The prospect of women and girls experiencing violence in domestic as well as public spaces remains a challenge to women’s rights and their development. Sport is recognised as a domain in which empowerment and development can be advanced. Violence against women in sport therefore compromises this opportunity and the capabilities of women and girls to benefit and enjoy their rights to recreation, leisure, cultural activities and the right to a dignified life.
These Guiding Principles embody the aspiration towards a sport and recreation environment that is safe and open for all, especially women and girls, to participate in and benefit from the development objectives of empowerment through sport programmes.
The Guiding Principles
1: We shall strive to uphold the Human Right to Sport as a priority
The right to engage in sport, leisure, recreation and play is a fundamental principle which should be enjoyed by all citizens of all countries.
a) The primary motivation of our intervention and response to violence against women in sport is to eliminate barriers to participation in sport and to uphold women’s rights.
b) As institutions mandated to advance and implement sport we affirm and recognise the rights of women to enjoy sport and recreation and we will work to facilitate equitable opportunities to enjoy this right free from violence.
2: We shall respect and promote culture and custom that is in line with human rights provisions
In respect of human rights as the overarching principles for our actions and values;
a) We will endeavour in the communities and countries we are working in to respect the culture, structures and customs that uphold women’s dignity and empowerment
b) We will respect the behaviours, practices and beliefs relating to women and girls uphold women’s dignity and empowerment. (E.g Physical or verbal contact, apparel or activities)
c) We will identify, remove and prevent cultural practices that are a barrier to the intervention in violence against women in sport
3: We shall strive to develop our capacity to effectively and adequately respond to violence against women in sport
a) We will strengthen our capacity to deal with issues of violence by allocating required resources for handling of complaints and delivery of awareness programmes
b) We will establish a complaints procedure to allow registration of complaints in a formal yet sensitive manner considerate to the confidentiality, protection and respect of the subject of violence, the accused person and the persons who reports or provides information.
c) Where possible, we will work with established organisations and institutions with a focus on gender based violence as partners in planning and implementation, and co-operate with relevant government structures where appropriate.
d) We will place a high priority on developing our knowledge and awareness on violence against women and to recognise and intervene appropriately in situations of violence.
4: We shall strive to involve participants in the management of violence against women in sport
Addressing violence against women in sport effectively is dependent on the compliance of all participants to the recommended procedures and regulations.
a) We will endeavour to promote meaningful and lasting interventions through inclusion of all types of participants at the various levels of sport in the design, management and implementation of the prevention and response programme.
b) We will prioritise the input and experiences of subjects of violence in our interventions.
5: Our planning, management and activities will strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to violence as well as meeting basic safety needs
Our programmes, activities and interaction of various participants are a possible site or opportunity for violence due to the gender inequality in our society.
a) We will strive to develop and implement policies, procedures and practices which actively reduce female participants’ vulnerability to violence and help create sustainable norms and values.
b) We will pay particular attention to gender and cultural concerns in the design and management of our programmes.
c) We will also endeavour to ensure the physical facilities and activities are designed and run to minimise the prospects of violence.
6: In our information, prevention and intervention activities we shall recognize violence victims as dignified humans, not hopeless objects
a) We will ensure respect for the victim of violence as a dignified person with agency and rights should never be lost.
b) In our public information we shall portray an objective image of violence situations where the capacities and desires of victims are highlighted, and not just their vulnerabilities and fears.
c) While we will co-operate with the media in order to enhance public response and awareness of the interventions in violence against women in sport, we will not allow external or internal demands for publicity to take precedence over the principle of protecting the privacy and dignity of victims/subjects of violence.
7: We hold ourselves accountable to our partners, communities and sport participants on the prevention of violence against women in sport
a) We provide sport and recreation activities/services/opportunities to our participants and community members. We therefore hold ourselves accountable to all our stakeholders regarding our duty of care in respect of violence against women and girls in sport.
b) Our dealings with donors, partners and beneficiaries shall reflect an attitude of openness and transparency on the subject of violence against women in sport and our actions to prevent and respond to it.
c) We recognise the need to report on our activities, both from a quantitative perspective of instances of violence and the perspective of our actions, response systems and their effectiveness.
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