(File photo)

(File photo)

B.C. commits $500K to address abuse in amateur sport

Funding will go toward viaSport’s Play Safe B.C. program

B.C. is stepping up to the plate and providing $500,000 towards programs to end abuse in amateur sports.

The funding will be directed to viaSport’s Play Safe B.C. program that addresses harassment, abuse, discrimination and other negative behaviours in amateur sports.

Work has been underway for the last few years to address negative behaviours.

All provincially funded sport organizations have adopted the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct, which sets out mandatory and prohibited behaviours for B.C amateur sport, almost 1,000 leaders and board members in amateur sport organizations have completed Commit to Kids training, a course by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection that aims to safeguard kids from sexual abuse, and 200 B.C. sport organizations have committed to the Coaching Association of Canada’s Responsible Coaching Movement pledge.

“Everyone has the right to be safe and to play in an environment free of harassment, abuse and discrimination. I believe in the transformative power of sport,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Through our partnership with viaSport, we are responding to a call to action, and we are committed to leading the way to safer sport experiences with the new B.C. Play Safe initiative that empowers the sport community to better recognize and prevent abuse.”

The province is also promoting the Canadian Sport Helpline (1-888-83SPORT), a federal referral service for victims or witnesses of harassment, abuse or discrimination in sport.

ViaSport said the new funding will go toward continuing their education and awareness programs to ensure all athletes, coaches, officials, parents and bystanders understand and recognize maltreatment and know what to do if they encounter or witness it. Leaders of sports organizations will also be offered skills training and resources to deliver safer sports experiences.

READ MORE: Ex-Vancouver Whitecaps women’s coach Birarda pleads guilty to 4 sex charges

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