More than 200 coaches of amateur sport in Canada have been convicted of sexual offences against minors over the past 20 years, reveals Sunday a survey of the public broadcaster CBC.
According to this broad stroke of the probe covering the period 1998-2018, 340 coaches of young people were the subject of charges of sexual offences, which have resulted in 222 convictions for abuse against more than 600 young people under the age of 18 years.
The chain added that 34 additional case is the subject of proceedings still in progress.
To build its database, CBC/Radio-Canada indicates have scoured thousands of court records and visited many courts across the country, which has allowed the chain to paint a “portrait disturbing of the scale of sexual offences committed by coaches or people in a position of power in the canadian amateur sport for 20 years”.
For Sandra Kirby, a former olympic sports, professor of sociology at the university of Winnipeg and an expert on sexual abuse in sport, the figures compiled by the CBC could be only the “tip of the iceberg” because all abuse cases are not the subject of denunciations.
It is estimated that the sports organizations of the country cannot ignore these results, and that a “massive reform” is needed to ensure that all children engaged in a sport activity are able to do so safely.
Interviewed by CBC, Lorraine Lafrenière, head of the coaching association of Canada, for its part, has deemed it “heartbreaking” these results, noting that they show that “parents have a false sense of security when they leave their children in a sports club”.
According to CBC, the offences relate to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and the manufacture or possession of child pornography.
The convictions relate to the vast majority of men, 213 of 222, but the victims are all young boys and girls.
Hockey, a sport that is emblematic of Canada, has the largest number of coaches charged with 86 cases, of which 59 have resulted in convictions.
Soccer, which has the largest number of practitioners in Canada, arrives in second position with 40 accused persons, and 27 of them convicted, but all the sports are concerned, emphasizes the investigation of the CBC.
CHAREST SAID TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IN SPORT
The minister for Education and minister responsible for status of women, Isabelle Charest, said that the quebec government takes “very seriously” the issues relating to violence, harassment and bullying in sport.
Ms. Charest has made Sunday the comments following the release of a report joint CBC/Radio-Canada, according to which 340 coaches of amateur sport have been accused of a sexual offence during the past twenty years in Canada. According to the State-owned company, “222 these charges have resulted in convictions for actions to 603 victims were minors”.
“As minister, my priority will always be that the athletes can practice their sport in a safe and healthy environment. Quebec is a leader in Canada in regards to the means put in place to ensure their safety. We can always do more. As such, we are continuing our efforts with our partners, and everyone in the sports world share our concerns. It is necessary to acknowledge the efforts of past and future that we will build a sporting environment which is always safe and accessible,” she said by way of press release.
Ms. Charest has invited athletes with “the feeling that their safety and integrity are compromised, speak out, seek help and to report any inappropriate behaviour”.
She also recalled that the quebec government had put in place in 2017, the Program of recognition of sports federations in québec, which requires the implementation of a policy of verification of criminal history, that applies to all directors, staff and persons who, as volunteers, to act in their name. The canadian Press