Sexual offences in amateur sport: the minister Charest is concerned

Délits sexuels dans le sport amateur: la ministre Charest se dit préoccupée

The minister for Education and minister responsible for status of women, Isabelle Charest, is very concerned with the statistics advanced by a report of CBC/Radio-Canada about sexual offences committed by the coaches in amateur sport over the past 20 years in Canada.

In a survey, whose first part was published on Sunday, CBC/Radio-Canada reports that 340 coaches of amateur sport have been accused of a sexual offence during the past twenty years in Canada. According to the State-owned company, “222 these charges have resulted in convictions for actions to 603 victims were minors”.

“I am very concerned by these figures. We still have a lot of work to do to make the children evolve in a healthy and safe environment, admitted the minister. We take care of the situation. (…) Actions have been taken in Quebec. We are also leaders, but we must do more for the children.”

Among the resources mentioned by the minister Charest, there is the site SportBienetre.ca and the charity Sport Aid.

“We already have these tools in place, but we need to advertise more,” said dr. Charest. We will meet the players in the field sports to go ahead in this case. (…) For me, one case is one case too many. There is no doubt in my mind that we must find solutions.”

The Sports ministers of the provinces and territories will join with the member for Brome-Missisquoi and the federal minister, dr. Kirsty Duncan, later this week in Red Deer, Alberta, before the launch of the Canada winter Games. Minister Duncan wants a substantial commitment by all partners to protect the athletes.

“It’s tragic and completely unacceptable,” said the minister Duncan about the figures put forward by CBC/Radio-Canada. There is no room for denial or for any period whatsoever. We need to be transparent and to work together in this folder. Young Canadians are counting on us.”

The majority of the cases identified by Radio-Canada/CBC come from the hockey and soccer, a situation that is deplorable Paul Ménard, director-general for Hockey Quebec.

“This isn’t up to par. From our side, it is zero tolerance. As soon as we receive any information in this sense, it removes immediately the coach in the community,-he said. We do not take any chance. What is important, is to react quickly. With Hockey Canada, the coach is stuck. I realize, however, in reading the results of the survey that we should share the information between the sports. There is a lack of this side.”

If several sports federations are already doing a criminal background check of coaches and volunteers in their respective sports, some observers are asked, in the light of the results of the survey of CBC/Radio-Canada, if more information should not be made public. Without being closed to the idea, the minister Charest recalled that some tools already exist.

“It depends on what kind of information and what kind of situations. There already is the national Registry of sex offenders, but it is for the convicted persons. We will discuss more with other ministers this week, but in Quebec, the discussion is already under way in 2017, so that we have a policy in place to prevent sexual abuse. However, we must continue to work on this issue.”

New tool

Ms. Charest was Monday in the offices of Hockey Quebec to promote the publication of the book Guide to case management in hockey, which aims to equip the various stakeholders that are faced with situations that are deemed unacceptable on the part of parents in minor hockey. The launch of this book was already scheduled on the agenda of the minister and was not in connection with the investigation of CBC/Radio-Canada.

In addition to drawing up the list of these unacceptable behaviours, the document established by Hockey Quebec in collaboration with Équijustice Arthabaska-Érable, offers practices to promote a positive climate and to prevent overflows, the roles and responsibilities of each, as well as the tools available to better manage problematic situations.

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