WHAT IS SAFE SPORT & WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Positive sport experiences require participants to be safe and free from physical, emotional and mental harm. The devastating repercussions of bullying, harassment and abuse in sport have been well-documented. In a recent survey, our members told us that safety was a top priority:
- The mental, emotional and social well-being of players was listed by youth and adults in the top 4 priorities for Volleyball BC.
- Ensuring safety standards was ranked #2 as a priority for developing volleyball in British Columbia.
- Over 95% of respondents thought that coaches should be background checked and certified. Over 90% felt the same about referees.
Volleyball BC is committed to a sport environment free from abuse that is safe for all participants. Safe sport practices are the responsibility of everyone, including coaches, parents/guardians, athletes, referees, club administrators and volunteers.
what is volleyball bc doing about safety?
Participant safety is a central part of our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. One of our goals is “To foster a safe environment” which is supported by a key initiative to “become a leader in safe sport practices and implementation”.
Over the last year, Volleyball BC has been gathering information, best practice, and research about safety. Work included:
- Creating a Safe Sport Working Group with representatives from
- across the sport
- Surveying our membership about their experiences
- Conducting focus groups with Team BC athletes
- Reviewing best practice and assessing priorities in our sport
In March 2022, Volleyball BC’s Board adopted a Safe Sport Action Plan which was the culmination of this research.
safe sport action plan
The Safe Sport Action Plan outlines our actions in 4 areas of safety:
- Physical Injury
- Abuse and Maltreatment
- Mental Health
We are committed to sharing our progress against these areas on a regular basis. We have also produced guides to the Action Plan specific to players, coaches and referees which can be found below.
making a complaint
Despite our best efforts, sometimes things happen. Volleyball BC has a Code of Conduct that every participant agrees to uphold when they register. This governs Volleyball BC’s events, activities, and member clubs.
We have a process in place to address issues or behaviours that contravene our Code of Conduct. This flowchart shows the process: Member Complaint Process.
Volleyball Canada and Volleyball BC have zero tolerance for any type of abuse. Individuals are required to report abuse or suspected abuse to Volleyball Canada or to VBC so that those matters can be addressed in an expeditious manner. You can report an issue in the following ways:
Volleyball Canada has an independent third-party to review safe sport complaints that is used by Volleyball BC. Lise Maclean is an independent certified workplace harassment resources/investigator who is able to guide individuals through the process and/or explore other options. This independent official is empowered to supersede Volleyball Canada and/or Volleyball BC staff and enforce appropriate policies as required based on evidence or a situation reported. You may contact the independent third party at [email protected] if you have a safe sport complaint to report. For more information, download Volleyball Canadas Safe Sport Complaints Process (pdf)
Contact the Canadian Sport Helpline – 1-888-837-7678 or [email protected] or http://abuse-free-sport.ca/en/
The helpline will provide you with advice, guidance and resources on how to proceed/intervene appropriately in the circumstances.
Any VBC Member may report to the VBC Head Office any complaint of an infraction by a Member. Such a complaint must be signed and in writing and must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the alleged incident. You can report any complaints to Volleyball BC at [email protected]
OPEN AND OBSERVABLE ENVIRONMENTS (RULE OF 2)
Open, observable, and justifiable interactions and communications are strongly recommended to foster safety, enhance protection, and help reduce vulnerability of both the athlete and adult(s) in a position of trust. Commonly referred to as the Rule of Two, it means that there will always be two screened and safety-trained adults with a participant, especially a minor athlete, when in a potentially vulnerable situation.
Vulnerable situations include but are not limited to:
- Closed doors meetings
- Medical treatments
- Travel to and from trainings, competitions, events, or activities
- Any training or competitive environments without a second coach or responsible adult present (in the gym, in the weight room, etc.)
- Electronic communications
“Open and Observable Environments” is our version of rule of two. As in rule of two, this practice involves making meaningful and concerted efforts to avoid situations where a person in authority (coach, official, staff member etc) might be alone with an athlete and/or vulnerable individual.
The name refers to the fact that interactions between an individual and an individual who is in a position of trust/authority should be in an environment or space that is both “open” and “observable” to others. For a full description with examples and frequently asked questions, please download the Open and Observable Spaces Guidelines.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Volleyball Canada and Volleyball BC require that all individuals involved with the sport across the country take the new FREE safe sport training module, available via the Coaching Association of Canada website. This includes coaches, referees, parents of youth athletes, high performance staff and contractors, officials; and all administrative staff and volunteers whether they may have direct contact with athletes or not.
The safe sport module is a free, 90-minute eLearning module that gives all participants the tools to recognize, address, and prevent maltreatment in sport. It aligns with the principles of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport and meets Sport Canada requirements for Safe Sport education. To take the training, visit www.safesport.coach.ca and create an account in “The Locker” (even if you are not a coach).
As part of Volleyball BC’s commitment to Safe Sport, our staff and Board have also completed the Commit to Kids training.
Screening of personnel and volunteers is an important part of providing a safe sporting environment and has become a common practice among sport organizations that provide programs and services to the community.
Volleyball BC’s Screening Policy outlines the requirements for all participants involved in volleyball in BC. Mandatory screening is required for all individuals in leadership roles who work directly with athletes. This includes all Staff, Directors, Chairs, Coaches, Managers, Referees, Chaperones and persons who manage finances.
VBC requires each person to submit a screening check once every three (3) years from the date of completion, upon which time you must submit a new one. Each person is also required to submit a copy of the VBC Screening Disclosure Form on an annual basis. You can find more information about our Screening Policy and Screening Disclosure Form here.
GOVERNANCE AND POLICIES
Volleyball BC has adopted several policies aimed at addressing the maltreatment of individuals in sport. These policies align with national and provincial policies including the BC Universal Code of Conduct. Our relevant policies include:
A full list of VBC policies can be found here.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & HELPLINES
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.