MONTREAL | The independent officer created by the Quebec government to protect athletes in the event of abuse and harassment will have the power to exclude an abusive trainer and to alert the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) when minor is involved.
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As disclosed by The newspaper, Friday, the Minister for Education, Isabelle Charest, announced the creation of an independent officer for the handling of complaints which is enshrined in a new policy to counter abuse and harassment in sports.
- Listen to the interview with Minister Isabelle Charest on QUB radio
The investment of $ 1.4 million also includes extended support for the Research Chair in Safety and Integrity in Sports at Laval University as well as additional funding for Sport’Aide to support young victimized athletes. episodes of violence.
“This statement is a direct response to terrible stories that have tarnished the journey of many athletes. I am thinking in particular of the infamous Bertrand Charest case, which outraged us all, ”declared Minister Charest, herself a former speed skater on the international scene.
Outside the federation
The independent officer will be under the supervision of the Regroupement Loisir et Sport du Québec (RLSQ), which will be responsible for handling complaints from athletes from all sports federations, regardless of the level of the athletes involved.
Cases of sexual assault must be reported to the police. The sanctions provided for by the federations could also be applied depending on the nature of the complaints through a committee of experts. At present, the complaints are handled according to a “variable geometry” by the different sports federations, according to the minister.
“Complaints weren’t made out of fear of reprisal. Those who dealt with the complaints were directly involved in the sport, and for an athlete that might mean that the athlete would be left out of the team. With a mechanism that is completely outside the federation, it will generate a lot of confidence for the athletes […]», Assured the triple Olympic medalist at a press conference.
Victims will be able to file a complaint online by filling out a form which will be clearly identified on the website of all the federations. They can also go through Sport’Aide via a crisis line.
“What is important is to have the power of denunciation on the part of our victims. Not to wait years to resolve harmful situations in our field of sport, ”said RLSQ President and CEO Sylvain B. Lalonde.
Even though athletes playing in Canadian federations are not under the jurisdiction of the provincial ministry, they will not be left behind by this new policy.
“It is important to send the message to all Quebec athletes who train in Quebec who are on the national or international scene that this place will also be open to file a complaint.
“The only difference is that we will determine the field of competence […] If it is at the national level, we will question the national federations of the situation. We will not let the athletes down, ”promised Mr. Lalonde.
The Minister indicated that discussions were underway with the federal government on this subject. President of AthletesCAN, the association of national team athletes, Pierre-Luc Laliberté hopes that a similar mechanism will emerge for the whole country.
“It will be interesting to see the linkage between this provincial mechanism and the national mechanism when it is in place. I have the impression that Canada is a few months behind Quebec. Report due out soon on federally recommended model […] This is good news for Quebec athletes, because there is a fear that if you raise your hand, it will have a negative impact on your career, ”he confided to the author of these lines.
Moreover, Mme Charest is hopeful that sports practice among young people will resume before January in the red zone. “There are adaptations that are still possible. We are working with Public Health for a small recovery. “
INCREASED POWERS TO COUNTER ABUSE
- The DPJ informed of all cases involving minors
- Sexual assault cases reported to police
- Exclusion of an active trainer during the proceedings
- Offer of mediation in certain cases
- Hearing for the parties involved
- Sanctions recommended by an independent committee
$ 1.4M in total
- $ 800,000 for research projects related to violence in sports
- $ 850,000 for a healthy and safe practice in a pandemic
- $ 187,500 for Sport’Aide