP INC.

November 25th, 2019 Respect in Sport

Athletics Ontario Joins the Movement with Respect Group Inc.

November 22, 2019

TORONTO – Athletics Ontario (AO) announced today that it will become Respect Certified. Athletics Ontario has joined the movement with Respect Group, a forward-thinking organization founded by former NHLer turned victims’ rights crusader Sheldon Kennedy to deliver training to equip employees with the education and skills needed to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in the workplace.

“Programs are one thing, making them a requirement for all members of the organization is about leadership and accountability,” said Sheldon Kennedy, Co-Founder of Respect Group. “Congratulations to Athletics Ontario for moving how we treat one another from the Policy category to the Priority category!”

In our revised Membership Policy, we will be requiring that all Coaches complete the Respect Group’s program “Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders,” before completing their renewal on Trackie.

“This is another very positive step forward in Athletics Ontario’s commitment to improve governance, accountability and safety across the entire sport, and we are proud to be partnering with the Respect Group” said Dean Hustwick, President and Chair of AO.

 

Please learn more about, and register for, the program here: https://athletics-canada-al.respectgroupinc.com/

Review the Membership policy for additional details here: https://athleticsontario.ca/about/policies-and-governance/

 

About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group (respectgroupinc.com) was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Respect Group is made up of a team of over 30 talented individuals whose passion is to create a global culture of Respect. As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (bcorporation.net).

Saskatchewan Leading The Way With Safe Sport Campaign

October 8th, 2019 Activity Leaders, Respect in Sport, Uncategorised

Released on October 7, 2019

The Government of Saskatchewan and Sask Sport Inc., have teamed up to launch a joint marketing campaign to increase awareness on the tools and resources available to assist coaches, athletes and parents on bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport.

“Ensuring a healthy, safe and respectful environment for all participants in amateur sport across our province is a priority,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said. “Thanks to the dedication of Sask Sport and the provincial sport organizations, coaches, parents and athletes, this campaign compliments the hard work already underway.”

The marketing campaign will increase awareness and use of important resources, contacts and training available online, such as the Respect Resource Line. Expert staff provide information, bilingual support, resources and referrals pertaining to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport by phone, text or email.

This confidential and anonymous resource is intended to assist coaches, athletes and parents in determining the most appropriate course of action. This campaign would not be possible without Sask Sport and their members, considered leaders across Canada with their dispute resolution policies, services and tools. Sask Sport includes the Respect Resource Line and the Respect in Sport online training programs for coaches and activity leaders.

“Sask Sport thanks the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, our member organizations and the many partners who have actively worked with us over the past 20 years to provide good governance practices and policies that reduce the risk of conflicts and disputes in sport,” Sask Sport Inc. volunteer Board Chair Kenric Exner said. “This effort has created a strong foundation for helping to prevent, identify and effectively deal with bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, and we are eager to share the important resources and information in order to continue to help keep sport safe, healthy and fun in Saskatchewan.”

“We are so proud of our partnership with the Government of Saskatchewan and Sask Sport,” Respect Group Co-Founder Sheldon Kennedy said. “Training programs are only successful when organizations make them a priority. Kudos to Sask Sport and the sport leaders they serve.”

In addition, the campaign supports Sask Sport and their members in the promotion of resources to ensure more coaches are trained in current safe sport best practices.

For more information on the various sport resources, contacts and training, visit http://www.sasksport.sk.ca/safesport/.

-30-

For more information, contact:

Jamie Toth
Parks, Culture and Sport
Regina
Phone: 306-787-3506
Email: jamie.toth@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-8152

Leah Laxdal
Sask Sport Inc.
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-975-0871
Email: llaxdal@sasksport.sk.ca

Soccer Quebec, Respect Group, Harassment, Keeping girls in sport, coach training, responsible coaching, abuse prevention sport, coach abuse

Soccer Québec – Scholarship For Female Soccer Development

September 13th, 2019 Activity Leaders, Respect et sport pour leaders d’activité, Respect in Sport

The Soccer Québec / Respect in Sport scholarship program increases the number of women who will follow the various licenses and / or internships to improve their knowledge and then hope to climb the ladder in the world of Québec soccer.

The scholarship program will have three different components. The first will be the community component (for educators who will follow their S2, S3, S7). The second component will be the performance component (C, B and A license) and then the third will be the development component (children’s license and youth license).

The selection process will be done in three steps:

The first step will be registration via the following application form: https://form.jotform.com/92303674915258

The form can be completed by the candidate herself, or by a representative of her club / region.

The second step will be done once the applications are received. Registered candidates will receive a second form, which they will complete themselves. This form will focus on the candidates’ objectives and available tools.

The third step will be to determine the scholarship recipients. This step will be through an interview, in person, or by video conference, to better know the candidate and its objectives in soccer.

To register, candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Has been training for at least two seasons
• Commits to continue coaching for two more seasons
• Affiliated in a club, or as a coach in regional programs
• Answer prerequisites

The prerequisites for the different licenses are:
• For S1, S2, S3, S7: Monitor for at least 2 seasons
• For Lic C: Theory A + Theory B
• For ESP (DEP): Lic C
• For Children’s License: Theory A + Theory B + Lic C
• For Juvenile License: Theory A + Theory B + Lic C

The successful candidates will be announced at the Gala de la Mi-Temps on November 23-24.

For more information, please contact Julie Casselman at the following email address: jcasselman@soccerquebec.org.

Respect Group: Canada’s Leading Safe Sport Solution

September 4th, 2019 Respect in Sport

The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/Coach Program educates youth leaders, coaches, officials and participants (14-years and up) to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Our Activity Leader and Parent Programs are Canada’s leading Safe Sport Solution!

 

Over 1.2 Million Canadians have Joined the Movement with Respect Group to create #SafeSport, Safer Workplaces, and Safer Schools!

Respect Group: Canada's Leading Safe Sport Solution, #safesport, safe sport, canada sport, coach training, safe sport training, abuse prevention training canada, coach training abuse, safer sport, safe activities, prevent abuse, athletesCAN

 

 

Our brand new Activity Leader program will give your coaches, activity leaders and volunteers the tools they need to keep sport and activity safe and fun for everyone. Learn more or inquire at: www.respectinsport.com

MORE THAN 1000 TOP CANADIAN ATHLETES INFORM PREVALENCE STUDY OF MALTREATMENT IN SPORT, safesport, respect group, sheldon kennedy, sport, coaching, safe sport canada, coach abuse, athlete abuse, abuse prevention, abuse prevention training

MORE THAN 1000 TOP CANADIAN ATHLETES INFORM PREVALENCE STUDY OF MALTREATMENT IN SPORT

May 8th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: AthletesCAN

OTTAWA (May 7, 2019) – AthletesCAN, in partnership with University of Toronto, is pleased release a detailed report of the Prevalence of Maltreatment among Current and Former National Team Athletes study.

The online, anonymous survey was developed by Gretchen Kerr, PhD, Erin Willson, B.KIN, and Ashley Stirling, PhD in collaboration with AthletesCAN, supported by the University of Toronto and the federal government, and distributed by AthletesCAN to current national team members as well as retired national team members who had left the sport within the past ten years.

“All Canadians have the right to participate in sport in an environment that is safe, welcoming, inclusive, ethical and respectful,” says Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport. “This study shows us that a systemic culture shift is required to eliminate maltreatment, including sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, neglect, harassment, bullying, exploitation and discrimination. I would like to thank AthletesCAN and the University of Toronto for working together on this study and providing us with the evidence we need to make well-informed decisions to make sport safer in Canada.”

“While recognizing the numerous potential benefits that sport participation has to offer, it is also important to acknowledge that for some athletes, sport is a harmful experience, characterized by various forms of maltreatment,” says Dr. Gretchen Kerr, University of Toronto Professor. “This study looked at all forms of maltreatment including sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, various types of harassment, bullying and hazing. Although most of the attention to-date has been focused on experiences of sexual abuse, the findings indicate that athletes experience psychological abuse and neglect to a far greater extent than other forms. Most troubling are that neglectful and psychologically harmful behaviours such as the use of demeaning, threatening or humiliating comments, and denying basic needs such as food, water, and safe training conditions, are accepted as normal practices in sport,” she adds. “We wouldn’t accept such behaviours in any other walk of life so why should athletes have to endure these?”

764 current national team athletes and 237 retired athletes, completed the survey of which 61% of which were female. Additional self-identified, underrepresented groups included 10% racialized athletes; 12% athletes with a disability; 2% Indigenous; and 7% LGBTQ2I+.

“We know that sport has the power to inspire a nation, to build leaders and to unite Canadians,” says Dasha Peregoudova, President of AthletesCAN. “That is why we are pushing hard for the necessary change to address abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport. For those who have listened, the athlete voice has been a dominant one on the issue of safe sport for generations. Advocacy work around this issue over the years has included both the disclosure and reporting of various forms of maltreatment; recommendations and demands for change; and knowledge-sharing about the practices that have worked and shaped athlete experiences positively,” she adds. “However, we have not seen one central, independent and research driven survey of the athlete perspective on the issue of safe sport in more than 20 years. That has now changed. A report based on concrete data, collected from over 1000 national team athletes, is undeniable. It will complement the athlete voice in driving change in an unparalleled way.”

The survey produced a number of key findings that will inform the national conversation around Canada’s ability to address not only abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport but all forms of maltreatment.

HARMFUL BEHAVIOURS

The percentage of the top harmful behaviours reported to be most frequently experienced by current and retired athletes include psychological (17%, 23%); neglect (15%, 22%); sexual (4%, 7%); and physical (3%, 5%).

Of the current and retired athletes’ who reported experiences of at least one harmful behaviour in each category of harm, the percentage of the top harmful behaviours were neglect (67%, 76%); psychological (59%, 62%); sexual (20%, 21%); and physical (12%, 19%).

“This study has provided a snapshot of the depth and breadth of harm athletes are experiencing while competing for our country,” says Erin Willson, Olympian. “It is evident that this issue goes beyond criminal conduct to a wide variety of behaviours that impact both the physical and mental well-being of athletes. We, as high performance athletes, are in a unique position to speak to the wide scope of normalized behaviours we have experienced from grassroots to elite sport, but we are only a small portion of recreational and competitive athletes in Canada. If we have experienced maltreatment throughout our sport pathway, this study then brings into question how many other athletes are experiencing harm that are not yet at this level, or have dropped out because of abusive experiences before making it onto a national team?”

DISCRIMINATION

The most commonly experienced form of discrimination was gender discrimination with female athletes feeling they had fewer opportunities, supports and resources to advance their sport careers. Furthermore, 22% of self-identified racialized athletes experienced discrimination based on race.

“Based on the data collected, we know that racial discrimination exists in sport,” says Neville Wright, 3-time Olympian and Safe Sport Working Group member. “Due to the lack of awareness and reporting, this is a topic that does not receive enough attention, nor is it adequately addressed through policy or education. The system needs more leaders that have the ability to relate, empathize and deal with this issue. We must promote the equitable treatment of all sport participants and need to ensure under-represented groups feel supported and free to train and compete in a sport environment free from discrimination. Education and sensitivity training is a key step to recognizing and addressing racism in sport and I am committed to supporting this positive change in the months to come.” MORE

Canadian soccer leaders unanimously support Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster, sheldon kennedy, respect in sport, safesport, soccer, abuse, coach abuse, athletes safe

Canadian soccer leaders unanimously support Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster

May 6th, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: Canada Soccer

Posted on 4 May 2019 in Canadian Soccer Association

 

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Members in Québec City, Canada Soccer’s membership unanimously supported a suite of programs and initiatives that contribute to safe, fun and welcoming environments for everyone involved in the game.

The Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster combines the benefits of mandatory certification for all coaches, a sophisticated Club Licensing Program, National Soccer Registry, Whistleblower Policy and Hotline, Code of Conduct and Ethics, and concussion protocols to create the best possible conditions for players, coaches, referees and administrators.

“The Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster represents the continuation of a long-term commitment to making our sport as safe and enjoyable as we possibly can for all our participants,” said Canada Soccer President Steven Reed. “We’re seeing an unprecedented movement in this country that’s affecting the entire sport system. For soccer, this is a good start, and we’re committed to working closely with our membership and all stakeholders to deliver on all the components of the Safe Sport Roster.”

At the heart of the Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster are mandatory certification requirements for every coach in the country. These include training appropriate for the age and stage of the players, specified courses offered through the Coaching Association of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program, online Respect in Sport training, and adopting the requirements of the Responsible Coaching Movement.

“This is a strong signal from the country’s soccer leaders that the safety, enjoyment and development of our athletes is paramount,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “It recognizes that there is more that needs to be done to ensure safe sport experiences for all participants, no matter the age, level of play or community. Making sport safer is more than just the right thing to do, it’s the only thing to do.”

“Minimum standards for coach training are absolutely essential to creating a safe environment for players,” said Jason deVos, Canada Soccer’s Director of Development. “We have a responsibility to ensure that investments are made by all member associations to help our coaches achieve those standards.”

Other initiatives include an expanded Club Licensing Program that provides a set of minimum standards for soccer experiences everywhere in the country, an education program to address abuse of referees, and a National Soccer Registry to track data related to player registration, development and safety.

Player safety is being further enhanced through nationwide implementation of concussion protocols.

“From my perspective as a pediatric neurologist, soccer in Canada has never been safer,” said Dr. Kevin Gordon, Member of Canada Soccer’s Sport Medicine Committee and a leading child neurologist. “Canada Soccer has put in place the gold standard for concussion protocols to prevent head injuries and to manage them as effectively as we can when they do occur.”

In addition to working with all member associations, Canada Soccer is committed to collaborating with other leading National and Multi-Sport Organizations towards making the entire sport system safer for all participants.

abuse, athlete abuse, Canada, Ontario, athletescan, olympic athletes Canada, respect, coach abuse, abuse free sport, safe sport, respect group, Sheldon Kennedy, parenting articles, making sport safer, keeping athletes safe

Canadian athletes want the lip service around safe sport to stop

May 1st, 2019 Respect in Sport

SOURCE: Devin Heroux · CBC Sports · 

The voices of some of Canada’s top athletes are growing louder when it comes to the issue of safe sport in the country: They’re tired of the talk and want action.

For the past two days at a building in downtown Toronto, Canadian Olympians, Paralympians and high-performance athletes from a number of sports have been speaking out, some for the first time, sharing their personal stories of abuse in sport.

But as much as the two-day safe sport summit has been about making a safe space for athletes to share their truth, there’s also a commitment to changing how safe sport policy is being created in Canada right now.

“There is a lot of hurt in this room,” bobsledder Kaillie Humphries said. “Coming together with other athletes to create change is so huge — because things need to change. As athletes, we need to feel safe.”

In January, Humphries told the CBC she has filed a harassment complaint with Bobsleigh Canada. In October, she announced she was stepping away from competition for a year, and admits now it is directly because of the harassment investigation.

Humphries is still awaiting the findings of an independent investigation into her case.

“My trust in the process and system is not great,” she said. “I’m seeing a lot of holes in the system in my own process that I’m falling through. And if I’m falling through them, there are others who are too.”

It’s been nearly three months since a CBC investigation revealed at least 222 coaches who were involved in amateur sport in Canada have been convicted of sexual offences in the past 20 years, involving more than 600 victims under the age of 18.

Since then, there have been a number of announcements from Canada’s sport minister, Kirsty Duncan, addressing ways to make sport safer for athletes, including a national, toll-free, confidential helpline for victims and witnesses of abuse in sport.

But Humphries, along with the dozens of other athletes in Toronto this week, feels as though they’ve been left out of the conversation.

“It has been one-sided until now,” Humphries said. “Athletes need a safe space to talk about this and provide input for change.”

That’s why AthletesCAN, the group representing Canada’s national team athletes, created its own national safe sport summit, taking place this week in Toronto. It is funded by the Canadian Olympic Committee, Deloitte, Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Respect Group.

“The frustrating part about this is it’s the first of its kind,” said AthletesCAN president Dasha Peregoudova. “We’ve been trying to put this together for a long time.”

Peregoudova said she hopes the two days of tough conversation will help empower athletes to continue to push for change and has created a safe space for people to talk about these issues.

“Sport integrity is at stake,” she said. “You can’t have a sport system without its key stakeholders. Those are the athletes. None of the other stakeholders — the organizations, the NSOs or other governing bodies  — don’t matter if there are no athletes.”

Athlete solidarity important part of process

Olympian Allison Forsyth, a former skier, has been the summit’s facilitator over the past couple of days. She knows all too well the horrifying reality of abuse in sport.

Forsyth said she was sexually abused by her coach, Bertrand Charest, in 1997 and 1998. For more than a year, she’s been speaking publicly about her abuse and her struggle with guilt, shame and anxiety as a result.

Charest was found guilty of 37 of the 57 sex-related charges he was facing and was eventually given a 12-year prison term. (Charest has been released from prison pending an appeal.)

Forsyth, now 40, said she was one of the athletes who came forward in 1998, when Alpine Canada first became aware of Charest’s sexual contact with several of his teenage athletes.

“I was told, ‘Do not say anything, because we would lose our sponsors,’ and it would end my career,” she said.

Forsyth said the problem still exists. She claims the funding models and self-serving interests of national sports organizations have helped silence athletes’ voices for years.

“The first thing that should have been called into action after the CBC report was an athlete summit,” Forsyth said. “We shouldn’t have had to do it ourselves. The fact that we had to self-organize is frustrating.”

Forsyth said so much of the policy being created is missing current athlete experiences and is not getting at the heart of what’s really happening in sporting environments across the country. But she said this week’s summit for athletes is giving her added motivation to keep pushing for change that reflects the actual realities of abuse athletes still face. MORE

 

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