Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - Sport

Frequently Asked Questions - Abuse and Violence Prevention

  1. I have a complaint about my sport/team/coach, who do I go to?

It’s best to work out disputes at the local level first by contacting your local sport club or league executive. If this doesn’t work, your sport’s provincial sport organization should have a process in place to resolve issues and disputes. Visit the Sport BC website to find the link to your provincial sport organization.

  1. My child is being harassed/abused in sport, what do I do?

While there are differing degrees of harassment and abuse, either can result in serious setbacks to a child’s enjoyment of, and participation in, sport and recreation activities. Encourage your child to talk openly to you about their activities and let them know that it’s okay to tell when something isn’t right.

If you have concerns about a specific situation, you should try to resolve it at your local level by talking to someone affiliated with the sport or recreation association, club, or league. If you feel the situation can not be resolved at this level, contact your provincial sport organization (visit the Sport BC website for contact information for provincial sport organizations). Sport BC also has a harassment policy and procedure set up to help resolve complaints.

If you suspect child abuse of a physical or sexual nature, report it to your local police and/or local Ministry for Children and Families office or call the Helpline for Children line at 310-1234 (no area code is required) or Crimestoppers Tips Line at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Also, children often learn by example. Whether it’s by their friends, team mates or parents, those around them have a tremendous influence on their behaviour. That’s why it’s important for parents and other adults to act appropriately. The SportSafe Parent Contract [PDF, 186KB] lays out the acceptable rules of behaviour of a parent in relation to their child’s sport or recreation activity.

For more information about preventing harassment and abuse in sport see the SportSafe resources in this website.

  1. Does my sport team/club require criminal records checks for coaches, parents and volunteers?

Under the Criminal Records Review Act, organizations that are licensed or receiving funds from the provincial government must have staff who work with children undergo a criminal record check. Fees for criminal records checks for people covered under this Act will be absorbed by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. While the Act does not currently include volunteers who work with children, many organizations will have criminal record checks performed on such volunteers, such as coaches, officials and chaperones.

Criminal record checks are done by local police and people undergoing criminal record checks must provide written permission.

Criminal record checks are an important safeguard – but it’s not the only one as information from criminal records checks only provides information about convictions and not about charges laid or being suspected of criminal acts.

Other screening measures include developing good policies and procedures for recruiting, selecting and supervising volunteers. Some volunteers, like coaches, have more access to children than others (e.g. route marshals, board members) and as such, more stringent screening and supervision procedures should be applied. For more information about screening, see SportSafe’s volunteer screening model  [PDF, 263KB] on this website.

While criminal record checks and screening are not foolproof, they are a good deterrent to those who fear a background check.

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