Different Global Perspective towards Harassment in Sport@dminx
There is no doubt that the IOA Safe Sport Policy is a step forward from what the law-making bodies of India have done towards the recognition of harassment and abuse in sports in India. However, the IOC President has rightly expressed that – “the success of today gives you only the opportunity to drive the change for tomorrow.” And therefore, for India to have a robust mechanism against harassment and abuse, new inclusions and developments must be made.
The United States of America (“U.S.”), has come up with the U.S. Centre for Safe Sport (“US SafeSport”) which is an independent non-profit entity committed to creating and adjudicating a safe sporting environment among the U.S. sporting community, including but not limited to coaches, athletes (professional and amateur), parents, young and amateur sporting organizations.
The Government of Australia, on the other hand, has decided to lead the campaign against harassment and abuse by introducing a separate Child Safe Sport Policy. Additionally, a few Olympic national sports federations like Gymnastics Australia have introduced their own version of a child safe policy. Many of the Olympic sports like Swimming, Golf, Paralympics, under the guidance of Sport Australia, Sport Integrity Australia, ASADA, the Office of Sport and the National Integrity of Sport Unit, have committed themselves to achieve safe sport goals.
Thus, on the one hand, the U.S. Olympic Committee, by virtue of its Bylaws, has given full powers to the US SafeSport to work independently in safeguarding the playing environment in the U.S. And on the other hand, the Government of Australia has created various safe sport departments and has also given all national sports federations of Australia the responsibility of creating awareness and instituting preventive mechanisms against harassment and abuse in sports, while keeping the adjudicatory and policy making responsibilities to itself.
Furthermore, while Australia has given special and separate attention to child safety mechanisms, the US SafeSport and the Government of U.S. has decided to vest all matters of harassment and abuse of children (i.e. individuals under the age of 18 years) with the law enforcement agencies of the U.S. but has kept aspects of policy making and training, with the US SafeSport.
Giving independent authority to the US SafeSport, has ensured transparency and a more systematic mechanism for prevention, reporting and education of harassment and abuse in sport. This would no doubt instil a sense of assurance amongst all sections of the U.S. sporting community that the reporting and redressal of harassment and abuse matters shall be free from any power imbalance such as (but not limited to) that between the claimant and the organizer, within sports.