INTERACTION BETWEEN CHILDREN/ADULTS
To establish a common understanding of expectations for adults interacting with children in our Association and create a sense of safety for those who need to bring forward any concerns of misconduct towards children. This policy applies to all SC Central Alberta members.
Sports offers incredible experiences and opportunities for children. These experiences are integral to enhancing child development. Positive experiences are tied to healthy relationships between athletes and coaches, as well as safe environments where adults are accountable for their actions and behaviours.
For the purpose of these Guidelines, a “coach” or “adult” refers to any person working, volunteering or otherwise interacting with children in sports. “Children” refers to anyone under 18 years old. These Guidelines does not address every situation, nor is it meant to be an exhaustive list of acceptable or unacceptable conduct. It is meant to provide a framework in which individuals are expected to exercise common sense and good judgment when interacting with children.
The Coach and Athlete Relationship: Coaches are in a position of trust, and it’s through professional boundaries that this foundation of trust between coaches and athletes is built. If boundaries are broken, that pillar of the relationship crumbles. The coach and athlete relationship is also characterized by a power imbalance in favour of the coach. Athletes are taught to respect and listen to their coaches, and they are dependent upon the coach’s knowledge and training to further develop their skills. Both trust and power can be used to breach the coach-athlete relationship, and often this happens through boundary violations, which occur when the adult places their needs above the needs of the child and gains personally or professionally at the child’s expense. The responsibility is always with the adult to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries with children.
Age of Protection in Canada: The age of protection (also called the age of consent) is the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity. The age of protection in Canada is generally 16 years old, but the Criminal Code increases that age to 18 in the context of certain relationships.
For all children aged 12-17: If the other person is in a position of trust or authority over the child (e.g., a coach, teacher, etc.), the child is dependent on the other person or the relationship is exploitative of the child, the activity that is sexual in nature in the context of such relationships is illegal. In these situations, only a person aged 18 or older is capable of consent.
Appropriate and Inappropriate Behaviour: Individuals working or volunteering in sports are expected to model behaviour that upholds public confidence and enhances healthy relationships with children and families.
Parents and Coaches: In response to meeting the child’s needs Parents and Coaches Play a Role. It can be difficult to respond to a situation where you notice a coach and athlete relationship that appears inappropriate. Reporting inappropriate behaviour creates accountability so proper action can be taken and expectations can be re-established.
Parents or coaches who have concerns should speak with that coach’s technical director. Parents and coaches should also have regular age-appropriate conversations with children about personal safety and boundary-breaking behaviour. Some topics to talk with children about are the qualities of healthy relationships, importance of personal boundaries, and how to get help/where to bring concerns. For this information and more, visit: kidsintheknow.ca/safetysheets.
If you are concerned about a sexual image that has been shared, visit Cyber2p.ca. This site has information for teens and adults. For more information on reporting inappropriate conduct and child sexual abuse visit commit2kids.ca/safesport.