FIT Member Protection Policy
The Federation of International Touch (FIT), its National Touch Associations (NTAs) and affiliated associations are committed to the health, safety and general well being of all its members. The organisation is dedicated to providing a safe environment for members and providers participating in any FIT activities.
The Member Protection Policy aims to inform members and the community that FIT seeks to prevent all forms of harassment, discrimination and abuse and to promote positive behaviour and values.
Abuse, harassment or discrimination against members, by other members or an external source, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by FIT. FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations have a responsibility to provide safeguards to minimise member’s exposure to abuse, harassment or discrimination during their participation in FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated association’s activities.
FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations believe everyone who participates in its activities has the right to be treated with respect and participate in a safe and productive environment. They have the right to have their complaints addressed in a fair, equitable and confidential manner according to the complaints procedures outlined in this policy, and that disciplinary action will be taken against individuals if there is a breach of the policy.
Mr Erick Acker
Federation of International Touch Inc
- Part A: Member Protection Policy
- Purpose of this Policy
- Who is bound by this policy
- Organisational responsibilities
- Individual responsibilities
- Position statements
- Child protection
- Taking images of children
- Anti-discrimination and harassment
- Intimate relationships
- Gender identity
- Responsible service and consumption of alcohol
- Smoke-free environment
- Social networking
- Complaints procedures
- What is a breach of this policy?
- Disciplinary measures
- Dictionary of terms
- Part B: Code of Behaviour
- Part C: Employment/appointment screening / working with children check requirements
- Part D: Complaint Handling Procedures
- Part E: Reporting Requirements and Documents/Forms
- Related policies and documents
Part A: Member Protection Policy
FIT’s Vision, Mission and values
- FIT’s Touch Mission Statement is to facilitate the development and expansion of Touch globally, and to be widely recognized and accepted as the international sporting organisation governing Touch.
- Placing the sport in a position where biased thinking does not exist
- The sport’s development and growth is as important as tending to an individual’s needs.
Purpose of this Policy
This Member Protection Policy (“policy”) aims to ensure the core values, good reputation, positive behaviours and attitudes of FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations are maintained and enhanced. It assists FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations to create and promote a safe, fair and inclusive environment for everyone associated with our sport. It sets out our commitment to ensure that every person bound by the policy is treated with respect and dignity and protected from discrimination, harassment and abuse. It also seeks to ensure that everyone involved in our sport is aware of their key legal and ethical rights and responsibilities, as well as the standards of behaviour expected of them.
The attachments to this policy describe the practical steps we will take to eliminate discrimination, harassment, child abuse and other forms of inappropriate behaviour from our sport. As part of this commitment, the policy allows FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations to take disciplinary action against any person or organisation bound by this policy if they breach the policy.
As FIT is an incorporated organisation registered in New South Wales, Australia, and its operations are governed by the legislative and regulatory requirements of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the State of New South Wales, this policy has been written using the guidelines and template provided by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), Australian Government - ASC Member Protection Policy Template - National Version 9.1 (April 2016).
This policy has been endorsed by the FIT Board and has been incorporated into our regulations. This policy and/or its attachments may be amended from time to time by resolution of FIT.
Copies of this policy can be obtained from our website www.internationaltouch.org and from the FIT office. Policies are subject to review and change at any time. In the event there has been change, the policy will be updated and members notified of such change.
An alternate policy may be substituted for this policy where such alternate policy is required to be adopted by the NTA and its affiliated associations due to the requirements of any legislation and/or government sports agency that is relevant to that county and the NTA.
In which case, the alternate policy shall apply to the organisations and individuals set out in clause 2.1 above in relation to the activities of the NTAs and its affiliated associations provided that:
- where this policy provides greater protection to such organisations and individuals, and such organisations and individuals are aggrieved that such protection does not apply under the alternate policy in relation to any incident, they may apply to FIT to implement the Informal Complaint Resolution Procedure in this policy which shall apply to the NTAs and its affiliated associations; and
- where such organisations and/or individuals are involved in a FIT event (inclusive of but not limited to camps, training sessions, tournaments, meetings, etc) and there is a breach of this policy in relation to the FIT event, then this policy shall apply.
Who is bound by this policy
This policy will apply to as many persons as possible who are involved with the activities of FIT its NTAs and their affiliated associations whether they are in a paid or unpaid/voluntary capacity:
- Persons appointed or elected to International boards, committees and sub-committees.
- Employees of FIT.
- Support personnel, including managers, physiotherapists, psychologists, masseurs, sport trainers and others.
- Coaches and assistant coaches.
- Referees, umpires and other officials.
- Members, including life members of FIT and any other person to whom the policy may apply.
- NTAs and regions.
- Affiliated associations and associated organisations.
- Any other associations, such as Coaches Association, Players Association, etc.
- Parents, Guardians, spectators and sponsors to the full extent that is possible.
This policy will continue to apply to a person even after he or she has stopped their association or employment with FIT if disciplinary action relating to an allegation of child abuse against that person, has begun.
FIT must, and its members are encouraged to:
- Adopt, implement and comply with this policy recognising each NTA is bound by its own local laws and regulations which they are required to abide by.
- Publish, distribute and otherwise promote this policy and the consequences for breaching it.
- Ensure that this policy is enforceable.
- Promote and model appropriate standards of behaviour at all times.
- Deal with any complaints made under this policy in an appropriate manner.
- Deal with any breaches of this policy in an appropriate manner.
- Recognize and enforce any penalty imposed under this policy.
- Ensure that a copy of this policy is available or accessible to all people and organisations to whom this policy applies.
- Appoint or have access to appropriately trained people e.g. Member Protection Information Officers to receive and manage complaints and allegations of inappropriate behaviour and display their names and contact details in a manner that is readily accessible.
- Monitor and review this policy at least annually.
Individuals bound by this policy are responsible to ensure they:
- Make themselves aware of this policy.
- Comply with all relevant provisions of the policy, including any codes of behaviour and the steps for making a complaint or reporting possible child abuse as set out in this policy.
- Consent to the screening requirements set out in this policy, and any NTAs and their affiliated associations Working with Children Checks if the person holds or applies for a role that involves regular unsupervised contact with a child or young person under the age of 18 or where otherwise required by law.
- Place the safety and welfare of children above other considerations.
- Be accountable for their behaviour.
- Comply with any decisions and/or disciplinary measures imposed under this policy.
FIT is committed to the safety and well-being of all children and young people who participate in our sport or access our services. We support the rights of the child and will act at all times to ensure that a child-safe environment is maintained.
We acknowledge the valuable contribution made by our, members and volunteers and we encourage their active participation in providing a safe, fair and inclusive environment for all participants.
Identify and analyse risk of harm
We will develop and implement a risk management strategy, including a review of our existing child protection practices, to determine how child-safe our organisation is and to identify any additional steps we can take to minimize and prevent the risk of harm to children because of the actions of an employee, volunteer or another person.
Develop codes of behaviour
We will develop and promote a code of behaviour that sets out the conduct we expect of adults when they deal and interact with children involved in our sport, especially those in our care. We will also implement a code of behaviour to promote appropriate conduct between children.
These codes will clearly describe professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and unacceptable behaviour. (Refer to the attachments in Part B of this policy.)
Choose suitable employees and volunteers
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that our organisation engages suitable and appropriate people to work with children, especially those in positions that involve regular unsupervised contact with children. This will include using a range of screening measures.
We will ensure that Working with Children Checks are conducted for all employees and volunteers who work with children, where an assessment is required by law. If a criminal history report is obtained as part of their screening process, we will handle this information confidentially and in accordance with the relevant legal requirements. (Refer to the attachments in Part C of this policy.)
Support, train, supervise and enhance performance
We will ensure that all our employees and volunteers who work with children have ongoing supervision, support and training. Our goal is to develop their skills and capacity and to enhance their performance so we can maintain a child-safe environment in our sport.
Empower and promote the participation of children
We will encourage children and young people to be involved in developing and maintaining a child-safe environment for our sport.
Report and respond appropriately to suspected abuse and neglect
We will endeavour to ensure that all our employees and volunteers are able to identify and respond appropriately to children at risk of harm, and make a report if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected. (Refer to the attachments in Part E of this policy.)
Further, if any person believes that another person or organisation bound by this policy is acting inappropriately towards a child, or is in breach of this policy, he or she may make an internal complaint to us. (Refer to the attachments in Part D of this policy.)
Taking images of children
There is a risk that Images of children may be used inappropriately or illegally. FIT requires that individuals and associations, wherever possible, obtain permission from a child’s parent/guardian before taking an image of a child that is not their own. They should also make sure the parent/guardian understands how the image will be used.
To respect people’s privacy, we do not allow camera phones, videos and cameras to be used inside changing areas, showers and toilets which we control or are used in connection with our sport.
When using a photo of a child, we will not name or identify the child or publish personal information, such as residential address, email address or telephone number, without the consent of the child’s parent/guardian. We will not provide information about a child’s hobbies, interests, school or the like, as this can be used by paedophiles or other persons to “groom” a child.
We will only use images of children that are relevant to our sport and we will ensure that they are suitably clothed in a manner that promotes participation in the sport. We will seek permission from the parents/guardians of the children before using the images. We require our member associations and associations to do likewise.
Anti-discrimination and harassment
FIT is committed to providing an environment in which people are treated fairly and equitably and that is, as far as practicable, free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.
We recognise that people may not be able to enjoy themselves or perform at their best if they are treated unfairly, discriminated against or harassed.
Unlawful discrimination involves the less favourable treatment of a person on the basis of one or more of the personal characteristics protected by International and NTAs laws
The personal characteristics protected by anti-discrimination laws include attributes such as race, age, disability, gender and race. The full list of protected personal characteristics is in the Definitions set out in the Dictionary of Terms.
Discrimination can be either direct or indirect.
- Direct discrimination occurs if a person treats, or proposes to treat, a person with a protected personal characteristic unfavourably because of that personal characteristic.
- Indirect discrimination occurs if a person imposes, or proposes to impose, a requirement, condition or practice that will disadvantage a person with a protected personal characteristic and that requirement, condition or practice is not reasonable.
For the purposes of determining discrimination, the offender’s awareness and motive are irrelevant.
Harassment is any unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical, that intimidates, offends or humiliates another person and which happens because a person has a certain personal characteristic protected by FIT or its NTAs anti-discrimination legislation.
The offensive behaviour does not have to take place a number of times, a single incident can constitute harassment.
Sexual harassment is one type of harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct, remarks or innuendo of a sexual nature. It covers a wide range of behaviours and can be verbal, written, visual or physical. Sexual harassment is not limited to members of the opposite sex.
Prohibition against discrimination and harassment
We prohibit all forms of harassment and discrimination based on the personal characteristics listed in the “Definitions” set out in the Dictionary of Terms.
Any person who believes they are being, or have been, harassed or discriminated against by another person or organisation bound by this policy is encouraged to raise their concerns with us. A person may make an internal complaint, and in some circumstances, they may also be able to make a complaint to an external organisation. (Refer to the attachments in Part D of this policy.)
FIT understands that consensual intimate relationships (including, but not limited to sexual relationships) between coaches or officials and adult athletes may take place legally. However, this policy will help ensure that the expectations of coaches or officials are clear and, to ensure that if an intimate relationship does exist or develop between a coach or official and an adult athlete, that relationship will be managed in an appropriate manner.
Coaches and officials are required to conduct themselves in a professional and appropriate manner in all interactions with athletes. In particular, they must ensure that they treat athletes in a respectful and fair manner, and that they do not engage in sexual harassment, bullying, favoritism or exploitation.
We take the position that consensual intimate relationships between coaches or officials and the adult athletes they coach should be avoided as they can have harmful effects on the athlete involved, on other athletes and coaches and on the sport’s public image. These relationships can also be perceived to be exploitative due to the differences in authority, power, maturity, status, influence and dependence between the coach or official and the athlete.
We recommend that if an athlete attempts to initiate an intimate relationship with a coach or official, the coach or official should discourage the athlete’s approach and explain to the athlete why such a relationship is not appropriate.
If a consensual intimate relationship does exist or develop between an adult athlete and a coach or official, the coach or official is expected to ensure that the relationship is appropriate and that it does not compromise impartiality, professional standards or the relationship of trust the coach or official has with the athlete and/or other athletes.
In assessing the appropriateness of an intimate relationship between a coach or official and an adult athlete, relevant factors include, but are not limited to:
- the relative age and social maturity of the athlete;
- any potential vulnerability of the athlete;
- any financial and/or emotional dependence of the athlete on the coach or official;
- the ability of the coach or official to influence the progress, outcomes or progression of the athlete’s performance and/or career;
- the extent of power imbalance between the athlete and coach or official; and
the likelihood of the relationship having an adverse impact on the athlete and/or other athletes.
It will often be difficult for a coach or official involved in an intimate relationship with an adult athlete to make an objective assessment of its appropriateness and accordingly they are encouraged to seek advice from an identified Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manager or other official to ensure that they have not involved themselves in inappropriate or unprofessional conduct.
If it is determined that an intimate relationship between a coach or official and an adult athlete is inappropriate or unprofessional we may take disciplinary action against the coach or official up to and including dismissal. Action may also be taken to stop the coaching relationship with the athlete. This could include a transfer, a request for resignation or dismissal from coaching duties.
If a coach, official or athlete believes they are being, or have been, harassed they are encouraged to seek information and support from the Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manager or other official. Our complaints procedure is outlined in Part D of this policy.
FIT or its NTAs and their affiliated associations are committed to treating pregnant women fairly and to removing any unreasonable barriers to their full participation in our sport. We will not tolerate any discrimination or harassment against pregnant women.
FIT or its NTA and their affiliated associations will take reasonable care to ensure the continuing safety, health and wellbeing of pregnant women. We will advise pregnant women that there may be risks involved with their continuing participation in sport, and we will encourage them to obtain medical advice about those risks. Pregnant women should be aware that their own health and wellbeing, and that of their unborn child, is of utmost importance in their decision-making about the extent they choose to participate in our sport.
We encourage all pregnant women to talk with their medical advisers, make themselves aware of the facts about pregnancy in sport and ensure that they make informed decisions about their participation in our sport. Pregnant women should make these decisions themselves, in consultation with their medical advisers and in discussion with FIT or its NTAs and their affiliates
We will only require pregnant women to sign a disclaimer in relation to their participation in our sport whilst they are pregnant if all other participants are required to sign one in similar circumstances. We will not require women to undertake a pregnancy test.
If a pregnant woman believes she is being, or has been, harassed or discriminated against by another person or organisation bound by this policy, she may make a complaint. (Refer to the attachments in Part D of this policy.)
Gender identity means the gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of a person. This includes the way people express or present their gender and recognizes that a person’s gender identity may be an identity other than male or female. Some terms used to describe a person’s gender identity include trans, transgender and gender diverse.
Gender identity discrimination and harassment
Anti-discrimination laws provide protection from discrimination against people on the basis of their gender identity. (See definition in Dictionary of terms).
FIT is committed to providing a safe, fair and inclusive sporting environment all where people can contribute and participate. We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination or harassment of a person because of their gender identity.
All persons, regardless of gender identity, are entitled to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect at all times. We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination or harassment of a person because of their gender identity. This includes discrimination or harassment of a person who is transgender or transsexual, who is assumed to be transgender or transsexual or has an association with someone who has or is assumed to be transgender or transsexual. (Refer to the attachments in Part D of this policy.)
We expect all people bound by this policy to act with sensitivity when a person is undergoing gender transition/affirmation.
If any person believes that they are being, or have been, harassed or discriminated against by another person or organisation bound by this policy because of their gender identity, they may make a complaint.
Participation in sport
FIT recognizes that excluding people from participating in sporting events and activities because of their gender identity may have significant implications for their health, wellbeing and involvement in community life. We are committed to supporting participation in our sport on the basis of the gender with which a person identifies.
If issues of performance advantage arise, we will consider whether the established discrimination exceptions for participation in sport are relevant in the circumstances. Discrimination is unlawful unless an exception applies.
Drug testing procedures and prohibitions also apply to people who identify as transgender. A person receiving treatment involving a Prohibited Substance or Method, as described on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List, should apply for a standard Therapeutic Use Exemption.
FIT is committed to providing a safe, fair and inclusive sporting environment where all people can contribute and participate. We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination or harassment of a person because of their intersex status.
Responsible service and consumption of alcohol
FIT is committed to conducting sporting and social events in a manner that promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol. We also recommend that NTAs and their affiliated Associations follow strict guidelines regarding the service and consumption of alcohol.
In general, our policy is that:
- alcohol should not be available or consumed at sporting events involving children and young people under the age of 18;
- alcohol-free social events be provided for young people and families;
- food and low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks be available at events we hold or endorse where alcohol is served;
- a staff member is present at events we hold or endorse where alcohol is served to ensure appropriate practices in respect of the consumption of alcohol are followed;
- safe transport options be promoted as part of any event we hold or endorse where alcohol is served.
FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment at all sporting and social events that it holds or endorses.
In general, our policy is that:
- no smoking shall occur at or near sporting events involving children and young people under the age of 18. This policy shall apply to coaches, players, trainers, officials and volunteers;
- social events shall be smoke-free, with smoking permitted at designated outdoor smoking areas; and
- coaches, officials, trainers, volunteers and players will refrain from smoking while they are involved in an official capacity in our sport, both on and off the field.
FIT is committed to providing an environment that is free from bullying. We understand that bullying has the potential to result in significant negative consequences for an individual’s health and wellbeing, and we regard bullying in all forms as unacceptable in our sport.
Bullying is characterized by repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at a person, or group of persons, that creates a risk to health and safety. Bullying behaviour is that which a reasonable person in the circumstances would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine, threaten, degrade, offend or intimidate a person. Bullying behaviour can include actions of an individual or a group.
Whilst generally characterized by repeated behaviours, one-off instances can amount to bullying.
The following types of behaviour, where repeated or occurring as part of a pattern of behaviour, would be considered bullying:
- verbal abuse including shouting, swearing, teasing, making belittling remarks or persistent unjustified criticism;
- excluding or isolating a group or person;
- spreading malicious rumours; or
- psychological harassment such as intimidation.
Bullying includes cyber-bulling which occurs through the use of technology. New technologies and communication tools, such as smart phones and social networking websites, have greatly increased the potential for people to be bullied though unwanted and inappropriate comments. FIT will not tolerate abusive, discriminatory, intimidating or offensive statements being made online. Frustration at a referee, teammate, coach or sporting body should never be communicated on social networking websites. These issues should instead be addressed - in a written or verbal statement or a complaint
- to the relevant controlling club, league or peak sporting body.
If any person believes they are being, or have been, bullied by another person or organisation bound by this policy, he or she may make a complaint. (Refer to the attachments in Part D of this policy.)
FIT acknowledges the enormous value of social networking to promote our sport and celebrate the achievements and success of the people involved in our sport.
Social networking refers to any interactive website or technology that enables people to communicate and/or share content via the internet. This includes social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
We expect all people bound by this policy to conduct themselves appropriately when using social networking sites to share information related to our sport.
In particular, social media activity including, but not limited to, postings, blogs, status updates, and tweets:
- must not contain material which is, or has the potential to be, offensive, aggressive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory, obscene, profane, harassing, embarrassing, intimidating, sexually explicit, bullying, hateful, racist, sexist or otherwise inappropriate;
- must not contain material which is inaccurate, misleading or fraudulent;
- must not contain material which is in breach of laws, court orders, undertakings or contracts;
- should respect and maintain the privacy of others; and
- should promote the sport in a positive way.
FIT aims to provide a simple, confidential and trustworthy procedure for resolving complaints based on the principles of procedural fairness.
Any person (a complainant) may report a complaint about a person, people or organisation bound by this policy (respondent) if they feel they have been discriminated against, harassed, bullied or there has been any other breach of this policy.
In the first instance, complaints should be reported to the Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manager, CEO or official of an NTA or competition organizer.
If a complaint relates to behaviour or an incident that occurred at the:
- member level, or involves people operating at the member level, then the complaint should be reported to and handled by the relevant member association in the first instance
- Affiliated association level, or involves people operating at the affiliated Club level, then the complaint should be reported to and handled by the relevant club in the first instance.
Only matters that relate to, or which occurred at, the international level, as well as serious cases referred from the NTAs and association level, should be dealt with by the international body.]
A complaint may be handled informally or formally. The complainant may indicate his or her preferred option and the Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manager, CEO should consider whether that is an appropriate way to handle the particular complaint.. For example, the law may require that the complaint/allegation be reported to an appropriate authority.
All complaints will be dealt with promptly, seriously, sensitively and confidentially. Our procedures for handling and resolving complaints are outlined in Complaints procedure.
Individuals and organisations may also seek to have their complaint handled by an external agency under anti-discrimination, child protection, criminal or other relevant legislation.
Improper complaints and victimisation
FIT aims to ensure that our complaints procedure has integrity and is free of unfair repercussions or victimisation against any person making a complaint.
We will take all necessary steps to make sure that people involved in a complaint are not victimised. Disciplinary measures may be undertaken in respect of a person who harasses or victimises another person for making a complaint or supporting another person’s complaint.
If at any point in the complaint handling process the Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manager, CEO considers that a complainant has knowingly made an untrue complaint, or the complaint is malicious or inappropriately intended to cause distress to the respondent, the matter may be referred in writing to FIT, its NTAs or their affiliated associations for review and appropriate action, including possible disciplinary action against the complainant.
FIT aims to resolve complaints quickly and fairly. Complaints may be resolved by agreement between the people involved with no need for disciplinary action.
Mediation is a confidential process that allows those involved in a complaint to discuss the issues or incident in question and come up with mutually agreed solutions. It may occur before or after the investigation of a complaint.
If a complainant wishes to resolve the complaint with the help of a mediator, the Member Protection Information Officer, Complaints Manger CEO will, in consultation with the complainant, arrange for an independent mediator where possible. We will not allow lawyers to negotiate on behalf of the complainant and/or the respondent in the mediation process.
More information on the mediation process is outlined in Mediation.
In accordance with the FIT’s rules a Tribunal may be convened to hear a proceeding:
- Referred to it by CEO or other designated official.
- Referred to it or escalated by a National association because of the serious nature of the complaint, because it was unable to be resolved at the NTA level or because the policy of the NTA directs it to be.
- For an alleged breach of this policy.
Our Tribunal procedure is outlined in Tribunal procedures.
A respondent may lodge an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal in respect of a Tribunal decision. The decision of the Appeal Tribunal is final and binding on the people involved. Our appeals process is outlined in Tribunal procedures.
Every organisation bound by this policy will recognize and enforce any decision of a Tribunal or Appeal Tribunal under this policy.
What is a breach of this policy?
It is a breach of this policy for any person or organisation bound by this policy to do anything contrary to this policy, including but not limited to:
- breaching the codes of behaviour (see Part B of this policy);
- bringing the sport and/or FIT and its members into disrepute,
- failing to follow the FIT policies and procedures for the protection, safety and well-being of children;
- discriminating against, harassing or bullying (including cyber-bullying) any person;
- victimising another person for making or supporting a complaint;
- engaging in an inappropriate intimate relationship with a person that he or she supervises, or has influence, authority or power over;
- verbally or physically assaulting another person, intimidating another person or creating a hostile environment within the sport;
- disclosing to any unauthorized person or organisation to FIT, its NTAs or their affiliated association’s information that is of a private, confidential or privileged nature;
- making a complaint that they knew to be untrue, vexatious, malicious or improper;
- failing to comply with a penalty imposed after a finding that the individual or organisation has breached this policy; and
- failing to comply with a direction given to the individual or organisation as part of a disciplinary process.
FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations may impose disciplinary measures on an individual or organisation for a breach of this policy.
Any disciplinary measure imposed will be:
- fair and reasonable;
- applied consistent with any contractual and employment rules and requirements;
- be based on the evidence and information presented and the seriousness of the breach; and
- be determined in accordance with our constituent documents, by-laws, this policy and/or the rules of the sport.
Subject to contractual and employment requirements, if a finding is made by a Tribunal that an individual has breached this policy, one or more of the following forms of discipline may be imposed.
- a direction that the individual make a verbal and/or written apology;
- a written warning;
- a direction that the individual attend counselling to address their behaviour;
- a withdrawal of any awards, scholarships, placings, records, achievements bestowed in any tournaments, activities or events held or sanctioned by the relevant body
- a demotion or transfer of the individual to another location, role or activity;
- a suspension of the individual’s membership or participation or engagement in a role or activity;
- termination of the individual’s membership, appointment or engagement;
- a recommendation that the relevant body terminate the individual’s membership, appointment or engagement;
- in the case of a coach or official, a direction that the relevant organisation de-register the accreditation of the coach or official for a period of time or permanently;
- a fine;
- any other form of discipline that the relevant body considers appropriate.
If a finding is made that FIT, its NTAs and their affiliated associations has breached its own or this Member Protection Policy, one or more of the following forms of discipline may be imposed by the relevant body
- a written warning;
- a fine;
- a direction that any rights, privileges and benefits provided to that organisation by the international body or other peak association be suspended for a specified period;
- a direction that FIT cease to sanction events held by or under the auspices of that organisation;
- a recommendation to FIT that its membership of the international Body be suspended or terminated in accordance with the relevant constitution or rules;
- any other form of discipline that the national body or peak organisation considers reasonable and appropriate.
Factors to consider
The form of discipline to be imposed on an individual or organisation will depend on factors, such as:
- the nature and seriousness of the breach
- if the person knew, or should have known, that the behaviour was a breach of the policy
- the person’s level of contrition
- the effect of the proposed disciplinary measures on the person, including any personal, professional or financial consequences
- if there have been any relevant prior warnings or disciplinary action
- the ability to enforce disciplinary measures if the person is a parent or spectator (even if they are bound by the policy)
- any other mitigating circumstances.
Dictionary of terms
This Dictionary sets out the meaning of words used in this policy and its attachments without limiting the ordinary and natural meaning of the words. International specific definitions and more detail on some of the words in this dictionary can be sourced from the relevant International member affiliate nation child protection commissions or equal opportunity and anti-discrimination commissions.
- is a form of harassment and includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abuse of power. Examples of abusive behaviour include bullying, humiliation, verbal abuse and insults.
- Affiliated Association
- means a member association/club of a NTA
- means an organisation that is affiliated with FIT, its affiliated NTAs and their affiliated associations as well as a registered member of FIT, its NTAs and affiliated associations together with coaches, officials, paid or unpaid administrators and volunteers of those organisations.
- means a person who is under the age of 18 years (see also definition of young person)
- Child abuse
- means relates to children at risk of harm (usually by adults, sometimes by other children) and
is often by those they know and trust. It can take many forms. Children may be harmed by both
verbal and physical actions and by people failing to provide them with basic care. Child abuse
- Physical abuse by hurting a child or a child’s development (e.g. hitting, shaking or other physical harm; giving a child alcohol or drugs; giving bad nutritional advice; or training that exceeds the child’s development or maturity).
- Sexual abuse by adults or other children where a child is encouraged or forced to watch or engage in sexual activity or where a child is subject to any other inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature (e.g. sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, pornography including child pornography or inappropriate touching or conversations).
- Emotional abuse by ill-treating a child (e.g. humiliation, taunting, sarcasm, yelling, negative criticism, name calling, ignoring or placing unrealistic expectations on a child).
- Neglect (e.g. failing to give food, water, shelter or clothing or to protect a child from danger or foreseeable risk of harm or injury).
- means a complaint made under clause 7 of this policy
- means the person making a complaint.
- Complaint handler/manager
- means the person appointed under this policy to investigate a complaint.
- occurs when someone is treated (or is proposed to be treated) unfairly or less favourably than
another person in the same or similar circumstances because of one of the personal
characteristics covered by anti-discrimination laws. This is known as direct discrimination.
Indirect discrimination occurs when there is (or is proposed) an unreasonable requirement,
condition or practice that seems to treat everyone equally, but which has or is likely to have
the effect of disadvantaging persons with a personal characteristic covered by
FIT, is against discrimination against someone because of:
- sex or gender
- gender identity
- intersex status
- race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, nationality, ethno-religious origin, immigration
- disability, mental and physical impairment
- family/carer responsibilities, status as a parent or carer
- marital status
- pregnancy, potential pregnancy, breastfeeding
- sexual orientation and gender identity
- physical features
- irrelevant medical record
- irrelevant criminal record, spent convictions
- political beliefs or activities
- religion, religious beliefs or activities
- national extraction or social origin
- lawful sexual activity
- profession, trade, occupation or calling
- member of association or organisation of employees or employers, industrial activity, trade union activity
- defence service
- personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, any of the above characteristics
Examples of discrimination are available on the Australian Play by the Rules website.
Some exceptions to NTAs anti-discrimination law apply, including exceptions for sporting activities, such as:
- holding a competitive sporting activity for a specific age or age group (e.g. only those who are under the age of 15 years);
- excluding people on the basis of their ‘excluding people on the basis of their sex and/or gender identity status from participation in a competitive sporting activity where the strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant to the specific activity (note that this does not apply to activity by children who are under the age of 12 years); and
- not selecting a participant if the person’s disability means he or she is not reasonably capable of performing the actions reasonably required for that particular sporting activity
- Gender identity
- The term gender identity refers to a person’s deeply held internal and individual sense of gender.
- Gender expression
- The term gender expression refers to the way in which a person externally expresses their gender or how they are perceived by others.
- is any type of unwelcome behaviour which has the effect of offending, humiliating or
intimidating the person harassed. Unlawful harassment can be based on any of the personal
characteristics covered by anti-discrimination law, such as a person’s race, sex, pregnancy,
marital status or sexual orientation (see the list under Discrimination).
Public acts of racial hatred which are reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate are also prohibited. This applies to spectators, participants or any other person who engages in such an act in public. Some NTAs also prohibit public acts that vilify people on other grounds such as homosexuality, gender identity, HIV/AIDS, religion and disability (see also Vilification).
- Independent Mediator
- means a person appointed to mediate complaints made under this policy. It is preferable that the mediator has relevant skills, qualifications and/or training in mediation. The person’s / representative that are appointed must not be related to the issue and has no relationship to any individuals involved.
- The term intersex refers to people who have genetic, hormonal or physical characteristics that are not exclusively male or female. A person who is intersex may identify as male, female, intersex or as being of indeterminate sex.
- Intersex Status
- means a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
- means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years who is participating in an activity of FIT and/or its affiliated Members.
- means a registered member of FIT and its affiliated organisations, together with coaches, officials, paid or unpaid administrators and volunteers of those organisations.
- Member protection
- is a term used by the International sport industry to describe the practices and procedures that
protect members - both individual members such as players, coaches and officials, and the member
organisations such as associations, associations, other affiliated associations and the
International body. Member protection involves:
- protecting those that are involved in sport activities from harassment, abuse, discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behaviour
- adopting appropriate measures to ensure the right people are involved in an organisation, particularly in relation to those involved with juniors, and
- providing education.
- Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO)
- The Member Protection Information Officers (MPIOs) are the persons responsible for providing information and options to an individual making a complaint or raising a concern, as well as support during the process. They are not the person who investigates matters, advises or advocates for the complainant.
- Police check
- means a national criminal history record check conducted as a prudent pre-employment or pre-engagement background check on a person.
- this policy
- mean this Member Protection Policy.
- means the person who is being complained about.
- Role-specific codes of conduct
- mean standards of conduct required of certain roles (e.g. coaches).
- Sexual orientation
- The term sexual orientation refers to a person’s emotional or sexual attraction to another person, including, amongst others, the following identities: heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or same-sex attracted.
- Sexual offence
- means a criminal offence involving sexual activity or acts of indecency including but not
limited to (due to differences under NTAs legislation):
- Indecent assault
- Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse
- Sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16
- Indecent act with a child under the age of 16
- Sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16
- Sexual offences against people with impaired mental functioning
- Abduction and detention
- Procuring sexual penetration by threats or fraud
- Procuring sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16
- Soliciting acts of sexual penetration or indecent acts
- Promoting or engaging in acts of child prostitution
- Obtaining benefits from child prostitution
- Possession of child pornography
- Publishing child pornography and indecent articles.
- Transgender is an umbrella term that refers to a person whose gender identity is different to their physical sex as recorded at birth. Transitioning refers to the process where a transgender person commences living as a member of another sex. This is sometimes referred to as the person affirming their gender because transitioning means they start living in what they identify as their true gender. For people who are transitioning/affirming their gender, having their identity fully recognised in all areas of life is a crucial part of the experience of living as their affirmed gender.
- means treating someone unfairly or unfavorably, or threatening to do so, because that person has, or intends to, pursue their right to make any complaint, including a complaint under government legislation (e.g. anti-discrimination legislation) or under this policy, or for supporting another person to make complaint.
- means behaviour that occurs in public which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of a person or group of people because that person or persons have a particular personal characteristic. Anti-discrimination laws in Australia make it unlawful to vilify a person or group of persons on the basis of race, religion, homosexuality, transgender status and HIV/AIDS status.
- Young People/person
- means people in the 13 - 18 year age group
Part B: Code of Behaviour
FIT’s Code of Behaviour represents the essential essence of global sport principles of fairness, respect, responsibility and safety. The Code aims to ensure our core values, good reputation and positive behaviours and understanding attitudes are maintained and that everyone involved in our sport is aware of their legal and ethical rights and responsibilities.
This Code of Behaviour applies to all individuals and entities involved with FIT. The Core Code must be observed by all without exception. The role specific Supplement Codes are to be applied as additional requirements to the Core Code, to be observed by individuals while performing their roles.
Part C: Employment/appointment screening / working with children check requirements
We are committed to providing a safe environment for children. As part of this, we will recruit staff and volunteers who do not pose a risk to children.
Employment/appointment screening and Working with Children Checks can involve criminal history checks, signed declarations, referee checks and other appropriate checks that assess a person’s suitability to work with children and young people.
Working with Children Check laws are currently in place in numerous NTAs.
FIT including our NTAs and their affiliates will endeavour to meet the working with children check requirements of the relevant NTAs where an event is being held.
Individuals travelling with children and young people to another NTA in any related capacity must comply with the screening requirements of that particular NTA as well as the NTA of origin.
Part D: Complaint Handling Procedures
FIT is committed to supporting people associated with our sport to make and resolve any complaints they may have in a fair, timely and effective way.
FIT will deal with all complaints in a fair, timely and transparent manner. All complaints will be treated seriously.
We will provide individuals with an informal and formal process to resolve the matter, along with access to an external complaint handling body, based on the nature of the complaint and our rules and regulations.
We also provide an appeals process for those matters.
We will maintain confidentiality where possible and as provided in this policy and seek to ensure that no one is victimised for making, supporting or providing information about a complaint.
- Attachment D1
- Complaints procedure
- Attachment D2
- Attachment D3
- Investigation procedure
- Attachment D4
- Tribunal procedures
Complaints Procedure Flowchart
This flowchart refers to the procedure as detailed in Clause 7 and Part D and should be used as a guide in handling complaints. This procedure should be utilized at the level that the complaint has been made.
Part E: Reporting Requirements and Documents/Forms
We will ensure that all the complaints we receive, both formal and informal, are properly documented. This includes recording how the complaint was resolved and the outcome of the complaint.
This information, and any additional records and notes, will be treated confidentially (subject to disclosure required by law or permitted under this policy) and stored in a secure place.
We will treat any allegation of child abuse or neglect promptly, seriously and with a high degree of sensitivity.
We will ensure that everyone who works with our organisation in a paid or unpaid capacity understands how to appropriately receive and record allegations of child abuse and neglect and how to report those allegations to the relevant authorities in their NTAs or its affiliates.
- Attachment E1
- Record of informal complaint
- Attachment E2
- Record of formal complaint
- Attachment E3
- Handling an allegation of child abuse
- Attachment E4
- Confidential record of child abuse allegation
Related policies and documents
Refer to the following related policies and documents:
- FIT Code of Behaviour Policy
- FIT Conflict of Interest Policy
- FIT Constitution 2011
- FIT Referees Commission Policy
- FIT Volunteer Policy
This document has been authorised by: