The Canadian Fencing Federation’s Commitment to Safe Sport

By Caroline Sharp February 19, 2019

The CFF is committed to ensuring that all participants in fencing participate in a safe environment.  CBC recently issued a news report that summarized the number of sexual offences in amateur sport over the past twenty years. In this report, the sport of fencing had one case listed.  Former National Team Coach Jean-Pierre Le Coz from Quebec was charged in the year 2000 for four indecent assaults of male athletes that had occurred in decades prior to the charge. Jean-Pierre Le Coz who is now deceased, was banned from the sport of Fencing and was charged for his offenses.

Please rest assured that the Canadian Fencing Federation is committed to ensuring that its athletes can participate in a safe sport environment and is taking steps to increase safe guards.   The CFF has taken the pledge of The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) (https://www.coach.ca/responsible-coaching-movement-s17179) committing to implementing supportive policies and processes that adhere to the three key areas of focus in Phase 1 of the Responsible Coaching Movement – The Rule of Two; Background Screening (Including Criminal Record Checks); and Respect and Ethics Training.

The CFF has implemented required criminal and vulnerable sector background checks for all certified coaches, staff, volunteers and activity leaders through MyBackCheck.com (https://www.sterlingtalentsolutions.ca/landing-pages/c/canadian-fencing-federation/).  All Fencing Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO’s), including clubs have access to the services of this system.

The CFF has also established the RESPECT in sport for Activity Leaders training which is a requirement for volunteers, staff and coaches directly involved in CFF programs. The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/Coach Program (http://respectgroupinc.com/respect-in-sport/) educates youth leaders, coaches, officials and participants (14-years and up) to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). The platform enables PSO’s to also access the training services for their clubs and members and the program is being launched this month.

The RCM web page also includes valuable resources for parents (https://www.coach.ca/for-parents-with-children-in-sport-p160715&language=en) including links to report suspected abuse.  Parents play a vital role in shaping the organizations in which their children are involved. By proactively supporting organizations to implement policies and procedures focused on protecting athletes and coaches from unethical behaviour, parents contribute to the ongoing development of our sport system and ensure a positive environment for all.

Finally, the CFF Board is currently reviewing policies and procedures and will work closely with national sport partners and agencies who are working together to create more effective reporting, screening and tracking policies for coaches. These new policies and procedures will need to be implemented at all levels within our sport to ensure that we work together to ensure a safe sport environment for fencers.

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