By 12 April, 2021 - 11:12am 5 views
The Higher Sports Council (CSD ) began this Monday morning to give the training course on the prevention of sexual violence in sport. Due to the pandemic it is taking place online and will last 15 hours spread over four days. The objective is to train people who have direct contact with minor athletes and non-minors, familiarize them with the new protection protocol against violence , so that they know how and when to act, so that they become aware of these issues, so that they promote the guides of conduct, so that detection and prevention work is carried out. And also so that athletes have the tools to identify what abuse is, because sometimes they do not know how to identify it due to the (unbalanced) relationships of power and dependence that are created between the athlete and the coach
At the moment the course is aimed at staff internal CSD and the people who work in the CAR (High Performance Centers). In Madrid, of the 2,432 users of the facilities, approximately 21% are minors. In the Blume residence and in the CAR there are under five sports (golf, gymnastics, judo, table tennis and triathlon). There are 200 in total, who train and study at the facilities, and 42 interns. "A collaboration with the Federations is being planned so that the training impulse also reaches their protection delegates," explains Barbara Fuertes, deputy director general for sports and women, who has been in charge of launching the training course and negotiating the contract (It is a service that has been outsourced)
Ainhoa Azurmendi is the person chosen by the CSD to teach the course. A sports consultant, she is also a professor of psychology at the University of the Basque Country and has a postgraduate degree in sports psychology. It is the one that drafted the new protocol for the prevention, detection and action against sexual harassment and abuse that the CSD adopted in 2013 and updated at the end of 2020.
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“ The dividing line between what we believe to be clearly sexual behavior is not that far from some psychological abuse that is carried out with athletes . They are not watertight behaviors. The way workouts are developed has to do with this as well. Having tools for this is essential, but the crumb will be in the application of complementary measures, which has a lot to do with the prevention of risky situations. Also in knowing how to prioritize the application of these measures in the environment in which we have to work. It is not the same to be in a high-performance center than in the CSD itself, where cases come to you in a different way, ”he explained during the first three hours of class. He has put videos, practical examples and has interacted with the staff to try to answer all the doubts.
The course began the same week in which the new comprehensive protection law will be approved in Congress [this Thursday] the childhood. This, among many other things, toughens penalties and modifies the statute of limitations for crimes - which begins to apply when the victim turns 30 and not 18 as before -. The new law also dedicates a special chapter (IX) to sports and leisure. The network of High Performance and Technification Sports Centers obliges the Municipal Federations and Schools to have protocols for action against violence that include prevention, early detection and intervention. It requires the implementation of a monitoring system to ensure compliance with these protocols. And finally, it includes the request of experts and victims of abuse in sport to make mandatory the key figure of the protection delegate. That figure, until now and in most cases, was a person without any training and put there only to cover the position
33% of minors never tell anyone that they have suffered abuse
According to 2016 Council of Europe data, one in five minors in the general population suffers abuse. According to a study by the University of the Basque Country (Sexual abuse against childhood, a look from protection) 8% of boys and 20% of girls suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18. Only 2% know each other at the moment and only 3% of boys and 9% of girls ask for help. 33% never tell anyone; only 4% of boys and 7% of girls report it. Between 74% and 80% of abuses, always according to these data, are committed in the family environment. "So from the sports field we can say: if a certain percentage is mainly in the family sphere, we do not have to worry either ... It is quite the opposite", reflects Azurmendi.
Can the sports field be considered an extension of the family sphere in some cases? According to the experts in the field consulted by her, yes. In the case of minors, clubs or high-performance centers are the place where they spend the greatest number of hours. “They are closed and controlled spaces; they are almost more familiar than the families themselves ”, points out Azurmendi, who works in matters of protection of minors with the Royal Society and also with the Araski (basketball).
We can only talk about incidence because most of the cases are not reported nor are they reported, there is no unified registry (unlike violence against women, for example). That is why prevention is so important; That is why it is essential to have the capacity and training to detect. “In the Voice project that was carried out between 2017 and 2019, 72 athletes who suffered abuse related their experiences. 44.4% declared having suffered them when they were less than 12 years old, 25% between 13 and 15. 63% counted having suffered them in clubs, 16.7% in sports residences and 6.9% in sports halls. Federations. In individual sports, 52.9% of women and 19% men suffered abuse. Who committed these abuses? 77.8% coaches, 11.1% a club member and 5.6% an athlete from another team. These data tell us a lot and are very important to know where to focus prevention ”, explained Azurmendi.
codes of conduct The course –which also has a specific section for the LGTBI collective- is structured in four blocks: data on prevalence and incidence of sexual violence in sport, recruitment process [of minors] and how it occurs, detection and prevention and, finally, action. There will be practical work and videos in which behaviors that are considered normalized and are not shown
Hence the importance of codes of conduct to know what is good and what is not, to make clear duties and rights of athletes and coaches. The code of conduct approved by the CSD in the new protocol, for example, includes, for example, the obligation not to lock the weight rooms or that coaches never shower at the same time as children.
“An athlete of the elite told me in her day that since she was little she got used to the coach taking a shower with her… There are things that are considered normal and they are not; for example, sexist jokes during or after a workout. A coach can have different behaviors and options in the face of this: he can turn around, laugh thanks or if he thinks he is denigrating someone, silence those comments, "argues Azurmendi while insisting that awareness is essential to eradicate these behaviors and stop to consider them normal just because they have always been done.