It unfortunately occurs frequently: boundary-crossing behavior. Even at Sovicos. But let’s do something about it together and take action now!
From research within sports, we know that boundary-crossing behavior exists in various forms, such as emotional, physical, or sexually unwanted behavior. Most reports unfortunately revolve around sexually boundary-crossing behavior, ranging from taking unwanted photos in changing rooms to unwanted touches, messages, or assault. Physically unwanted behavior can range from a fight to hitting with objects or intentionally causing harm. Additionally, athletes often experience emotionally boundary-crossing behavior, such as verbal abuse, discrimination, bullying, and intimidating language.
As a club, we find it important to address this issue. In this article, we not only want to raise awareness but also demonstrate how we can contribute together to a safer sports environment within our club and where to turn if you have experienced or witnessed something yourself.
There are specific groups that are extra vulnerable to boundary-crossing behavior, such as minors, LGBTQIA+, athletes with disabilities, and high-level/elite athletes. Some may find it difficult to defend themselves, others may be accustomed to crossing their own boundaries, or as children, they may have learned not to say ‘no’ to an adult. However, nothing justifies crossing another person’s boundaries. If you have experienced this yourself, talk about it. Even if you see it happening to someone else, it is essential to talk about it. Together, we can address this issue and ensure a safe environment for all Sovicos members.
Talk About It if You Experience Something!
Shockingly, 90% of sexual boundary-crossing behavior is never reported. Victims often feel ashamed or think it’s their fault. If you come across boundary-crossing behavior, talk about it and report it! At Sovicos, we have two confidential contact persons where you can turn to (possibly anonymously): Brenda & Vincent S.. Additionally, you can also contact the Safe Sport Center Netherlands by NOC*NSF, where you can find various contact details in addition to information about the topic. And of course, you can also approach the board/board members.
A Safe Sports Climate with the Four V’s
In our commitment to a safe sports environment, we embrace the four V’s for safety, as proposed by the Nevobo.
- Club-Wide Code of Conduct:
Our code of conduct provides guidance on desirable behavior. From rules on the sidelines to social media, we clearly communicate what our club stands for.
- Confidential Contact Persons:
In incidents of boundary-crossing behavior, our confidential contact persons are the neutral point of contact. They offer a listening ear and support, both in incidents and preventive measures. Read more about what a confidential contact person does here.
- Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG) for Volunteers:
As a club, we request a free Certificate of Good Conduct for all club volunteers. This helps avoid potential risks for athletes and those involved.
- Professionally Trained Coach-Trainers:
We recognize the importance of coach-trainers with an eye for tactics, technique, pedagogy, and integrity. Our coach-trainers can undergo training to ensure a socially safe sports environment while promoting sports enjoyment and engaging training sessions.
Together for a Safer Sports Environment
The confidential contact persons & board members of Sovicos and Nevobo, together with the employees of the Safe Sport Center Netherlands, maintain contact regarding reports and signals and record them in a file. This way, they can guide incidents and support those involved.
Are you hesitant or do you want to talk first without making a direct report? Then you can always turn to one of our confidential contact persons. Please note that a confidential contact person must report an incident to the board at all times. This can be done anonymously. Also, talk to your own surroundings, such as teammates, friends, parents, or parents of friends. Do you see something you’re unsure about? Doubt is understandable. We can interpret situations as more severe or less severe. Talk about it anyway!
Are you unsure about how to broach a topic? You can always talk to someone. Also anonymously. If you’re not ready to discuss it or you don’t feel comfortable, confide in someone in your surroundings. Make sure you don’t handle it alone. Together, we make the sports environment safer for everyone!