Prevention of Abuse, Discrimination and Harassment
The term “Safe Sport” refers to abuse and maltreatment prevention. Concussion and injury prevention is “Safety in Sport.” The following information deals with Safe Sport (abuse prevention). See the Rowan’s Law page for additional concussion prevention training requirements.
Curling Canada and the Ontario Curling Council have taken the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) pledge, a declaration of our commitment to providing an environment for participants that is free of abuse, discrimination and harassment. The RCM applies not only to coaches, but also to board members, staff, officials, ice technicians, volunteers working with youth at clubs or any adult who may be in a position of authority and have regular interaction with youth or vulnerable athletes.
What is the Responsible Coaching Movement?
The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport that has the potential to affect all sport organizations and coaches. The RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change based on their individual state of readiness.
Phase 1 of the RCM addresses the gaps identified by stakeholders that indicate there is a lack of uniform policies, a lack of club capacity, a limited communication strategy, a lack of a tracking mechanism for coaches, and a lack of a coordinated approach by sport organizations to address responsible coaching practices, all of which have all contributed to permitting instances of unethical behaviour in sport.
The goal is to make sport safer for children and the vulnerable sector. Although advances in athlete protection in the past twenty years have decreased instances of athlete maltreatment in amateur sport, incidents of athlete abuse, harassment by coaches, and risks to athlete safety have continued to occur.
How can your curling centre improve safety for minors?
Designate a Safe Sport Director/Officer at your club
Consider a board appointed position or committee to administer Safe Sport at your Club. Some sports have “Child Safety Officers.” At the very minimum – ensure Safe Sport responsibilities are written into staff job descriptions.
Screening and training
Ensure that adults working with minor athletes (17 and under in Ontario) or vulnerable sector athletes (Para, Special Olympics), or who are in a position of authority have been screened and trained.
- This includes coaches who regularly work with youth in your curling centre, staff, board members, officials, ice technicians, etc…
- Choosing coaches who have been trained within the National Coach Certification Program have had ethics training.
- Clubs may also elect to have coaches take additional Safe Sport training. Examples of training may include:
- Training should also include reviewing the Curling Centre’s Safe Sport policies – at a minimum, these include a
- Code of Conduct, Harassment and Ethics
- Athlete Protection Policy
- Social Media Policy
- Training is never complete without a signed acknowledgement of their understanding and a willingness to follow the established policies. Here is a template of a Training Record form that you can customize for your Centre’s needs.
- Hold annual training sessions to bring old and new volunteers/coaches/staff up to speed on Safe Sport policies.
- Don’t forget about the mandatory Rowan’s Law Training as well.
- Your club should have a board-approved Screening Policy and must make a concerted effort to follow it.
- Screening is more than a Criminal Record Check or a Vulnerable Sector Check.
- When a person is new to the club, ensure you receive at a minimum two personal reference checks from other clubs or sports where the coach/volunteer has functioned in a similar role.
- Be sure to keep police checks “up to date” as per your policy. Consider paying for screening checks so your volunteers are not “out-of-pocket”.
- Get your Enhanced Police Information Check online in less than 24 hours and share it directly with CurlON or NOCA – cost is $25.00.
Draft board-approved policies
The first step in the Responsible Coaching Movement is taking an inventory of the policies and procedures your club has.
Curling Canada recently updated their Safe Sport Policies. They encourage you to “steal” their policies – as they have been developed by a lawyer and are current.
The Ontario Curling Council/CurlON/NOCA have taken Curling Canada’s policies and created Microsoft Word Templates for you to simply insert your Curling Centre’s name.
Templates can be found for:
- Abuse Policy
- Appeal Policy
- Athlete Protection Policy
- Code of Conduct, Harassment and Ethics Policy
- Discipline and Complaints Policy
- Dispute Resolution Policy
- Investigations Policy – Discrimination, Harassment and Abuse
- Screening Policy
- Social Media Policy
- Whistleblower Policy
Policies should be posted on your Curling Centre’s Website so that they are accessible to athletes, parents, volunteers, guests, coaches, board members, staff, members, etc…
Rule of Two
The Rule of Two means that a coach (non-familial adult) is never alone or out of sight with a child.
- Two NCCP-trained or certified coaches should always be present with an athlete, especially a minor athlete, when in a potentially vulnerable situation such as in a locker room or a meeting room.
- The coach is never alone and out of sight with a participant without another screened coach or screened adult (parent or volunteer) present.
• Allow the training environment to be open to observation.
• Ensure a participant rides in a coach’s vehicle with another adult present.
- Should there be a circumstance where a second screened and NCCP-trained or certified coach is not available, the following may be acceptable:
- one trained coach, one screened adult with one athlete
- one coach with two or more athletes.
- Consider the gender of the participant(s) when selecting the screened coaches and volunteers
who are present.
- Eliminate one-to-one electronic messaging. Ensure that all communications are sent to the group and/or include parents.
Curling Centres should ensure all coaches (paid or volunteer), staff, board members, parents and persons in authority are aware of the Rule of Two and make every effort to follow it.
It is intended to be a common sense best practice to protect both the athlete and the adult. It is a best practice that has been followed for many years by other organizations such as the Boy Scouts/Girl Guides and Special Olympics.
Duty to Report
If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is in need of help, you need to make the call. It isn’t up to you to prove or investigate the abuse but it is up to you to reach out and help protect the child.
Under section 125 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act every person who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection must promptly report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to a Children’s Aid Society.
If an athlete is being abused and is seeking help, a variety of support organizations exist. They can start by calling the Canadian Sport Helpline.