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Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity – All sport and physical activity organizations have a duty to prevent abuse.

Toronto, February 6, 2018 – In light of the recent charges and allegations of sexual harassment and abuse within the Canadian sport system sector, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS) calls again on all sport and physical activity organizations to commit now to take proactive action that will prevent harassment and abuse in all its forms.

Statistics from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection indicate that between 2% to 8% of youth athletes are victims of sexual abuse in sport. Unfortunately, they also indicate that female athletes experience sexual abuse at higher rates than male athletes, making sexual abuse a key form of gender-based violence in sport.

Recent criminal cases in the United States and Canada reveal that sexual abuse continues to be a critical issue that sport organizations have insufficiently addressed as part of their duty of care for those in their system.

“Sport must be a safe environment that enables everyone involved to realize their full potential. Sexual harassment and abuse have no place in this picture. We call on all sport and physical activity organizations to adopt a zero-tolerance policy and take the necessary measures to prevent abuse in all its forms. One person abused or harassed is one too many,” said CAAWS Chief Executive Officer, Allison Sandmeyer-Graves.

To demonstrate its commitment to active prevention, CAAWS signed the Responsible Coaching Movement pledge and encourages all organizations to do the same. The Responsible Coaching Movement is coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and works towards ensuring that all athletes and coaches are protected from sexual abuse. Key steps reflected in the pledge include: adopting the “Rule of Two”, conducting mandatory reference checks and background checks for volunteers and staff, and taking training on ethics and respect.

“It’s time to take a close look at the systems that create the conditions for abuse to occur. Abuse in sport is preventable, and CAAWS will continue to press for policy and culture changes that help to ensure sport is a safe space for all,” said CAAWS Chairperson, Sandip Lalli.

For more information on the Responsible Coaching Movement, visit www.coach.ca. Additional resources are available in French in Quebec at www.sportbienetre.ca and www.sportaide.ca.

CAAWS is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with governments, organizations and leaders to challenge the status quo and to advance solutions that result in measurable change.

Follow @CAAWS on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Contact:

Terri Temelini

Manager of Projects and Communications

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity

416-901-0484 | terri@caaws.ca