In the wake of the #MeToo movement and recent media attention around abuse in sport, there has been a renewed spotlight and importance placed on creating safe sport for all. The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) continues to support organizations in moving safe sport to action by helping create policy, systems, processes and strategies to elevate sport and nurture a thriving sport community.
Safe sport begins with a culture shift and a commitment to intentionally living the values of your sport organization. We recommend reading Dina Bell-Laroche’s ebook – Values-in-Action – as a starting point for this important first step. By having a core set of defined values and an expressed commitment to manage according to these values, you are less likely to deal with situations that escalate to crisis. Your values serve as a compass to navigate complex issues and reinforce the kinds of behaviours and commitments you are making to stakeholders.
Consider asking yourself questions like: In what ways are we living our values? How do we know our values are being experienced on the field of play? What is the lived experience of athletes? The responses can help you identify gaps and knowing them will allow you to take the necessary steps to safeguard the safety of all participants by being proactive and taking action i.e. through reviewing your current policies and procedures to ensure they are meeting legal requirements and established norms.
For instance, we believe that each participant and stakeholder must be aware of the standards of conduct that are expected of everyone in the organization. Conduct standards must be enforced with a procedurally-fair complaint management and dispute resolution system which allows for fair and timely management of cases. The SLSG’s new e-book – So You’ve Still Got a Complaint – explains this process in more detail. SLSG has also created a comprehensive Safe Sport Policy Suite that you access by connecting with Steve Indig, the SLSG Managing Partner.
The third major piece is to create a Safe Sport Implementation Strategy which allows any organization to live its values by establishing a reasonable and practical roadmap to create a safe and thriving sport environment. This is done through the collaborative creation of a holistic strategy involving a 4-step process: Analysis, Development, Implementation and Measurement. As certified investigators with expertise in policy development and quality assurance, SLSG consultants Tia Wintre and LJ Bartle are using their experience to help organizations at all levels move forward with easy to implement evidence-based systems that close gaps and provide measurement through athlete engagement.
- Read our Harassment in Sport Blog Series
In 2016, the SLSG partnered with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) to publish a four-part blog series on harassment in sport. The fourth post describes the SLSG’s nine recommendations for eradicating harassment in sport organizations.
- Take an SLSG Reality Check
Consider taking a ‘Reality Check’ on your organization to establish a baseline of where you are and where gaps exist within your current organization safe sport measures.
- Participate in the Risk Management Project
Over the past decade, the Sport Law & Strategy Group and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (“CCES”) have collaborated on a national initiative – the Risk Management Project (“RMP”)- to enhance sport organizations ability to identify, assess and manage risk proactively. The RMP includes a two-day facilitated workshop that requires little advance work and no specialized training. What it does require is a commitment to learn, a sense of curiosity, and a desire to enhance the organization’s strategic efforts in a way that is aligned with good management practices.
- Download our Webinars on Trust, Safe Sport and Engaging Athletes
Download our webinars to hear about some elements you may want to place within your holistic safe sport strategies. We also have many safe sport writings that may be of interest as well.
To achieve Sportopia your organization needs to provide the basic need of a safe sport environment for everyone at all levels. It is when that basic need is achieved, that an organization can strive towards a thriving sport community.