To: Gym Sask Member Clubs, Coaches, Presidents, Leaders
From: Klara Miller, CEO
Date: January 16, 2018
Re: Risk Management – Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Dear Clubs and Members:
As I am sure you are aware, there have been a number of high profile sexual misconduct allegations made against gymnastics coaches and support staff in both Canada and the United States recently.
These allegations are deeply concerning to everyone involved in our sport.
While these allegations are not reflective of the great work and tireless commitment of the hundreds of coaches, staff and volunteers in our sport, they do serve as a reminder of our obligation to be vigilant in ensuring a safe environment for all of our participants, and especially for our athletes.
Gymnastics Saskatchewan is actively working with Gymnastics Canada and our provincial counterparts, the Respect Group and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, in the development of supports, tools and resources that will assist clubs in enhancing their participant safety and protection/risk management practices. Please be vigilant in watching for updates on our or Gym Canada’s website, and to further emails in this regard.
As we continue our work in this area, it is important to ensure that as a first step, your club is compliant with the Gym Sask and Gym Canada requirement that all of your club coaches have completed both the Respect in Sport Training (RiS) and NCCP Making Ethical Decisions Training, as well as having a current police record check, now required to include a vulnerable sector check. These need to be filed with Gymnastics Saskatchewan and/or your club. Our screening policies for these checks have been mandated to member clubs and coaches/adults working with our athletes for a number of years now. We require that all our member clubs have these documents on file for any adults working with our gymnasts.
Clubs, please ensure you are compliant with these current, long-standing Gym Sask policies in place, and that anyone working with your gymnasts has submitted the required screening documents.
While not currently a requirement, clubs are strongly encouraged to institute screening as above for other club positions, such as club board members, owners, staff and volunteers who work closely with minor athletes and occupy positions of trust and authority.
In addition to the Gym Sask requirements above, the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) has recently been introduced by the Coaching Association of Canada. Both Gymnastics Saskatchewan and Gymnastics Canada have signed the RCM Pledge Statement and we are working towards aligning our policies, procedures and practices with the principles of the RCM.
One principle that I encourage you to review and strongly consider implementing (as endorsed by the CAC) in your own club operations is the Rule of Two. The Rule of Two states that there will always be two screened (valid Criminal Record Check in place) and NCCP trained or certified coaches with an athlete when in a potentially vulnerable situation. This is considered a best-practice, and I encourage you to take all reasonable steps towards following it in your club’s operations.
Gymnastics Saskatchewan is committed to supporting our member clubs in their delivery of programs and services that promote participant safety and protection, and we will continue to communicate with you as additional information, supports and resources become available.
We are planning our annual Gym Sask “Town Hall” meeting during 2018 Provincials in Prince Albert in May to present and discuss risk management and how to best implement and promote “safe sport” policies. More information to follow regarding time and location. All adult (19+) members and parents will be welcome to attend this meeting to discuss this important topic of concern.
Should any Gymnastics Saskatchewan member have concerns regarding possible situations of misconduct or abuse, I can connect you with supports and resources that will assist in taking the appropriate steps to deal with any issues, or help answer any questions you may have. I encourage you to contact me directly and confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 306-535-4778 (cell) 306-780-9229 (office).
Klara Miller, CEO