World Athletics today (10) launches its Safeguarding Policy, which is designed to ensure that those in positions of authority in athletics adopt practices that actively prevent harassment, abuse and exploitation within the sport.
The new policy aims to create a safe and welcoming environment at all levels of the sport, where everyone involved is respected, valued and protected.
This policy is founded on the principles that everyone has the right to participate and enjoy athletics in a safe inclusive environment, that everyone has the right to have their voice heard in raising welfare and behavioural issues, and that everyone involved in planning and delivering programmes for children is responsible for the care and protection of those children.
It defines the specific roles and responsibilities of Member Federations, Area Associations and World Athletics in protecting athletes and other participants in our sport.
These responsibilities include:
– Implementing and embedding this policy
– Raising awareness of harassment, abuse and exploitation
– Developing and delivering education and training for all those involved in athletics
– Supporting victims of abuse, harassment and exploitation
– Vetting and recruiting staff and volunteers in line with ethical practices
– Responding to concerns raised
– Reporting concerns expeditiously
– Establishing partnerships with organisations and institutions in the safeguarding sector
This policy describes the procedures to be followed if harassment, abuse or exploitation occurs and sets out processes for victims to be supported.
World Athletics, its Area Associations and Member Federations will work together to implement the policy, working closely with the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission.
World Athletics will promote best practice throughout the athletics community by providing safeguarding resources and guidance to Area Associations and Member Federations, and will provide its workforce with education and training in safeguarding. Consultation on the development of these resources and guidelines is currently under way with stakeholders across the sport.
World Athletics will also review its reporting and disciplinary procedures for any alleged incidents of abuse, harassment and exploitation that fall within its jurisdiction.
Area Associations and Member Federations are asked to adopt and implement a safeguarding policy which follows both local legislation and the World Athletics policy by 2023. This policy needs to include the procedures to follow when a concern is reported, as well as investigative and disciplinary processes.
These organisations must inform the relevant public authorities, where this is required by legislation. Their workforces should be regularly trained in all aspects of safeguarding to ensure they can provide support and advice to their athletics communities.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said it was important for the sport to have strong safeguarding procedures in place, from grassroots to elite level around the globe, to protect all participants.
“Athletics clubs, schools and community sports environments should be safe and happy places for those in our sport,” Coe said.
“A written policy gives our participants confidence that there are consistent structures and processes in place to report safeguarding abuses and that we will listen and we will act. But the policy is just the start. It must be implemented, monitored and developed at all levels in our sport and we will make that a priority as we move forward.”
The Safeguarding Policy has been published on the World Athletics website today.