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B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

A number of leading sports groups in the province will come together this week to take a stand against child abuse in sport through a full day of education and planning that advances child protection.

Led by viaSport, the Province’s lead agency in strengthening amateur sport in British Columbia, this will be the first summit of its kind in Canada and organizers hope this puts B.C. at the forefront of addressing sexual misconduct in sports.

It will coincide with National Child Day, also happening this week, and partners like The Respect Group led by former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada will share their expertise to build and deploy resources to make it easier for hundreds of local and provincial sport organization to prevent sexual abuse of children in sport.

“viaSport is serious about uniting the sector to build a sport environment that is safe and inclusive for all,” says viaSport CEO, Sheila Bouman. “Just as we are seeing the impact of sexual misconduct in other industries, we know the risk in sport is real and we are committed to leading change to prevent abuse.”

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, ‘child sexual abuse occurs when opportunity exists and organizations fail to pay attention.’

“We know the risk to children decreases when effective policies and procedures are place,” says Bouman. “Our goal is to make it easy for sport organizations to adopt best practices around child protection by providing them with tools and training to implement change at all levels of their organization, and with administrators, officials, coaches, parents and athletes.”

National Child Day marks the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 1993, the Government of Canada enacted Bill C-371, otherwise known as the Child Day Act, and designated November 20th of each year as a national day of the child in order to promote awareness in Canada of the Convention. The Convention spells out the basic human rights to which children are entitled.

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