B.C. Sport Sector Unites to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse in Sport

Nov 20, 2017

National, Provincial, and Local sport organizations align to implement change

B.C. is taking a stand against child abuse in sport. Led by viaSport B.C., a spectrum of B.C. sport organizations will align on Tuesday for a full day of education and planning to advance child protection within sport in the province. The event is the first of its kind in Canada and puts B.C. at the forefront of the movement to address the issue of sexual misconduct within sport.

“viaSport is serious about uniting the sector to build a sport environment that is safe and inclusive for all,” says viaSport CEO Sheila Bouman. “Just as we are seeing the impact of sexual misconduct in other industries, we know the risk in sport is real and we are committed to leading change to prevent abuse.”

As the country commemorates National Child Day, viaSport is partnering with several influential national organizations, with expertise in child protection, to build and deploy resources to make it easier for hundreds of local and provincial sport organization to prevent sexual abuse of children in sport. These partner organizations include: The Respect Group and founder NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, ‘child sexual abuse occurs when opportunity exists and organizations fail to pay attention.’  “We know the risk to children decreases when effective policies and procedures are in place,” says Bouman. “Our goal is to make it easy for sport organizations to adopt best practices around child protection by providing them with tools and training to implements change at all levels of their organization and with administrators, officials, coaches, parents and athletes.”

viaSport is following the results-based guidelines and leadership from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada’s Responsible Coaching Movement.

The Responsible Coaching Movement is an initiative, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport that aims to affect all sport groups and coaches. The movement is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change.

National Child Day marks the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 1993, the Government of Canada enacted Bill C-371, otherwise known as the Child Day Act, and designated November 20th of each year as a national day of the child in order to promote awareness in Canada of the Convention. The Convention spells out the basic human rights to which children are entitled.