The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken a further important step in the protection of athletes from harassment and abuse.
It’s launched a toolkit for International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to develop athlete safeguarding policies and procedures.
IOC president, Thomas Bach, said:
'The safety and wellbeing of athletes is paramount to the IOC and the Olympic Movement. It is all our responsibilities to keep athletes safe and to guard their rights.
'Through a collective effort, I am pleased that we can launch this toolkit to assist sports organisations in this important area of athlete welfare, reinforcing our stance against all forms of harassment and abuse in sport.'
A step-by-step guide
Building on existing guidelines and medical consensus statements, this step-by-step guide focuses on organisational and competition-specific safeguarding policies. It is reinforced with key research, recommendations and case studies across the Olympic Movement, and offers a solution-based approach.
The toolkit is the latest in a series of prevention of harassment and abuse in sport (PHAS) initiatives, which have been established by four IOC Commissions (Athletes’, Athletes’ Entourage, Medical and Scientific, and Women in Sport), in collaboration with NOCs, IFs, external partners such as UN Women, and subject matter experts.
Chair of the IOC PHAS working group, HRH Prince Feisal, said:
'This toolkit aims to provide solutions and guidance for sporting organisations based on experience and expertise from all over the world.
'By following the steps in this toolkit, we hope that all sports organisations will implement policies and procedures which are effective, and have a true long-lasting positive impact on athlete wellbeing.'
Building on good practice
The need for the development of resources related to athlete safeguarding was further requested by athletes at the International Athletes’ Forum in 2015.
To complement the toolkit and ensure that athletes, their entourage and other individuals understand the core components of this sensitive topic, a free bite-size IOC Athlete Safeguarding e-learning course has been developed and launched on the IOC Athlete Learning Gateway.
Following the launch, Anne Tiivas, head of the CPSU, commented:
'The IOC toolkit is a hugely significant development for the protection of all athletes which builds on the IOC’s Consensus statement launched in 2016. It builds on good practice established through the NSPCC CPSU and partner organisations.
'This includes the development and delivery of a sector-wide action plan to safeguard and protect talented and elite young athletes in the UK, and through UK partners' contributions to the International Safeguards for Children in Sport project.
'There is a strong commitment from many UK representatives who sit on international federations to influence safeguarding practice globally. The development of this tool reflects the importance of ensuring that talented athletes from the UK are safe when they travel to training camps and competitions abroad and helps promote good practice expectations when international events are held here.'