Posts in Respect Tools & Tips

Promoting Psychological Safety & Well-Being in Changing Learning Environments

January 22nd, 2021 Respect Tools & Tips

Promoting Psychological Safety & Well-Being in Changing Learning Environments: Advice for Educators

 

September 2020 was anything but a normal return to school for educators, students, and parents. From switching to virtual environments, making changes to classrooms, and adapting both curriculums and learning expectations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to new challenges for all. As we navigate these changes, positive school leadership is more important now than ever. The checklist below, adapted from one of the handouts from the Respect in School program, can help educators recognize the tangible actions they can take to build positive school leadership in their new learning environments.

 

Positive School Leadership Checklist:

 

  • All students are treated with respect
  • Students are praised for participating, and new ways of participation (ex. virtual, in small groups, etc.) are recognized and encouraged 
  • Educators give both themselves and their students time to adjust to changing learning environments and new expectations 
  • Educators seek to identify positives and recognize them among their students 
  • Educators remind students not to set unrealistic expectations or put excessive pressure on themselves, particularly in the face of new challenges and adversity 
  • Educators encourage laughter and a sense of humour 
  • Educators stay calm when students make mistakes 
  • Educators quietly and privately correct students’ mistakes 
  • Educators are role models of good leadership, particularly by following public health guidelines and supporting students in doing the same
  • Educators encourage students to treat classmates and other school leaders with respect, fairness, compassion and understanding, leading by example 
  • Educators encourage students to support one another, through both achievements and challenges 

 

More tips and information on how to support educators and children’s mental health and psychological safety during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below, through the resources from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Anxiety Canada: 

 

Additional Tips For Working From Home

Our Tips For Working From Home

January 6th, 2021 Respect Tools & Tips

Working from home: 6 tips for employees

1.Take control of the flexibility

Embrace the opportunities of an unstructured day but make sure to stick to a schedule that will keep you accountable and successful. 

2. Schedule your breaks and make them count 

If you are taking a break make sure it gives you the refresh that you need. Get outside, connect with someone or find whatever it is that gets you re-energized! 

3. Create a dedicated workspace

Make a clear transition from home life to work time to help reduce distractions and create boundaries. 

4. Turn your computer on & off at the same time every day

It’s very easy to work outside of a normal 8 hour day when working from home. Make sure to sign in and out at the same time each day to help build work/life balance. If you are logged into your work email on your phone, set a ‘do not disturb’ cycle to limit notifications outside of work hours.

5. Avoid the 24-hour news cycle

Constant news updates can be overwhelming and stressful, and make it hard to focus on the work in front of you. If you like working with background noise, replace the news channels with music or podcasts instead.

6. Create a bright workspace

If you are able to, try and work near a window or another natural light source. Other options include investing in new office lighting, a light therapy lamp, or adding candles or plants to your space. This is especially important as we move into the winter months and can help you stay focused on and engaged in your work.

*Don’t forget to be easy on yourself, this transition takes time!

 

Working from home: 6 tips for employers

1. TRUST each other 

As an employer, it helps if you have trust and that works both ways.

2. Share positive occurrences

Establish an internal communication network where positive occurrences can be shared across the team.

3. Encourage interaction and collaboration

Find what works best for your team to make communication easy and consistent. There are endless options out there (Skype, HangOuts, Go To Meetings, email, phone calls, etc…) and using more than one can be helpful.

4. Schedule in morning ‘commute time’

Avoid planning any meetings for the first hour of a workday to give employees the chance to get settled in and take care of any pressing tasks.

5. Check in with employees individually to see how they are doing

Have supervisors and managers check in with employees individually to see how they are coping with the impacts of the pandemic and adjusting to their new normal. This can also be an opportunity to explore what employees may need to continue to work efficiently and effectively.

6. Encourage employees to use a VPN

A virtual private network, or a VPN, is a safety measure that extends a private network across a public network to help improve the safety and security of data being shared. If your organization does not have a VPN set up, there are several free or paid options online to explore. 

Working from home during the winter months can mean a lot of time inside. This Mini-Guide to Help Employees’ Mental Health Throughout the Winter from the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Workplace Mental Health Program can help employers provide their employees with tools and resources specific to the winter months.

Empowering the bystander 101: Tools for Action in Sport, Schools & Workplaces

November 26th, 2020 Respect Tools & Tips

What Does it Mean to Empower the Bystander?

While many of us are well aware of the harm that can come to a child experiencing maltreatment (which includes bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination) many of us are unsure of what to do if we suspect or learn that a child has experienced maltreatment. Empowered bystanders have the knowledge and tools to take action when maltreatment is suspected or disclosed. This means that parents, coaches, and other youth leaders have a clear awareness and understanding of the signs of abuse and what constitutes maltreatment, what to do if a child discloses that they have been harmed, and the steps for reporting suspected maltreatment.

While this definition and the information below apply to sport and school contexts, the general theme of empowering the bystander and the tools for action described below can be applied in a variety of contexts, including the workplace. 

The Importance of Bystanders 

Maltreatment is an issue of power: the offender attempts to control or overpower the victim, causing harm. However, bystanders who suspect or are aware that maltreatment has occurred have an incredible amount of power to either better or worsen the situation, and ultimately, the outcomes for victims of maltreatment.

It is normal for individuals to delay or not disclose that they have experienced maltreatment. There are many reasons for not disclosing the harmful behaviours they are experiencing, including power differentials and feelings of powerlessness, fear of the perpetrator, isolation, silencing, a lack of bystander intervention, and organizational denial (Mountjoy et al., 2016). If bystanders witness or suspect maltreatment but do not say anything, either because of acceptance of the behaviour, non-intervention, denial or silence, victims may believe that the behaviour is acceptable and that they would be powerless if they chose to speak out (Mountjoy et al., 2016). The role of the bystander is crucial for individuals experiencing maltreatment to feel comfortable disclosing when they are experiencing abuse, to understand which behaviours are acceptable or unacceptable, and as advocates for the children in their care. 

How To Address Maltreatment: 

1. The Initial Conversation

If you suspect a child is experiencing maltreatment or they disclose to you an incident where they experienced harm, the first step is to discuss your concerns with the child. The conversation should be documented and should occur in a safe, confidential space. The Rule of Two still applies in this context, meaning that another adult should be present for the conversation. The conversation should be as open as possible; this means using active, empathetic listening and avoiding suggestive, directing, or leading questions (Jeckell et al., 2018). If disclosure happens when you are alone with a child, you should report the incident to your organization and make sure to follow up with the child and their parents as soon as possible to discuss the next steps.

It can be so hard to know what to say and distressing to hear that maltreatment has occurred. The most important things to remember are to:

    • Let the child know that you believe them 
    • Explain that what they experienced is not their fault and that the behaviour is not acceptable
    • Encourage them for being brave and coming forward to talk about the harm they experienced

 

Each situation should be treated individually and emotional and psychological support, as well as medical services, should be offered to the child depending on their needs (Jeckell et al., 2018). Resources like Kids Help Phone are available across Canada, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support young people in distress. 

In addition to the process outlined above, parents can find more resources for supporting a child or youth who has disclosed abuse or misconduct through the tips outlined on NeedHelpNow.ca 

2. Reporting Maltreatment

Any adult who suspects that a child has experienced maltreatment has a duty to report their concerns to the appropriate authorities. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call 911. Your sport organization may also have an internal process for reporting instances of maltreatment. While it is crucial to contact local authorities to report the abuse, alerting the sport organization as soon as possible can help to protect other children and youth who may still be in the care of the alleged offender.

The Coaching Association of Canada has a full list of resources here that you can contact nationwide to report your concerns. Some of these resources include:

3. Prevention

After reporting the incident of maltreatment and taking steps to address the individual incident, it is important for organizations to review their internal processes to prevent maltreatment moving forward. According to Mountjoy et al., (2016) this can include:

  • Ensuring that there are clear policies and codes of conduct around safe sport and maltreatment prevention
  • Comprehensive, regular education and training around safe sport codes of conduct and practices
  • Maintaining or creating a standardized recruitment process for staff/volunteers that includes background screening 
  • Maintaining or developing a process for complaints and support
  • Continuing to monitor and evaluate safe sport practices 

 

While the information above in specific to sport, similar processes can be followed in schools and workplaces. If you suspect that bullying, abuse, harassment, or discrimination, also known as BAHD behaviours, are occurring in your school, it is important to contact local authorities and the school board to report your concerns. In addition, you can explore the procedures for reporting incidents of BAHD behaviours through your local school board’s website. One example of this is the Toronto District School Board’s policies and procedures (found here) on bullying, which include additional resources for parents and teachers to explore.

If BAHD behaviours are occurring in your workplace, processes for reporting may differ depending on your location. You can learn more about seeking support, supporting others, and creating culture change to prevent BAHD behaviours through the resources from the Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

Lastly, you can learn more about recognizing BAHD behaviours and tips for action through the resources below:

 

References:

Jeckell, A. S., Copenhaver, E. A., & Diamond, A. B. (2018). The spectrum of hazing and peer sexual abuse in sports: A current perspective. Sports Health, 10(6), 558-564.

Mountjoy, M., Brackenridge, C., Arrington, M., Blauwet, C., Carska-Sheppard, A., Fasting, K., … & Starr, K. (2016). International Olympic Committee consensus statement: harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(17), 1019-1029.

International Olympic Committee consensus statement: harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport

International Olympic Committee consensus statement: harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport

November 11th, 2020 Respect Tools & Tips

 

Introduction/Background

 

The nature of sport and athleticism means that there is always a risk of accidents, injury, and harm. Sports organizations, from the leadership to the grassroots levels, have a moral and legal obligation to keep their athletes safe and free from harm. While accidental injury is widely recognized and addressed by most sport organizations, non-accidental violence and maltreatment from abuse, harassment, and other harmful behaviours are at best, less well recognized, and at worst, ignored or denied altogether (Mountjoy et al., 2016). All athletes, of any age, have the right to engage in sport in safe, supportive environments.

 

These problems are not specific to sport and can be found elsewhere in other areas of society, including the workplace, schools, and other institutions. However, the root of the problem within the culture of sport can be found in the many power differentials, particularly between adults and youth/children, between athletes, or between athletes and sport organizations, that can make it challenging for athletes to stand up for themselves and assert their rights (Mountjoy et al., 2016). The risks unique to sport include the nature of coach-athlete relationships; the ways in which athletes are recruited; the risks when minor elite athletes are relocated to far away teams, away from their support systems; practices that measure physical/biological readings; training at multiple locations/times; and hazing practices (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Conceptual Model of Harassment/Abuse in Sport

 

The model below, created by Mountjoy et al. (2016) provides an overview of how the cultural context of sport can contribute to abuse, including the potential impacts for both athletes and organizations. 

 

Psychological Abuse

 

All types of abuse are rooted in psychological abuse (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Psychological abuse reported by athletes includes (but is not limited to) humiliation, belittlement, yelling, scapegoating, rejection, isolation, threatening behaviours, ignoring behaviours, and denial of attention or support (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, psychologically abusive coaching practices can both hide and lead to grooming behaviours and sexual abuse (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Sexual Abuse

 

While sexual abuse can and often does occur from individuals in positions of power and authority, sexual harassment is far more likely to occur between athletes and their peers (Mountjoy et al., 2016). This behaviour can be learned by athletes in sports cultures that accept or even encourage this type of behaviour (Mountjoy et al., 2016). The risk of sexual abuse is greater when athletes are not protected (ex. through safe sport policies, codes of conduct, etc.), when the abuser is highly motivated to harm a young person, and when the athlete is highly vulnerable, particularly through age and maturation (Mountjoy et al., 2016). The type of sport, type of clothing worn, and physical touching are not considered risk factors for sexual abuse (Mountjoy et al., 2016).

 

Bullying & Hazing

 

Bullying occurs in the context of a power imbalance, where one individual has the desire to harm another by asserting their dominance (Mountjoy et al., 2016). This differs from hazing, which can be viewed as a ‘rite of passage’ for new members of a team to be accepted by existing team members, also by asserting their dominance (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Research has shown that sport cultures that haze can be toxic for young athletes, and are characterized by misogyny, homophobia, exclusionary behaviour, misconduct, discrimination, lack of mutual respect, and secrecy around these behaviours and attitudes (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Athletes at the Highest Risk

 

The risk of experiencing violence (psychological, physical, and/or sexual) increases as athletes progress towards more elite levels of sport (Mountjoy et al., 2016). In addition, athletes who are LGBTQ+ or who have disabilities are more likely to experience sexual abuse (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Research has shown the risk of experiencing any type of abuse is two to three times higher for athletes with disabilities compared to other athletes (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, the first large scale study of homophobia in sport found that 80% of athletes surveyed had witnessed or experienced homophobia (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Disclosure

 

There are many reasons athletes don’t disclose the abusive behaviours they are experiencing, including power differentials and feelings of powerlessness, fear of the perpetrator, isolation, silencing, a lack of bystander intervention, and organizational denial (Mountjoy et al., 2016).

 

The power differential between athletes and coaches is shown through the delay of disclosure, or lack of disclosure, around abusive coaching practices. The normalization of psychologically abusive coaching practices creates a persistent bystander effect; in turn, this can prevent athletes from disclosing the abusive behaviour and seeking help (Mountjoy et al., 2016). When the bystanders who witness or are aware of the abusive behaviour do nothing, either through acceptance of the behaviour, non-intervention, denial or silence, athletes believe that the behaviour is acceptable and that they would be powerless if they chose to speak out (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, given the competitive nature of sport, athletes may feel that they cannot say anything to maintain their place on the team or to not be singled out by their sport organization/team (Mountjoy et al., 2016).

 

Impact of Abuse

 

Many survivors of abuse can and do go on to experience positive mental health and well-being, return to sport, and resume their normal lives and activities (Mountjoy et al., 2016). However, the short- and long-term impacts of abuse in sport can be extremely damaging to athletes and extends beyond sport and the athletes themselves to affect their families, friends, and other areas of their lives, long after the athlete has left the sport (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Athletes suffer many opportunity costs within sport, including the loss of sponsorship, poor performance, reduced chances to win at high levels, willingness to engage in doping or cheating, or leaving sport altogether (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Outside of sport, the impacts include psychosomatic illnesses, disordered eating, low self-esteem, poor body image, anxiety, depression, substance misuse, self-harm, and suicide (Mountjoy et al., 2016).

 

Psychological abuse, in comparison to physical or sexual abuse, is most strongly associated with athletes experiencing post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, the risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or completed suicide is increased with each type of abuse that a young person experiences (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Abuse & Harassment is a Systemic Issue

 

Sexual abuse and harassment in sport can be considered a symptom of failed leadership (Mountjoy et al., 2016). When power is abused by leadership, or an organizational culture ignores, denies, fails to prevent or cannot accept that the problem exists, the individuals in power have failed those they were supposed to protect (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, the ‘win at all cost’ nature of sport and the idolization of athletes contributes to the acceptance or normalization of violence and abuse in sport, particularly in contact sports (Mountjoy et al., 2016). When athletes are viewed as ‘assets’ or athletes first by sport organizations, instead of children and youth with rights and needs, there is a higher risk of creating a culture where their individual needs and rights are neglected (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Aside from the ethical and legal obligations to prevent abuse in sport, the health and success of sport organizations is improved when these preventative measures are in place. The economic and opportunity costs related to abuse in sport are significant and can include reputational damage; depletion of the talent pool when elite athletes leave sport; termination of sponsorships/contracts; and the undermining of confidence and trust in the organization (Mountjoy et al., 2016).

 

Abuse & Harassment Prevention Requires Culture Change Through Systemic Solutions

 

Organizational and cultural change starts with leadership. Leaders who ignore, deny, or resist believing that abuse and harassment happen in sport deny the organization and those within it the opportunity to work towards prevention and mitigation of risk, ultimately creating a culture where athletes are at risk (Mountjoy et al., 2016). This denial and abuse of power allows the underlying causes of abuse and harassment to persist and allows abusive behaviours and unsafe practices to continue (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

The first step in the process of systemic culture change is to be aware of and understand that these behaviours exist and that the consequences are serious and long-lasting (Mountjoy et al., 2016). A key building block in this process is education at all levels of sport organizations (Mountjoy et al., 2016). According to Mountjoy et al. (2016), “Prevention begins with awareness-raising about non-accidental violence through the dissemination of evidence-based education and training programs.” This is a crucial step to equip stakeholders with the knowledge and understanding to both create preventative solutions and to overcome denial (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Further, this can help prevent the pervasive bystander effect, and equip bystanders with the knowledge and tools to address abusive behaviours when they see or suspect it to be occurring.

 

Sport organizations should take the lead of other youth-serving organizations and institutions, as well as the legal mandates in their area for reporting of abuse and harassment, to create safe sport policies that align with current best practices (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Training for individuals with young athletes in their care to recognize the signs of distress and mental health concerns are crucial in preventing long-term mental health impacts and preventing self-harm and suicide (Mountjoy et al., 2016). Allegations of abuse and harassment should be handled by individuals with the appropriate training and qualifications, as opposed to internal investigations by sport leaders who lack this expertise (Mountjoy et al., 2016). If allegations of violence/abuse occur, it is necessary to involve law enforcement as soon as possible (Mountjoy et al., 2016). External reporting structures should also be implemented so that allegations of abuse and harassment are thoroughly investigated both internally and externally (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

Further culture change can be created through the restructuring of safe sport programs that address the social context of abuse and harassment (Mountjoy et al., 2016) This includes clear policies and codes of conduct; background screening and systematic recruitment; continued education and training; processes for complaints and support; and continued monitoring and evaluation of safe sport practices (Mountjoy et al., 2016). 

 

References: Mountjoy, M., Brackenridge, C., Arrington, M., Blauwet, C., Carska-Sheppard, A., Fasting, K., … & Starr, K. (2016). International Olympic Committee consensus statement: harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(17), 1019-1029.

The workplace is a space to connect with colleagues and to work towards common goals. All employees have the right to a physically and psychologically safe workplace. Organizational leaders and employees are in an important position to step in as active bystanders when instances of bullying, abuse, harassment, or discrimination, also known as BAHD behaviours, occur in the workplace. When bystanders, particularly organizational leaders, witness or are aware of BAHD behaviours occurring in the workplace but do not intervene, the employees being victimized may feel that the behaviour has been accepted or normalized in the workplace. In turn, they may feel powerless to prevent BAHD behaviour from continuing, or that they would not be supported if they chose to report the behaviour. Bystanders who choose to step in and support their co-workers who are experiencing BAHD behaviours can play an important role in maintaining physical and psychological safety in the workplace. It takes courage to become an active bystander when we see a co-worker behaving BAHDly in the workplace, and it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some tips to make stepping up and stepping in safer and less intimidating so that you can protect your coworkers and yourself: Verbal Communication: Do’s and Don’ts Do: • Remain calm in control of your emotions. This may have a calming effect on the aggressor. • Focus your attention on the other person so they know that you’re interested in what they’re saying. • Encourage the person to stay open-minded and objective throughout your conversation. • Acknowledge the person’s feelings. For example, saying, “I can see that you are frustrated.” • Be aware of the words you’re choosing and how you’re saying them. • Speak slowly, quietly, and confidently. • Listen carefully, without interrupting or offering advice or criticism. Don’t: • Glare or stare. This can be seen as a challenge. • Allow the other person’s anger to become your anger. • Use official language, complex terminology, or jargon. • Communicate a lot of technical or complicated information when emotions are high. • Tell the person to relax or calm down. Non-Verbal Communication & Behaviour: Do’s and Don’ts Do: • Use calm body language. Keep a relaxed posture with your hands unclenched and a neutral, attentive expression. • Position yourself so that the exit is not blocked. • Position yourself at a right angle, rather than directly in front of the other person. • Give the person enough physical space (generally 1-2 metres). • Get on the other person’s physical level, rather than standing over them. • Avoid physical violence or confrontation where possible. Walk away and get assistance from security or police. Don’t: • Take an aggressive or challenging pose, including: o Standing directly opposite someone o Putting your hands on your hips o Pointing your finger o Waving or crossing your arms • Make sudden movements, which can be seen as threatening. Responding to a Physical Attack: Do’s and Don’ts Do: • Make a scene. Yell or scream as loudly as you can until you gain others attention. Try shouting words like STOP, HELP, or FIRE. • Blow a whistle, activate a personal security alarm, push the building security alarm or, as a last resort, pull the fire alarm. • Give bystanders specific instructions to help you. Single someone out and send them for help; for example, “You in the yellow shirt, call 911!” • Run to the nearest safe place (ex. a safe office or an open store). • Call security or the police immediately after the incident. • If the attack does not warrant calling the police, inform your supervisors and the authorities at your workplace. • File an incident report, such as this report from the Respect in the Workplace program. Don’t: • Resist if someone grabs your purse, briefcase or other belongings. Throw the item several feet away from the thief and run in the opposite direction, yelling HELP or FIRE. • Ever try and chase someone trying to steal from or assault you. Tips for Dealing with an Aggressor If You Feel Safe: • Tell the aggressor that their behaviour is offensive or unwanted, and to stop. • Document what happened to you. You should use your organization’s incident report form or, if unavailable, this incident report form from the Respect in the Workplace program. • Check your organizational policies and procedures and know your rights. • If the behaviour is repeated, report it to your supervisor, HR, or a trusted colleague. If it contravenes the law, know that you have the right to report it to the police, but do not discuss details with other uninvolved coworkers. • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and support from your employer. Tips for Dealing with an Aggressor If You Feel Unsafe: • Avoid being alone with the aggressor and make sure you’re safe. • Get support and assistance right away and report the incident to a trusted colleague, supervisor, or Human Resources. • Document what happened to you, using your organization’s incident report process or by filling out this incident report form from the Respect in the Workplace program. • Only talk to those who can support you and keep the information confidential. Speaking with uninvolved parties may add unwanted and unwelcomed dynamics that could further jeopardize the situation. • Know your organization’s policies and procedures and know your rights. Education is a crucial tool in the bystander’s toolkit. Through a strong understanding of BAHD behaviours, their impacts on employees and the workplace as a whole, and how to step up and step in when we witness or suspect these behaviours are occurring, we have the opportunity to keep the workplace safe and productive for all. You can learn more helpful tips for employees and organization leaders through the Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website. In addition, you can find more tools and information on empowering the bystander to address BAHD behaviours through our online programs here: • Respect in the Workplace • Respect in School • Respect in Sport

Empowering the Bystander in the Workplace: Tools for Action

October 28th, 2020 Respect Tools & Tips

The workplace is a space to connect with colleagues and to work towards common goals. All employees have the right to a physically and psychologically safe workplace. Organizational leaders and employees are in an important position to step in as active bystanders when instances of bullying, abuse, harassment, or discrimination, also known as BAHD behaviours, occur in the workplace. When bystanders, particularly organizational leaders, witness or are aware of BAHD behaviours occurring in the workplace but do not intervene, the employees being victimized may feel that the behaviour has been accepted or normalized in the workplace. In turn, they may feel powerless to prevent BAHD behaviour from continuing, or that they would not be supported if they chose to report the behaviour. Bystanders who choose to step in and support their co-workers who are experiencing BAHD behaviours can play an important role in maintaining physical and psychological safety in the workplace.

 

It takes courage to become an active bystander when we see a co-worker behaving BAHDly in the workplace, and it can be hard to know where to start.  Here are some tips to make stepping up and stepping in safer and less intimidating so that you can protect your coworkers and yourself:

 

Verbal Communication: Do’s and Don’ts

 

Do:

  • Remain calm in control of your emotions. This may have a calming effect on the aggressor.
  • Focus your attention on the other person so they know that you’re interested in what they’re saying.
  • Encourage the person to stay open-minded and objective throughout your conversation.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings. For example, saying, “I can see that you are frustrated.”
  • Be aware of the words you’re choosing and how you’re saying them.
  • Speak slowly, quietly, and confidently.
  • Listen carefully, without interrupting or offering advice or criticism.

Don’t:

  • Glare or stare. This can be seen as a challenge.
  • Allow the other person’s anger to become your anger.
  • Use official language, complex terminology, or jargon.
  • Communicate a lot of technical or complicated information when emotions are high.
  • Tell the person to relax or calm down.

 

 

Non-Verbal Communication & Behaviour: Do’s and Don’ts

 

Do:

  • Use calm body language. Keep a relaxed posture with your hands unclenched and a neutral, attentive expression.
  • Position yourself so that the exit is not blocked.
  • Position yourself at a right angle, rather than directly in front of the other person.
  • Give the person enough physical space (generally 1-2 metres).
  • Get on the other person’s physical level, rather than standing over them.
  • Avoid physical violence or confrontation where possible. Walk away and get assistance from security or police.

Don’t:

  • Take an aggressive or challenging pose, including:
    • Standing directly opposite someone
    • Putting your hands on your hips
    • Pointing your finger
    • Waving or crossing your arms
  • Make sudden movements, which can be seen as threatening.

 

Responding to a Physical Attack: Do’s and Don’ts

 

Do:

  • Make a scene. Yell or scream as loudly as you can until you gain others attention. Try shouting words like STOP, HELP, or FIRE.
  • Blow a whistle, activate a personal security alarm, push the building security alarm or, as a last resort, pull the fire alarm.
  • Give bystanders specific instructions to help you. Single someone out and send them for help; for example, “You in the yellow shirt, call 911!”
  • Run to the nearest safe place (ex. a safe office or an open store).
  • Call security or the police immediately after the incident.
  • If the attack does not warrant calling the police, inform your supervisors and the authorities at your workplace.
  • File an incident report, such as this report from the Respect in the Workplace program.

 

Don’t:

  • Resist if someone grabs your purse, briefcase or other belongings. Throw the item several feet away from the thief and run in the opposite direction, yelling HELP or FIRE.
  • Ever try and chase someone trying to steal from or assault you.

 

Tips for Dealing with an Aggressor If You Feel Safe:

 

  • Tell the aggressor that their behaviour is offensive or unwanted, and to stop.
  • Document what happened to you. You should use your organization’s incident report form or, if unavailable, this incident report form from the Respect in the Workplace program.
  • Check your organizational policies and procedures and know your rights.
  • If the behaviour is repeated, report it to your supervisor, HR, or a trusted colleague. If it contravenes the law, know that you have the right to report it to the police, but do not discuss details with other uninvolved coworkers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and support from your employer.

 

Tips for Dealing with an Aggressor If You Feel Unsafe:

 

  • Avoid being alone with the aggressor and make sure you’re safe.
  • Get support and assistance right away and report the incident to a trusted colleague, supervisor, or Human Resources.
  • Document what happened to you, using your organization’s incident report process or by filling out this incident report form from the Respect in the Workplace program.
  • Only talk to those who can support you and keep the information confidential. Speaking with uninvolved parties may add unwanted and unwelcomed dynamics that could further jeopardize the situation.
  • Know your organization’s policies and procedures and know your rights.

 

Education is a crucial tool in the bystander’s toolkit. Through a strong understanding of BAHD behaviours, their impacts on employees and the workplace as a whole, and how to step up and step in when we witness or suspect these behaviours are occurring, we have the opportunity to keep the workplace safe and productive for all. You can learn more helpful tips for employees and organization leaders through the Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website. In addition, you can find more tools and information on empowering the bystander to address BAHD behaviours through our online programs here:

 

 

 

sport, empower the bystander, coach training, abuse prevention, coach abuse, sport abuse, bullying prevention, respect group, sheldon kennedy

Empowering the Bystander in Sport: Tools for Action

October 14th, 2020 Respect Tools & Tips

The goal of sports and other youth activities is for youth to have fun, learn new skills, and to stay safe. All of their supporters, including parents, family members, coaches, and organization staff, have an important role to play when bullying, abuse, harassment, or discrimination, also known as BAHD behaviours, occur. When bystanders witness BAHD behaviours but do not say anything or address the situation, children and youth may think that the behaviour is acceptable, or that nothing can be done to stop it. However, when bystanders step up and address BAHD behaviours, we not only protect our children and youth, but we also teach valuable lessons on which behaviours are unsafe or unacceptable, and how to handle these challenging situations with care and respect.

 

It takes courage to step up and step in when we see a parent, coach, or youth leader losing control, and it can be hard to know where to start.  Here are some tips to make stepping up and stepping in safer and less intimidating so that you can protect the young people in your care and yourself:

 

    • People who bully often believe they are speaking for the group. They do not know they have crossed the line unless someone says otherwise. Often, if you point out how others are feeling, the person doing the bullying will understand the impact of their actions and stop.
    • There is power in numbers. If you are witnessing out of control behaviour, chances are other parents are too. Never approach someone alone. Take at least one other person to help diffuse the situation.

 

    • Research shows that the best way to stop bullying behaviour is to say something calmly and respectfully. If you approach someone angrily or try to intimidate them, you can worsen the situation. Remember, be cool, calm, and respectful.

 

      • When you step up and step in to approach a bullying individual and they are unwilling to control themselves, don’t get angry and don’t escalate the situation.

     

      • If you lose your temper the situation will get worse, not better. Walk away, then bring the situation to the attention of the coach and the sport organization.

     

    • Most of all, never put yourself in danger. If you feel at risk, get to a safe place or with other people. Leave, then call police.

Education is a crucial tool in the bystander’s toolkit. Through a strong understanding of BAHD behaviours, their impacts on children and youth, and how to step up and step in when we witness or suspect these behaviours are occurring, we have the opportunity to keep sport and other youth activities safe and fun for all. You can find more tools and information on empowering the bystander to address BAHD behaviours through our online programs here:

workplace, bullying

How To Recognize Emotionally Abusive Behaviours

September 30th, 2020 Respect Tools & Tips

We all have the right to feel safe in the spaces where we live, work, and play. Physical safety is often proactively considered and addressed by organizations and leaders as many potential risk factors (ex. tripping hazards) are visible and easily identifiable. Psychological safety is equally important, but has less visible risk factors and is harder to identify, which can lead to harmful behaviours going unaddressed or unacknowledged.

An important place to start is by understanding which behaviours are threats to psychological safety. When the behaviours below occur consistently over time, they cross the line from one-off behaviours to form a pattern of emotional abuse. As you will learn from the behaviours below, any other type of abuse, including physical or sexual abuse, includes a component of emotional abuse through the violation of safety and trust.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is psychologically destructive behaviour by a person in a position of power, authority or trust, that includes an ongoing attack on an individual’s self-esteem. Though often traumatic for victims, emotional abuse is often inflicted without offenders knowing or recognizing that they are using these behaviours.

Emotionally abusive behaviour includes but is not limited to:

Ignoring and Isolating
Where a person in a position of power avoids or pushes a victim away. The individual is denied sensitive caregiving or emotionally neglected and kept isolated from interaction with peers.

Degrading
Where a person uses their power to criticize or stigmatize a victim. The individual is deprived of dignity, humiliated or made to feel inferior.

Terrorizing
When a person in power frightens another by threatening them or someone or something they care about.

Corrupting
Where a person uses their power to teach a victim to behave in anti-social ways. This can include illegal activities, like providing the individual with alcohol or drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs.

Exploiting
Where a person in a position of power takes advantage of another. The victim is used to meet the needs of the offender, or the victim is asked to do things that are not age/role appropriate.

Understanding and recognizing the signs of emotionally abusive behaviours is the first step to learning how to step in and step up when these behaviours occur. To learn more about how to step in and step up to make change in your workplace, school, or sport organization, you can explore our online programs below:

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