Athletes First – Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in sport

The IOC Safeguarding Toolkit, a step-by-step guide to the development of policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse, was launched to the International Federations at the ASOIF Medical Workshop last week in Lausanne (SUI).

Among the speakers at the workshop was Dr Jenny Shute, member and secretary of the FIS Medical Committee, who gave an overview of the way forward for the International Federations in developing this important aspect of their remit and outlined her experience with this work in Great Britain. Representing FIS, Jenny was part of the wider ‘Virtual Task Force’ providing comments and support during preparation of the Toolkit.

The Toolkit was well received, and the International Federations jointly agreed a resolution to proceed to ‘Adapt and Adopt’ individual policies.

“Together, we have the opportunity to show leadership in the way athletes are treated with respect, with excellence and in friendship” said IOC member HRH Prince Feisal Bin Al Hussein, Chair of the Safeguarding Working Group, and a passionate advocate, who introduced the Toolkit.

Attended by representatives from around thirty IFs from the Olympic summer and winter sports, the workshop also featured sessions on Mental Health in Elite Athletes, and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), both of which provoked a great deal of discussion. It is interesting that the latter affects both men and ladies, and is seen in athletes in all sport disciplines, sprints as well as endurance events, and not only in events where body weight is important in classification.

The FIS Medical Committee will provide more information on all of these topics shortly.