GUIDELINES: THE ATHLETE WELFARE ADVOCATE (AWA)
You are an important person for any athlete who needs help thinking through and talking about a distressful situation. Our club cares about the safety and welfare of all participants and hopes that any athlete who may be the victim of abuse -- whether it is sexual, bullying, harassment or other improper misconduct by a coach, peer, parent, volunteer or staff member -- feels safe enough to contact you. The athlete should feel as though they have come to a person who will provide athlete-centered, supportive help. With this athlete assistance focus in mind, the AWA must be open to gaining the confidence of the athlete and developing a trusting relationship that will encourage factual, honest, and open dialogue. Keep in mind that you are the advocate for the athlete and your purpose is to hear the concern and then act on behalf of the athlete by working with others in the club to develop a resolution.
Feel free to call or email Safe4Athletes (855-723 3422 toll free or info@Safe4Athletes.org) to discuss the best way to handle certain situations or if you have questions about good process.
What Kind of a Person is the Athlete Welfare Advocate?
Overview of Club Policies and the Complaint Process
Key to performing Athlete Welfare Advocate duties is thoroughly familiarizing yourself with the Club’s athlete protection policies and the complaint process. Review the following documents:
Initial Meeting with the Athlete (or the athlete and his/her parents)
WHERE DO YOU MEET?
DETERMINING NEXT STEPS
RESTORING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Pursing a Resolution without a Full Complaint Proceeding
DETERMINING IF THE AWA CAN RESOLVE THE SITUATION WITHOUT A FORMAL INVESTIGATION AND HEARING
- reinforce what is appropriate behavior in athletics by coaches, peers, volunteers and parents;
- the details of the proposed solution;
- assure the athlete that if he/she feels uncomfortable with the actions of any person included in the remedy, the athlete should contact the AWA immediately; and
- if necessary, discuss guidelines on how athletes should protect themselves in certain situations if abuse or retaliation is encountered (by leaving the area, contacting an adult, etc.).
When Resolution is Not Possible or Appropriate
WHEN THE SITUATION IS SERIOUS – MOVE TO FORMAL ACTION