How to develop policies and procedures to prevent violence and harassment in sports

Effective prevention of violence and harassment is enormously helped by having in place policies with associated codes of practice, education and training of all involved with sport,complaint and support mechanisms for those who feel abused, and monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure best practices are being employed.Regardless of cultural differences, every sport organization should have these provisions in place.The policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to create a safe and mutually respectful environment.The policy should state what is required in relation to the promotion of rights, well-being and protection.It allows the organization to take prompt,impartial and fair action when a complaint or allegation is made.It also allows the organization to take disciplinary,penal and other measures as appropriate.

A stadium just after fan violence

The policy should:

  • The policy should identify and address issues of violence, harassment and abuse in sports.
  • Be clear and easily understood.
  • Involve consultation with the athletes.
  • Be approved by the relevant management body(e.g Executive Board) and incorporated into it’s constitution and/or regulations.
  • Be widely communicated through publication and a comprehensive education and training strategy.
  • Apply to all involved in the organization.
  • State that all members have a right to respect,safety and protection.
  • State that the welfare of members is paramount.
  • Identify who has responsibility for implementing and upholding it.
  • Specify what constitutes a violation.
  • Specify the range of consequences for such violations.
  • Specify procedures for reporting and handling complaints.
  • Provide details of where to seek advice and support for all parties involved in a complaint.
  • Specify procedures for maintaining records.
  • Provide guidance for third party reporting (whistle blowing) and
  • Be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, particularly when there is a major change in the constitutional regulations of the organization or in the law.

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