The apex Olympic body, IOC, today announced that it has taken an important step in line with the protection of athletes from harassment and abuse in sport in time for this Summer Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro.
Implementing the reforms suggested in Olympic Agenda 2020 to strengthen support to athletes, and following the recommendations of four IOC Commissions (Athletes’, Athletes’ Entourage, Medical and Scientific, and Women in Sport), IOC will ensure that a clear structure will be in place in Rio for participants to report any incident of harassment or abuse. The proposed system will be monitored by an IOC Welfare Officer, who shall be on site in the Village during the Games; reported incidents to be dealt with through a confidential procedure linked to local law enforcement agencies and relevant disciplinary channels.
In a historic move, the apex Olympic body has mandated that the 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Rio will be the first edition of the Games where a framework for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse will be in place, starting from the opening of the Olympic Village on 24 July and lasting until the closing of the Olympic Village on 24 August. Incidents reporting guidelines have already been shared with all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) which are part of the Olympic Games.
In addition, the International Olympic Committee has developed in collaboration with the stakeholders of Olympic movement, the guidelines for all NOCs and International Federations (IFs) to implement their own policies to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport. The guidelines, formulated by IOC were approved by the Executive Board on 1 June 2016 and are aimed at further assisting the International Federations and NOCs in protecting their athletes.
In line with the developed policies, the IOC has expected commitment and unity of sports organisations worldwide to combat the complex issue of harassment and abuse in sport; as this is a very real danger for sports world. To support further on the topic, IOC has initiated development of a toolkit that will contain best practice materials and step-by-step guidance to help all sports bodies in the implementation of a safeguarding policy related to the prevention of harassment and abuse.
Also also highlighted in the IOC Consensus Statement: Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport (2006), that “Sexual harassment and abuse occur worldwide … Everyone in sport shares the responsibility to identify and prevent sexual harassment and abuse and to develop a culture of dignity, respect and safety in sport. Sport organisations, in particular, are gatekeepers to safety and should demonstrate strong leadership in identifying and eradicating these practices.”
To increase awareness about the protection of athletes from harassment and abuse in sport can be found on the Safe Sport section of the Olympic Athletes’ Hub on the IOC website.