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Why should your club adopt Safe4Athletes or similar child safety and welfare policies and procedures?

Attached please find a copy of an important club policy, “Club Philosophy and Policies Governing Professional Coaching Conduct and the Conduct of all Athletes, Employees and Volunteers.”  The purpose of this policy is to define in a very clear way inappropriate coach, sport leader and athlete participant conduct and the Club’s commitment to protect the safety and well-being of athletes.  The policy defines important terms and concepts such as bully, hazing, initiation rituals, physical punishment, sexual harassment, verbal and emotional abuse, etc.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

It is important that an athlete “respect” their coach (teammates, staff and volunteers), but sometimes, they act in ways that can be harmful and hurtful to young athletes.

It is important for every athlete to understand what is unacceptable behavior and when to reach out to an adult to ask for help and guidance.

Guidelines for the Ethics Panel:  Judging a Misconduct Complaint

Being a member of the Ethics Panel if asked is an important responsibility.  Situations that may endanger the safety and well being of our children do arise, albeit infrequently.  When they do, they must be dealt with promptly and fairly.  Our Club has a complaint processing procedure which is detailed in Section 13 of “Club Philosophy and Policies Governing Professional Coaching Conduct and the Conduct of all Athletes, Employees and Volunteers.”  You should familiarize yourself with this document.

Volunteering to be Fact Finder when asked by the Club President is an important responsibility.  Situations that may endanger the safety and well being of our children do arise, albeit infrequently.  When they do, they must be dealt with promptly and fairly.  Both the complaining party and the alleged offender need to be treated fairly.  At the heart of fair treatment is an unbiased determination of the facts by an appointed Fact Finder.   The following guidelines should be followed during the investigation process.  First read the following club documents:

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

 Sample Letter:  Notice to Person Alleged to Engage in Misconduct

Following is a sample memo from the Club President to the person alleged to have engaged in misconduct, when it has been determined that resolution of the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant is either not possible or inappropriate.  Insert appropriate information as noted and send with a copy of the Club policy.  A copy should be given to the Athlete Welfare Advocate and the complainant.

MODEL ATHLETE COMPLAINT FORM

INSTRUCTIONS:  To file a formal complaint, please fill out this form completely and submit it to the Athlete Welfare Advocate of our Club.  If you need help completing the form, or want to discuss the issue before completing the complaint form, please contact either of our Athlete Welfare Advocates for a meeting:

 

COACH, EMPLOYEE, VOLUNTEER CODE OF CONDUCT AGREEMENT

The American Association of University Women released survey results revealing that during the 2010-11 school year, 48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment in person or electronically via texting, email and social media.  The survey asked 1,002 girls and 963 boys from public and private schools nationwide whether they had experienced any of various forms of sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual comments, being called gay or lesbian in a negative way, being touched in an unwelcome sexual way, being shown sexual pictures they didn't want to see, and being the subject of unwelcome sexual rumors.  56 percent of the girls and 40 percent of the boys said they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment during the school year.

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Every athlete deserves a safe and positive sports environment. SPEAK UP if the way you are being treated feels wrong. 
If you need advice in sorting through a situation or concern. SAFE4ATHLETES is here to help.

Safe4Athletes: PO Box 650, Santa Monica, CA 90406 - Tax ID-46-2290559