Sport Conventions

Resolution on the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse of women, young people and children in sport (3/2000)

The European Ministers responsible for Sport, meeting in Bratislava for their 9th Conference from 30-31 May 2000,

Referring to the Final Declaration and Action Plan resulting from the Summit of the Heads of State and Government meeting in Strasbourg, on 10 and 11 October 1997 which speaks of the need to strengthen “the legal protection of children” and encourages “the adoption of a programme to promote the interests of children”.

Conscious of Article 7 (10) of the Revised European Social Charter (1996) which affirms the rights of children and young persons to special protection “against physical and moral dangers to which [they] are exposed…”

Recalling Article 1 of the European Sports Charter (R. (92) 13) which states that “Governments …..shall take the steps necessary ……to ensure that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in sport … in a safe and healthy environment…….[and] to protect …..the moral and ethical bases of sport and the human dignity and safety of those involved …. by safeguarding sports, sportsmen and sportswomen …from practices that are abusive or debasing”

Bearing in mind Recommendation 1121 (1990) of the Parliamentary Assembly whereby the Assembly considers that “the right of children to special protection imposes obligations on society and on the adults normally dealing with them such as parents, teachers, social workers, doctors and others”;

Noting that the “Windhoek Call for Action” of 22 May 1998 stresses the need to take action to “Ensure a safe and supporting environment for all girls and women participating at all levels by taking steps to eliminate all forms of harassment and abuse, violence, exploitation….”;

Mindful of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly Article 34 which calls on the States Parties “to undertake to protect the child from all forms of…sexual abuse”;

Taking note of the work of the Committee for the Development of Sport already done in this area, especially the two reports on “The problems women and children face in sport with regard to sexual harassment” and the “Analysis of codes of practice for preventing sexual harassment and abuse to women and children in sport”;

A. Resolve to:

1. commission research and collect data at national level, in co-operation with national or international organisations and researchers, to ascertain the scale and importance of this problem in sport in their countries;

2. prepare a national policy which would:

- make a clear statement about the absolute need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and women in sport;

- define harassment and abuse of women, young people and children in sport, and provide specific guidance on what is appropriate and inadmissible behaviour;

- explain that the principles apply to all, regardless of ethnic origins, age, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation;

- promote awareness of concern over behaviour which may be harmful either physically or psychologically to children, young people or female athletes;

- set out the responsibilities of sports organisations and individuals, including all those in relationships based on trust and/or power;

- list procedures that should be put into place and followed in order to protect children, young people and women athletes;

- stress the need for confidentiality and sensitivity in a delicate area;

- agree on sanctions and provide information on them.

3. agree that the implementation of the policy within the context of an overall framework of support and protection for children, young people and women in sport, could include such actions as:

- drawing up a basic code of conduct for coaches, trainers and leaders, incorporating the suggestions contained in the discussion document MSL-9 (2000) 3), which has been submitted to the Conference;

- encouraging national sports organisations to draw up codes of conduct based on the same principles;

- developing and disseminating information materials for families, athletes and coaches, trainers and leaders;

- setting up of independent telephone help lines;

- introducing specific courses on child protection in the education of coaches and trainers.

4. to draw up a timetable for the rapid implementation of these measures.

B. Invite the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to ask the Committee for the Development of Sport to:

- promote research in the monitoring and evaluating of the measures (codes, help lines etc.) set up to combat sexual harassment and abuse among women, young people and children in sport;

- draft a specific reference to the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse for inclusion in a revised European Sports Charter (R (92) 13) and a revised Code of Sports Ethics (R (92) 14).