What is Safe Sport?
Safe sport is a movement towards ensuring that sport experiences for all participants are enjoyable, welcoming, and accessible. Sport provides opportunities for people to stay physically and mentally well, to connect with others, and to compete if they wish. Safe sport creates the conditions for a positive experience.
Safe sport is a "bucket" that holds all kinds of topics, including but not limited to:
- Prevention, reporting, investigation, and sanctioning of maltreatment
- Injury prevention and management
- Mental health and wellness
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion
More than anything, safe sport is about fostering positive behaviours in sport, so it is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
viaSport Commitment to Safe Sport
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport (MTACS), viaSport’s mission is to ensure that all British Columbians have the opportunity to participate in sport and reach their full potential. viaSport is committed to supporting all sport organizations to create safe sport environments that are accessible, inclusive, respect their participants personal goals and are free from all forms of maltreatment.
What is viaSport doing about Safety?
- Requiring funded organizations to:
- Adopt the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct
- The Province of B.C., in partnership with viaSport have worked with provincial sport and multisport organizations, child protection experts and federal counterparts to build robust accountability frameworks to address incidents of misconduct in the province’s amateur sport sector and protect those participating in sport from harm. This includes the development of the BC Universal Code of Conduct (BC UCC). As of October 15, 2021 It is mandatory for all viaSport funded organizations to include the BC UCC language in their policies.
- Have a safe sport page on their website: This page must include information on how to report any complaints to the organization, links to all relevant policies, and support resources.
- Have staff and board members complete Commit to Kids training
- Commit to Kids (C2K) is a step-by-step program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection that helps child-serving organizations create safe environments for the kids in their care. C2K Leader Training gives organizations the tools to create policies, procedures and employee codes of conduct to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children and youth in their care.
- Promoting programs that support safe sport:
- The Responsible Coaching Movement:
- A call to action for sport participants across Canada to keep sport fair, fun, and safe. This includes taking three steps to protect participants: 1) The Rule of Two, (2) Background Screening, and (3) Ethics training.
- Respect in Sport:
- Respect in Sport champions the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in sport. The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/ Coach Program educates youth leaders, coaches, officials and participants (14-years and up) to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD)
- Promoting educational opportunities for coaches and other staff:
- The viaSport Learning Centre provides resources and training opportunities, including safe sport
- viaSport and our partners deliver coach training courses, including Making Ethical Decisions
- Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) Safe Sport training:
- The Safe Sport Training module, developed by CAC, helps anyone involved in sport identify and prevent situations of maltreatment. It is part of the Responsible Coaching Movement, a call to action for sport organizations and coaches to enact responsible coaching across Canada on and off the field.
- NCCP Creating a Positive Sport Environment eLearning module:
- This course describes the characteristics and benefits of participant-centered coaching, explains the types of harm that may occur when a coach misuses their power, how to respond to suspicions or knowledge of maltreatment, and how to use positive coaching strategies to create a positive sport environment, enhance safety, and improve learning and performance.
- Offering access to dispute resolution services for federated sports organizations:
- The Sport Law Connect program offers free access to alternative dispute resolution services such as facilitation, adjudication, and/or providing panel members for a hearing.
- Raising awareness and sharing best practice in injury prevention and management
- Sharing research, tools, and resources for concussion awareness and management
- viaSport is committed to increasing education and awareness that will assist in gaining the knowledge and skills required to ensure the safety of athletes.
How to Report Maltreatment by viaSport Staff or Board Members
- You can report a complaint about a violation of the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct by viaSport staff or Board members directly to the viaSport CEO (email@example.com).
- If you have concerns or complaints related to the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct about viaSport staff or Board members and are not comfortable reporting to the CEO, you can contact Lise Maclean at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (613) 404-2000. We have contracted her as an independent third party, to receive and investigate complaints.
You can report any concerns or complaints about any sport organization in BC or Canada to the National Sport Helpline (1-888-83SPORT, or www.abuse-free-sport.ca)
As part of our commitment to safe sport, all of our employees and board members undergo a Criminal Record Check before they join the organization and every three years after that.
All of our staff are also required to complete Privacy Training to make sure that all data and information collected and stored at viaSport is handled correctly.
Our internal policies for staff and board members include the following policies that are relevant to safe sport:
Mental Health Support Resources
If you or someone you know needs support, the following organizations offer different types of support to different age groups and/or communities:
- Suicide Prevention:
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service - 24/7/365, in french and english. Call 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645 (4 p.m. - midnight Eastern Time, standard messaging rates apply)
- Crisis Centre BC - 24/7 support in over 140 languages using a language service. Call 310-6789 or 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or one of the regional support lines listed on their website.
- Children and Youth:
- Kids Help Phone - 24/7 free support for children and youth across Canada by phone (1-800-668-6868), online chat, text (text CONNECT to 686868), or Facebook Messenger (account name Kids Help Phone). If you identify as Indigenous, you can ask to be connected with a First Nations, Inuk or Métis crisis responder (if one's available) by messaging FIRST NATIONS, INUIT, or METIS to 686868 or through Facebook Messenger.
- B.C. Helpline for Children – a confidential toll-free phone line for children and youth wanting to talk to someone – is 310-1234 (no area code required).
- The Foundry - Health and wellness resources, services, and supports for people aged 12 to 24, online and through integrated service centres in communities around B.C.
- Adults and Seniors:
- Mental Health Support Line - 310-6789 (no area code) to connect to your local BC crisis line without a wait or a busy signal, 24 hours a day. Crisis line workers are there to listen and support you as well as refer you to community services.
- Crisis Centre Chat - visit https://crisiscentrechat.ca/ to chat online with a crisis responder, from noon to 1 a.m. every day.
- Seniors' Distress Line - 604-872-1234, 24/7
- Survivors of crime:
- VictimLinkBC – a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone and online service available across B.C. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence.
- Culturally-aware support for racialized communities:
- Resilience BC – Anti-Racism Network provides information about how to report incidences of racism and hate crimes if you are a victim or witness such incidences.
- KUU-US Crisis Response Service - 1-800-588-8717 for crisis support for Indigenous people in B.C.
- Trans Lifeline Canada - Peer support, run by and for trans people, offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis. 1-877-330-6366
- Qmunity - B.C.'s queer, trans, and two-spirit resource centre
Ensuring sport experiences are positive requires participants are safe in sport. Sport experiences must be free from physical, emotional and mental harm.
INJURY PREVENTION AND CONCUSSIONS
More than 40 per cent of child and youth injuries treated in emergency departments are sport and recreation related. Concussions account for nearly 10 per cent of all injuries. Addressing the issues and providing education around prevention strategies is important to supporting healthy and successful participant development and performance.