CANADIAN BLIND SPORTS ASSOCIATION
ATHLETE PROTECTION POLICY
This Policy has been prepared by the Organization and is a Pan-Canadian Policy applicable to the Organization and its Participating Members. This document cannot be modified by a Participating Member without consultation and approval from the Organization.
1. This Athlete Protection Policy describes how Persons in Authority shall maintain a safe sport environment for all Athletes. It has been written to adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport.
B. Interactions between Persons in Authority and Athletes – the ‘Rule of Two’
2. For interactions between Persons and Authority and Athletes, the Organization and its Participating Members strongly recommends the ‘Rule of Two’ for all Persons in Authority who interact with athletes. The ‘Rule of Two’ is a directive that says that an athlete must never be alone one-on-one with an unrelated Person in Authority.
3. The Organization recognizes that fully implementing the ‘Rule of Two’, as described above (and modified accordingly for Persons in Authority), in all circumstances, may not always be possible. Due to the nature of blind sports, interactions between Persons in Authority and Athletes may occur in a private setting. Consequently, at a minimum, interactions between Persons in Authority and Athletes must respect the following:
a. The training environment should be as open and transparent as possible so that all interactions between Persons in Authority and Athletes are observable.
b. Private or one-on-one situations must be avoided unless they are open and observable by another adult or Athlete
c. Persons in Authority shall not invite or have a Vulnerable Individual (or Vulnerable Participants) in their home without the written permission and contemporaneous knowledge of the Vulnerable individual, and where the Vulnerable Individual is a minor the Vulnerable Individual’s parent or guardian
d. Vulnerable Participants must not be in any situation where they are alone with a Person in Authority without another screened adult or Athlete present unless prior written permission is obtained, from the Vulnerable Individual and where the Vulnerable Individual is a minor from the Athlete’s parent or guardian
C. Practices and Competitions
4. As it relates to practices and/or competitions, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends the following guidelines. Note that while these guidelines apply fully to Vulnerable Minors, they may also apply to Vulnerable Adults where it is reasonably feasible to implement
a. A Person in Authority should never be alone with a Vulnerable Minor prior to or following a competition or practice unless the Person in Authority is the Athlete’s parent or guardian
b. If the Vulnerable Minor is the first Athlete to arrive, the Athlete’s parent should remain until another Athlete or Person in Authority arrives
c. If a Vulnerable Minor would potentially be alone with a Person in Authority following a competition or practice, the Person in Authority should ask another Person in Authority (or a parent or guardian of another Athlete) to stay until all of the Athletes have been picked up. If an adult is unavailable, another Athlete, who is preferably not a Vulnerable Minor, should be present in order to avoid the Person in Authority being alone with a Vulnerable Minor
d. Persons in Authority giving instructions, demonstrating skills, or facilitating drills or lessons to an individual Athlete should always do so within earshot and eyesight of another Person in Authority
e. When observing the Rule of Two is not possible due to training or competition circumstances, Persons in Authority and Athletes should take additional steps to achieve transparency and accountability in their interactions. For example, a Person in Authority and an Athlete who know they will be away from other Participants for a lengthy period of time must inform another Person in Authority where they are going and when they are expected to return. Persons in Authority should always be reachable by phone or text message
5. For communication between Persons in Authority and Athletes, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends:
a. Group messages, group emails or team pages are to be used as the regular method of communication between Persons in Authority and Athletes
b. Persons in Authority may only send texts, direct messages on social media or emails to individual Athletes when necessary and only for communicating information related to team issues and activities (e.g., non-personal information). Any such texts, messages or emails shall be professional in tone
c. Electronic communication between Persons in Authority and Athletes that is personal in nature should be avoided. If such communication occurs, it must be recorded and available for review by another Person in Authority and/or by the Athlete’s parent/guardian (when the Athlete is a Vulnerable Participant)
d. Parents and guardians may request that their child not be contacted by a Person in Authority using any form of electronic communication and/or to request that certain information about their child may not be distributed in any form of electronic communications
e. All communication between a Person in Authority and Athletes must be between the hours of 6:00am and midnight unless extenuating circumstances justify otherwise
f. Communications concerning drugs or alcohol use (unless regarding its prohibition) is not permitted
g. No sexually explicit language or imagery or sexually oriented conversation may be communicated in any medium
h. Persons in Authority are not permitted to ask Athletes to keep a secret for them
6. For travel involving Persons in Authority and Athletes, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends:
a. Teams or groups of Athlete shall always have at least two Persons in Authority with them
b. For mixed gender teams or groups of Athletes, there should be one Person in Authority from each gender identity
c. Screened parents or other volunteers will be available in situations when two Persons in Authority cannot be present
d. No Person in Authority may drive a vehicle alone with an Athlete unless the Person in Authority is the Athlete’s parent or guardian
e. A Person in Authority may not share a room or be alone in a hotel room with an Athlete unless the Person in Authority is the Athlete’s parent or guardian
f. Room or bed checks during overnight stays must be done by two Persons in Authority
g. For overnight travel when Athletes must share a hotel room, roommates will be age-appropriate (e.g., within two years of age of one another) and of the same gender identity
F. Locker Room / Changing Areas
7. For locker rooms, changing areas and other closed meeting spaces, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends:
a. Interactions (i.e., conversation) between Persons in Authority and Athletes should not occur in any room where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy such as a locker room, restroom or changing area. A second adult should be present for any necessary interaction between an adult and an Athlete in any such room (e.g., the Rule of Two must be respected)
b. If Persons in Authority are not present in the locker room or changing area, or if they are not permitted to be present, they should still be available outside the locker room or changing area and be able to enter the room or area if required, for reasons including but not limited to team communications and/or emergencies
G. Photography / Video
8. For all photography and video of an Athlete, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends:
a. Photographs and video may only be taken in public view, must observe generally accepted standards of decency, and be both appropriate for and in the best interest of the Athlete
b. The use of recording devices of any kind in rooms where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy is strictly prohibited
c. Examples of photos that shall be edited or deleted include:
i. Images with misplaced apparel or where undergarments are showing
ii. Suggestive or provocative poses
iii. Embarrassing images
d. If any photographs or videos will be used on any form of public media, an Image Consent Form (Appendix A) must be completed before any images are taken and used
H. Physical Contact
9. Some physical contact between Persons in Authority and Athletes may be necessary for various reasons including, but not limited to, teaching a skill or tending to an injury. For physical contact, the Organization and its Participating Members recommends:
a. It is recognized that there may be a certain amount of physical contact inherent in coaching and supporting Athletes who are blind, deafblind, or partially sighted. This type of physical contact directly related to safety and skill acquisition is NOT harassment, provided it is explained to the athlete beforehand, and the athlete understands and is comfortable with it. If the athlete indicates that the physical contact is unwelcome, then the physical contact must stop, and an alternate procedure found.
b. Unless it is otherwise impossible because of serious injury or other justifiable circumstance, a Person in Authority must always clarify with an Athlete where and why any physical contact will occur prior to the contact occurring. The Person in Authority must make clear that he or she is requesting to touch the Athlete and not requiring physical contact
c. Infrequent, non-intentional physical contact during a training session is permitted
d. Hugs lasting longer than five seconds, cuddling, physical horseplay, and physical contact initiated by the Person in Authority is not permitted. It is recognized that some Athletes may initiate hugging or other physical contact with a Person in Authority for various reasons (e.g., such as celebrating or crying after a poor performance), but this physical contact should always be limited to circumstances where the Person in Authority believes it is in the best interest of the Athlete and when it occurs in an open and observable environment.
10. Any alleged violations of this Athlete Protection Policy shall be addressed pursuant to the Organization’s Discipline and Complaints Policy.