Safeguarding Athletes and Participants from Harassment and Abuse
Version 0.1, July 2020
Table of Contents
The Lowlander Race Team (“Lowlanders”) is committed to creating an atmosphere in which all participants in the various activities and programmes may have a safe, rewarding and positive experience. Everyone taking part in Lowlanders activities should feel supported, and have their rights, wishes and feelings respected without the fear of discrimination or degrading treatment.
Everyone participating in Lowlanders activities has the right to do so in a fun and safe environment, free from all forms of discrimination, abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation. For youngsters under the age of 18 (U18s), these rights are paramount (United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child).
Everyone within the organisation must accept their duty of care to safeguard athletes of all ages and participants from harm and abuse by following procedures designed to prevent harassment and abuse and by reporting any concerns about their welfare through established pathways.
The aim of the Lowlanders Safeguarding policy is to promote good practice, provide participants of all ages with appropriate safety and protection whilst involved in the activities of the Lowlanders, and to allow Lowlanders staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific safeguarding and athlete/child protection issues.
Any individual or organisation which is currently working with Lowlanders, in any capacity, whether voluntary or paid, and all athletes and participants.
These safeguards set out the actions that organisations working in sport should have in place to ensure children (and all participants) are safe from harm. These eight pillars of safeguarding equally apply to athletes and participants of all ages.
The eight safeguards are:
- Developing your policy
- Procedures for responding to safeguarding concerns
- Advice and support
- Minimising risks to children/athletes
- Guidelines for behaviour
- Recruiting, training and communicating
- Working with partners
- Monitoring and evaluating
Lowlanders is committed to ensuring that the programme’s safeguarding practices comply with current standards of best practice, and the International Safeguards for Children in Sport.
Lowlanders has adopted the descriptions of the various forms of harassment and abuse as set out in the IOC Consensus Statement (2016).
Harassment and abuse can be expressed in five categories, defined here as:
- Psychological abuse — means any unwelcome act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilisation, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. This includes bullying, which may be in person or on-line.
- Physical abuse — means any deliberate and unwelcome act – such as for example punching, beating, kicking, biting and burning – that causes physical trauma or injury. Such act can also consist of forced or inappropriate physical activity (e.g., age-, or physique- inappropriate training loads; when injured or in pain), forced alcohol consumption, or forced doping practices.
- Sexual harassment — any unwanted and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal or physical. Sexual harassment can take the form of sexual abuse. Some individuals deliberately target sports activities in order to gain access to participants. Grooming may occur over several years before an individual makes a move.
- Sexual abuse — any conduct of a sexual nature, whether non-contact, contact or penetrative, where consent is coerced/manipulated or is not or cannot be given.
- Neglect — within the meaning of this document means the failure of a coach or another person with a duty of care towards the participants to provide a minimum level of care to them, which is causing harm, allowing harm to be caused, or creating an imminent danger of harm.
Harassment and abuse can be based on any grounds including race, religion, colour, creed, ethnic origin, physical attributes, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status and athletic ability. It may be in person or online.
All ages and types of participants are susceptible to the various forms of harassment and abuse. Research has shown that no sport is exempt from the incidence of harassment and abuse, and no country is exempt.
The impacts of all forms of harassment and abuse on the participant are often extensive, and may be long term. They may persist long after the participant has left the sport or activity, and may lead to damage within family or other relationships.
The impact of the various forms of harassment and abuse on the participant may include any or all of the following:
|Physical||e.g. illnesses and injuries,|
loss of performance,
disordered eating/eating disorders
|Cognitive||e.g. low self esteem|
|Emotional||e.g. volatile mood states|
|Behavioural||e.g. drop out,|
more likely to cheat
|Mental health||e.g. anxiety, depression,|
|Effect on relationships||e.g. social exclusion|
Psychological abuse is at the core of all forms of abuse, and often occurs when there is a ‘power differential’ between participant and perpetrator.
The physical and mental impacts of all forms of harassment and abuse on participants under the age of 18 are likely to be greater on developing young persons who have unique physical and psychological vulnerability. Particular care must therefore be taken to protect them from any form of harassment or abuse.
Staff & volunteers must act, and report concerns
All those involved in Lowlanders have a responsibility to report and act on concerns.
All staff, volunteers and others involved in Lowlanders activities are expected to act, and are expected to promptly report any concerns.
Please refer to the reporting contacts and form in Appendix B.
Concerns and potential complaints by athletes – governance structure
In most cases it is likely that an athlete can discuss their concerns with the Head coach.
Depending on the nature of their concerns, Athletes may prefer to approach another trusted person who the athlete knows such as the Lowlands project coordinator, or their national representative in the Lowlanders Team Steering Committee.
Should the matter be more serious, it is recommended to contact directly the designated Wellbeing Officer.
Please also refer to the reporting contacts and form in Appendix B.
Lowlanders is committed to ensuring that:
- All concerns and allegations of poor practice or abuse are taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- Lowlanders will ensure concerns are dealt with appropriately and confidentially,
- Lowlanders will make referrals to external agencies (for example the Police, medical services, child or social care services) as appropriate and / or deemed necessary.
- Lowlanders will then follow up with referral agencies to make sure action has been taken to protect the child or vulnerable adult.
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- International Safeguarding Children in Sport Working Group
- Safesport – Where your game plan starts