On 8 February 2007, the IOC Executive Board adopted a Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport (PDF: IOC Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport). The document flows out of an October 2006 conference on the topic convened by the IOC Medical Commission. At this conference, leading sports psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists and policy experts from around the world reviewed literature and best practices to produce the Consensus Statement.
While the contents and policy prescriptions of the statement might be familiar to Canadian sport leaders, who have worked on this issue for over a decade, this Consensus Statement is nonetheless very significant. When the IOC speaks, the sport world listens. Existing policy frameworks in Canada already largely comply with the Statement, but could be improved with the addition of references to hazing (defined by the IOC as ‘abusive initiation rituals that often have sexual components and in which newcomers are targeted’) and homophobia (‘a form of prejudice and discrimination ranging from passive resentment to active victimization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people’).
The Centre for Sport and Law wishes to acknowledge the contribution of several Canadians to this work: Panel Member Margo Mountjoy of Guelph, and participants Margery Holman of Windsor, Sheldon Kennedy of Calgary and Sandra Kirby of Winnipeg.
Originally published: Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter (2007) Vol. 3(1)