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POLICY MEASURES AND LEGISLATION COMBATTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN FLEMISH SPORTS FEDERATIONS 

 

 

Country: Flanders – Belgium

Organisation responsible: Sport Vlaanderen (Flanders Sports Agency) – Centre Ethics in Sport

Main topic addressed: Preventing gender-based violence

Type of resource/practice: Legislation and policy


Discipline: Multi-sport

Target group(s): Flemish sport federations

Timing: Ongoing

Language: Dutch

Brief description of the practice: Six policy measures were laid down in the co-operation agreements between the subsidised sports federations and Flanders Sports Agency. The sports federation commits to implementing this step-by-step and stimulating its policy up to the field (club level). By 2021, the implementation of an integrity policy will in any case be a subsidy condition in the law on the recognition and subsidisation of sports federations.

Content and objectives: 

The framework consists of the following objectives:

  • The sports federation appoints an integrity contact person, who can take a leading role around the theme and participate in a network of federation contact points that will be guided and supported by the Centre Ethics in Sport. The sports federation works towards at least a stimulating policy for low-threshold confidence figures on the ground.
  • The sports federation gives the theme continuous attention in the field of prevention, education and awareness-raising.
  • The sports federation provides an advisory role that can provide internal (proactive / reactive) advice on ethical issues, for example through the setup of an ethics committee. The federation can approach this from a broader perspective of healthy and ethical sports. This can be done in co-operation with other federations or cross-federation.
  • The sports federation determines the target groups for which codes of conduct, in which the integrity of the individual (physical, psychological and sexual) is guaranteed, are developed and implemented, and determines the scope of these codes per target group or context.
  • The sports federation has a reaction protocol, preferably embedded in a broader complaints’ management procedure, so that a clear step-by-step plan, procedure and process is available in the event of concerns, questions or reports.
  • The sports federation provides, or can refer to, a disciplinary system that can act in a protective and sanctioning way.

This framework will be implemented as a subsidy condition in the law on the recognition and subsidisation of sports federations.

Steps/activities of the practice: To aid the implementation of the policy measures, Flanders Sports Agency supported the federations by investing in legal support, the development of model documents, and the availability of coaching by reinforcing the role of a supporting organisation, Centre Ethics in Sport.
First of all, the work needed to be done at federation level, before you can focus on the sports club level.
However, being a total package (focusing on one policy measure isn’t enough and one needs to implement the whole framework), some chronological order has been added to the measures, with the disciplinary system as the final and more difficult element to implement.

Resources required: 

  • Leadership: The #metoo momentum, political pressure and leadership shown by management in the sports sector that action is required.
  • Content: Development of tools, model documents to implement the objectives, together with legal support and expertise.
  • Coaching: Expertise, support and coaching for the federations to implement the framework.
  • Finance: Not the most important resource, but still in a voluntary based sports system there is a need for some financial support to aid the process under steps 2 and 3.
  • Time: The process takes some time, despite the urgency of the topic and public pressure.

Achievements and outcomes: By implementing this framework, we aim to reinforce federations’ policies at three levels: structural/quality policy, prevention policy and reaction policy. In order to prevent and react better to gender-based violence.

Challenges and limitations: Lots of federations are still voluntary based or have limited resources in staff and expertise in this matter. This needs to be understood and taken into account, which can be addressed by the supporting measures mentioned.

Follow-up ideas and future plans: By 2021, the implementation of an integrity policy will in any case be a subsidy condition in the law on the recognition and subsidisation of sports federations.

Further information: http://www.ethischsporten.be/ondersteuningSGG

Contact person: Jord Vandenhoudt – kics@sport.vlaanderen


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