Member Protection Policy
WODEN VALLEY GYMNASTICS CLUB
MEMBER PROTECTION POLICY
Description of revision
Initial Draft for comments
Update of Policy
Statement of adoption
The Woden Valley Gymnastics Club Inc (WVGC) supports the Gymnastics Australia’s (GA) Member Protection Policy and adopts it wholly as the Club’s Member Protection Policy. For the purposes of this Member Protection Policy any references to GA should also be read as references to Woden Valley Gymnastics Club Inc.
The Committee of the WVGC is committed to providing a sport and work environment free of harassment. We believe that anyone who works for us or represents us, and everyone with whom we deal, has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. The Committee will not tolerate harassment in our organisation. We will take all complaints of harassment seriously, and will ensure they are dealt with promptly, seriously, sensitively and confidentially. Disciplinary action can be taken against a person who is found in breach of the Member Protection Policy.
This Policy applies equally to members involved in each of GA’s Gymsports, including Men’s Gymnastics, Women’s Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Gymnastics for All, Sport Aerobics, Trampoline Sports and Sports Acrobatics.
This policy applies to behaviour occurring both within and outside the course of the business, activities and events of WVGC, when the behavior involves individuals associated with WVGC and negatively affects relationships within the sport of gymnastics and the work environment.
This Policy applies to all members of WVGC, employees, officers, administrators, volunteers, coaches, judges, athletes and officials (Members). Harassment may occur, for example, from:
- coach to athlete,
- athlete to coach,
- athlete to athlete,
- coach to coach,
- coach to administrator,
- administrator to coach,
- administrator to employee,
- employee to administrator,
- athlete to administrator, and
- administrator to athlete.
Harassment is unlawful under federal and state/territory anti-discrimination laws. People engaging in harassment can have legal action taken against them under these laws. In some cases, legal action can also be taken against the organisation for which they work or which they represent. For this reason, WVGC has a legal responsibility to ensure that harassment does not occur in the course of any of our activities.
Responsibilities within the club
All members of WVGC are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to prevent harassment in our organisation and for ensuring our policy is well known throughout the organisation. This means we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that everyone in the organisation knows:
- what harassment means,
- that harassment is against the law, and
- that harassment will not be tolerated.
We are further responsible for ensuring that the policy and procedures are monitored and reviewed regularly.
It will be the responsibility of all employees, officials, coaches, volunteers, athletes and members to:
- comply with this policy;
- offer support to anyone who is being harassed and let them know where they can get help and advice;
- avoid situations where there is a one-on-one meeting, whether it be of the same or opposite sexes, within the gym, that is all meetings or coaching situations must ensure that at least three people (coaches, gymnasts and/or officials) are in the club at any one time;
- maintain complete confidentiality if they provide information during the investigation of a complaint; and
- avoid gossiping or spreading rumors about harassment (outside giving information as part of a legitimate investigation process). Such behavior can result in legal action for defamation.
CODE OF ETHICS
All members of WVGC are required to abide by the following codes and rules:
- Staff– Code of Ethics (Document 31)
- Parents – Parent’s Code of Conduct (Document 70)
- Gymnasts – Gym Rules (Document 58)
GYMNASTICS Australia Member Protection Policy
WVGC is committed to providing a sport and work environment free of discrimination and harassment (sexual or otherwise), where individuals are treated with respect and dignity. WVGC will not tolerate discriminatory or harassment behavior under any circumstances and will take disciplinary action against anyone who breaches this Policy.
WVGC is committed to ensuring that the safety, welfare and well-being of children are maintained at all times during their participation in activities run by GA and its member bodies. Accordingly, any person involved in the instruction, management or coaching of any member under the age of 18 years may be asked to undergo screening procedures including police and other probity checks.
MEMBER PROTECTION DECLARATION
WVGC requires all coaches working with people under the age of 16 years to complete a Member Protection Declaration Form (Document 75) enquiring into their background. This is compulsory.
Discrimination and all forms of harassment are unlawful under federal, state and territory law. People engaging in such conduct can have legal action taken against them under these laws. In some cases, legal action can also be taken against the organisation for which they work or represent. For this reason, WVGC has a legal responsibility to ensure that discrimination or harassment does not occur in the course of any of WVGC’s activities.
The law is always the minimum standard for behavior within WVGC and therefore any criminal offence will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
It is unlawful to treat anyone unfairly on the basis of various attributes or personal characteristics in key areas of public life.
- Marital status;
- Parental/Carer status;
- Physical features;
- Political belief/activity;
- Religious belief/activity;
- Sex or gender;
- Sexual orientation;
- Trade union membership/activity;
- Transgender orientation.
Indirect discrimination is also unlawful. This means that a member cannot impose a requirement, condition or practice that is the same for everyone, but which has an unequal or disproportionate effect or result on particular groups. Unless this type of requirement is reasonable in all the circumstance it is likely to be indirect discrimination, even if there was never any intention to discriminate.
Harassment can take many forms but can generally be defined as unwelcome verbal or written comments, conduct, or gestures directed toward an individual or group of individuals that the harasser knows, or should reasonably be expected to know, is insulting, intimidating, humiliating, malicious, degrading or offensive.
Sexual harassment is behavior that has a sexual element, which is unwelcome and could reasonably be expected, in the circumstances, in which it occurs, to offend, humiliate or intimidate the person or people at whom it is directed.
A member must not engage in any form of harassment, including:
- written, verbal or physical abuse or threats;
- unwelcome physical contact;
- the display of offensive materials;
- promises or threats in return for sexual favors;
- unwelcome sexual comments, jokes or propositions;
- homophobic comments or behaviors; or
- jokes or comments directed at a person’s body, looks, age, race, disability, sexuality, marital status or pregnancy.
WVGC takes the view that intimate sexual relationships between coaches and athletes, while not necessarily constituting unlawful harassment, can have harmful effects on the individual athlete involved, on other athletes and coaches, and on the sport’s public image.
Because there is always a risk that the relative power of the coach has been a factor in the development of such relationships, WVGC takes the position that such relationships should be avoided by coaches working at all levels.
Should a sexual relationship develop between an athlete and a coach, WVGC will investigate whether any action against the coach is necessary. If WVGC determines that the sexual relationship is inappropriate, action may be taken to terminate the coaching relationship with the athlete. Action may include transfer of the coach or, if this is not feasible, a request for resignation or dismissal from employment or coaching duties.
In the event that an athlete attempts to initiate an intimate sexual relationship, the coach must take personal responsibility for discouraging such approaches, explaining the ethical basis for such action.
The law is always the minimum standard for behavior within WVGC and therefore sex with a minor, of either the same or the opposite sex, is a criminal offence and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
A member must not subject any person to victimisation.
Victimisation means subjecting a person, or threatening to subject a person, to any detriment or unfair treatment because that person has or intends to pursue his or her right to make a complaint or support another person in making a complaint against another person.
Vulnerable People and Child Protection
Members must not employ or engage a person (whether paid or unpaid) to coach, engage in regulated activities or services or otherwise supervise vulnerable people unless the person is registered with the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS), if required to do so by reason of the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
This section specifies the roles and responsibilities of all members. In some cases, particular classes of Members have the additional roles and responsibilities that are also specified below.
A member must:
- comply with this Policy;
- make complaints about a breach of the Policy in accordance with WVGC’s Discipline, Grievance and Appeals Policy (Document 69);
- submit to the Grievance and Appeals Process if an allegation is made against that member;
- not make any frivolous or vexatious claim that another person is in breach of this Policy; and
- conduct themselves in a proper manner so as not to bring that member, WVGC or the sport generally into disrepute.
Administrators must ensure that the organisation he or she is employed or engaged by:
- provides and promotes an environment free from discrimination and harassment in relation to its employment functions, its membership eligibility and any supply of goods and services;
- distributes, promotes and implements this Grievance and Appeals Policy;
- encourages reporting of discrimination, harassment or child abuse, regardless of who the offender might be, and that appropriate training is provided to those who manage and implement this Policy; and
- deals with complaints in an impartial, sensitive, timely and confidential manner.
- comply with the Coaches’ Code of Ethics (incorporated in the Technical Membership Handbook);
- understand and respect that as a coach he or she has considerable power and authority over athletes and should not abuse it;
- avoid intimate relationships with athletes;
- not exclude or treat less favorably any athlete from playing or coaching activities on the basis of an attribute or personal characteristic;
- always assume that there are lesbian, gay and bisexual people on teams, and among the coaching and support staff, even if they have chosen not to identify themselves, and make it clear that the coach will not tolerate any prejudice based on sexual orientation; and
- avoid focusing on an athlete’s disability unless this is the only way that the coach can find out what adjustments the athlete requires.
Judges must comply with the Judges’ Code of Ethics (incorporated in the Technical Membership Handbook).
Grievance and appeals procedure
WVGC has developed a Grievance and Appeals Procedure to deal with any complaints about breaches of the Member Protection Policy and will do this promptly, seriously, sensitively and confidentially. WVGC recognises that natural justice is the minimum standard of fairness to be applied in the investigation and adjudication of a complaint.
Disciplinary action will be taken by WVGC against anyone who:
- is found to be in breach of this Policy;
- victimises or retaliates against a person who has complained of a breach of this Policy; or
- is found to have made a frivolous or vexatious complaint.
The disciplinary action will depend on the severity of the case and may involve any apology, counselling, suspension, dismissal or other form of action.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING
WVGC’s administration responsible for implementing this Policy will keep confidential the names and details relating to complaints, unless disclosure is:
- necessary as part of the disciplinary or corrective process; or
- required by law.
Complaint Handling Procedure
WVGC undertakes to deal with any complaints of a breach of the Member Protection Policy promptly, seriously, sensitively and confidentially.
At any stage, it is the prerogative of the Complainant to proceed with, or dissolve, a complaint.
Should a complaint arise, WVGC encourages the Complainant to consider the following options:
- approach the person creating the problem and ask him or her to stop the behavior; or
- if the behavior continues, or it is not possible to approach the person, contact either:
o coach or manager;
o the club’s Member Protection Information Officer; or
o president or other official of the Club or State association.
Initial Contact Officer
If the Complainant decides to proceed, he or she must inform the person he or she reported the matter to, the Initial Contact Officer, who is to refer the matter to the Member Protection Information Officer or designated person in authority for investigation.
Member Protection Information Officer
The Member Protection Information Officer determines whether or not to investigate the complaint.
If the Member Protection Information Officer determines to investigate, the Officer:
- informs the alleged wrongdoer;
- interviews both parties separately;
- keeps confidential records of the process;
- attempts mediation to achieve resolution; and
- follows up on the Complainant.
If no resolution is achieved, the Member Protection Information Officer gives all reports to the Disciplinary Committee, who determines the appropriate course of action.
If the complaint is not resolved, the Complainant may make a written complaint to an external organisation for mediation or arbitration. This can be done with the support of the Member Protection Information Officer.
If the complaint is upheld, a remedy will be prescribed by that external organisation.
The following documents are related to the implementation of the Club’s Member Protection Policy:
- Document 12 – WVGC How the Club Operates – on display in the main foyer;
- Document 31 – WVGC Code of Ethics – to be displayed in the foyer as a poster;
- Document 58 – Gym Rules – to be displayed in the gym and the foyer as a poster;
- Document 69 – WGVC Discipline, Grievance and Appeals Policy – available from the Main Office at any time; and
- Document 70 – Parent/Guardian Code of Behaviour – to be displayed in the foyer as a poster.