The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that it has taken an important step forward in the protection of athletes from harassment and abuse in sport in time for this summer’s Olympic Games Rio 2016.
In line with the reforms of 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), a clear structure will be in place in Rio for participants to report any incident of harassment or abuse. This procedure will be coordinated by an IOC Welfare Officer, who shall be on site in the Village during the Games. All reported incidents will be dealt with through a confidential procedure linked to local law enforcement agencies and relevant disciplinary channels.
The Olympic Games Rio 2016 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. Reporting guidelines have already been shared with all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) attending the Games.
In addition, guidelines for all NOCs and International Federations (IFs) to implement their own policies to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport have been developed by the IOC in collaboration with leading stakeholders from the Olympic Movement. These guidelines were approved by the IOC Executive Board on 1 June 2016 and are aimed at further assisting IFs and NOCs in protecting their athletes.
The IOC considers the topic of harassment and abuse in sport as a very real danger that requires the commitment and unity of sports organisations worldwide to combat. As such, a toolkit will be developed following the Olympic Games Rio 2016 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.
The IOC Consensus Statement: Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport (2006) states 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.”
Further information regarding the protection of athletes from harassment and abuse in sport can be found on the Safe Sport section of the Olympic Athletes’ Hub.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.