CAAWS applauds the announcement made this morning by the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities regarding harassment, abuse, and discrimination in sport.
(Ottawa, Ontario – June 19, 2018) CAAWS commends Sport Canada’s commitment to introducing requirements for national sport organizations to create safer spaces for employees and athletes.
CAAWS is particularly supportive of the new requirement that sport organizations must identify an independent third-party evaluator to assist with cases of harassment, abuse, and discrimination.
Research shows that girls and women are disproportionately impacted by abuse and harassment in sport. Gender-based violence is a contributing factor in the gender gap in sport participation, both for athletes and for sport leaders. Preventing and promptly addressing abuse will benefit everyone in sport, but women and girls most of all.
“As leaders in sport, we must be relentless in creating the conditions where every person in sport is safe and supported,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, Chief Executive Officer of CAAWS. “This announcement sends a clear message that excuses will no longer be tolerated. We are all indebted to the courage of survivors like the eight women from Alpine Canada, and those before them, who shared their stories to move the system to action.”
CAAWS believes that having more women in leadership roles in sport is part of the solution. Creating cultures in which girls and women are treated with respect, and where their voices are valued and heard, is an essential step in preventing abuse, harassment and discrimination.
CAAWS also stresses the importance of tying the new requirements to Sport Canada’s funding mechanisms. Sandip Lalli, Chair of the CAAWS Board of Directors, said she sees this announcement as an opportunity to cement essential change within the sport system.
“Sport Canada has rightly made funding contingent on the implementation of these regulations, and specific measures to address the gender-based violence that occurs in sport environments must be added,” said Lalli. “We call on all national sport organizations, and other levels of sport within Canada, to implement these new requirements swiftly. Our children’s wellbeing and mental health depend on immediate action.”
To demonstrate its commitment to active prevention, CAAWS signed the Responsible Coaching Movement pledge and encourages all sport organizations to do the same. The Responsible Coaching Movement is coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and works towards ensuring that all athletes and coaches are protected from sexual abuse.
In 2016, CAAWS published a four-part blog series about harassment in sport, including an in-depth exploration of how the issue has been addressed in Canada over the last 20 years. More from this blog series can be found here: http://www.caaws.ca/harassment-blog-series-1/
CAAWS is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with governments, organizations and leaders to challenge the status quo and to advance solutions that result in measurable change.
For further information, please contact:
Manager of Projects and Communications
Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity