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1 Free Footie Soccer Society Abuse Policy The Free Footie Soccer Society has zero tolerance for all forms of abuse: verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual. This applies to all relationships within the society context – whether involving members of the Board of Directors, coaches, players, parents, volunteers, referees, or any other individuals that may be involved with society. Free Footie will act upon all complaints or reports of inappropriate behaviour. This Zero Tolerance Policy attempts to respect the rights of all individuals from real or perceived abuse. Furthermore, this policy acknowledges that Free Footie is an inter-school soccer league run by outside volunteers (the Free Footie Soccer Society). As such, the kids are playing on school teams, coached by staff members of that school or volunteers approved by that school. This means, in the event of an incident we, Free Footie, as seen in this policy, will report the incident to the appropriate schools for them to investigate, apply their policies and discipline. Free Footie will assist in any way and, if deemed necessary by the Free Footie Board of Directors, apply discipline from a programming perspective. Be aware all adults over 18 are legally obligated to report anytime they suspect a child is at risk of experiencing abuse. Those reports must be made to either the police, or child and family services.

Definitions of Abuse: 1. Verbal Abuse – Verbal abuse includes remarks that are rude or threatening in nature and demoralize or demean another person. Words that degrade another person constitute a form of verbal abuse. a) Verbal abuse includes, but is not limited to, racial or ethnic insults. All complaints of verbal abuse made to Free Footie will be reported to the appropriate schools and the Board of Directors has the right to report the incident to the police without consent of the victim. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention  shall  forthwith  report  the  matter  to  the  Director  [Children’s   Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs. 2. Physical Abuse – Physical abuse refers to inappropriate behaviour including, but is not limited to, actions such as punching, pushing, slapping, kicking, spitting or pinching another individual. All complaints of physical abuse made to Free Footie will be reported to the appropriate schools and the Board of Directors has the right to report the incident


2 to the police without consent of the victim. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention shall forthwith report the matter to the Director [Children’s  Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs.

3. Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse signifies the lack of sensitivity on the part of anyone associated with the Free Footie towards another individual. In particular, Free Footie officials (Board members, coaches, referees) should be aware of the power that is inherent in such positions and strive for sensitivity in dealing with individuals in positions of supervision (players, volunteers) and with parents. Emotional abuse includes, but is not limited, to racial, physical or ethnic insults. All complaints of emotional abuse made to Free Footie will be reported to the appropriate schools and the Board of Directors has the right to report the incident to the police without consent of the victim. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention shall  forthwith  report  the  matter  to  the  Director  [Children’s  Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs.

4. Sexual Abuse – Sexual Abuse shall be defined as: a) Any form of sexual contact without voluntary consent. This includes forced  oral  contact  (“kissing”),  touching/grabbing/groping,  oral  genital   contact  (“oral  sex”)  and  anal and vaginal penetration. b) Any of the above between at least one individual associated with the Free Footie and another person where the activity is not consensual or between a person associated with Free Footie in a position of power, trust or authority and a person under the age of 18. c) Any and all sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual relations with a minor d) Improper exposure of a child to sexual contact, activity or behavior. This includes exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, sexual touching, and the invitation to touch. e) behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature – Sexual Harassment To be clear, Sexual Harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favours or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment may occur in behaviours by males toward females or by females toward males,


3 between males, or between females. The behaviour does not need to be intentional for it to be considered Sexual Harassment. Examples of types of behaviour which may be Sexual Harassment include, but are not limited to: unwelcome attention or physical contact, including touching, pinching, patting, rubbing, or kissing; unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions, including repeated unwelcome invitations to socialize; leering, staring, gestures of a sexual nature; sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures; sexist joke(s), comment(s), suggestion(s) or innuendo(s) causing embarrassment or offence; sexually degrading words used to describe a person; the display of visual material such as pictures, pornographic materials, cartoons, graffiti or sayings of a sexual nature which is offensive or which one ought to reasonably know is offensive; derogatory or degrading remarks about a person's gender or sexual orientation; unwelcome inquiries or comments about an individual's sex life or sexual preferences; persistent unwelcome contact or attention after the end of a consensual relationship or otherwise; promise or threats contingent on the performance of sexual favours; decision-making affecting an individual that is contingent on the performance of sexual favours; conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment; verbal abuse or threats of a sexual nature; sexual assault; stalking. Free Footie will immediately report all complaints of sexual abuse to the appropriate schools. The Board of Directors will also report criminal acts against children to the police. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention shall forthwith report the matter  to  the  Director  [Children’s  Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs. **Please be aware that as well as reporting to the police everyone has the right to report incidents to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Reporting Guidelines and Procedures 1. Violations of the Zero Tolerance Policy should be reported immediately to Free Footie by the victim(s) and/or by those close to them (a parent, a teammate, a coach etc.). 2. A complaint can be communicated verbally, initially, to a Free Footie Board Member, but needs to be followed up in writing (letter and/or email) to ensure proper documentation of facts. If the complaint involves physical or sexual abuse, a Free Footie official will contact the police. The Board of Directors has the right to report the incident to the police


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5. 6. 7.

without consent of the victim. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in  need  of  intervention  shall  forthwith  report  the  matter  to  the  Director  [Children’s   Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs. As all teams playing under the Free Footie soccer program are schools from the Edmonton Public and Edmonton Catholic Schools Boards and all coaches are staff of the schools or volunteers of the schools and all players are students of the schools, any complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate participating school official, be it to the school,  school  board  or  the  board’s  legal  department. Free Footie will assist in anyway needed with an investigation. Free Footie will also consult with the school officials if discipline is needed from a programming perspective. For example,  a  team’s suspension from the league or the year-end the tournament, or rescheduling games to avoid conflict between players or coaches. All complaints of abuse will be immediately acted on by Free Footie. All complaints to Free Footie need to be followed up in written form, however, Free Footie will immediately report criminal activities to the police without a written complaint. Any complaints of abuse will be kept confidential and regardless of the outcome, if a complaint is made, the complainant will be protected from retaliation (for example: a player being removed from the team or a competition).

Handling Incidents of Abuse during a Game (physical, verbal or emotional abuse) 1. The referee must stop a game if an abuse incident involving a coach, player or parent/spectator occurs during a game. 2. If a coach is the source of the abuse, the referee will terminate the game immediately. a. The incident shall be reported by the referee immediately to the Free Footie Board of Directors. b. Any other official witness to the abuse must also report the incident to the Free Footie Board. This includes co-coaches to the coach who is alleged to have carried out the abuse and opposing coaches who may have witnessed the incident. c. The Board will contact all those involved including the coach who is alleged to have carried out the abuse, the  coach’s  school and the opposing school if appropriate. d. Free Footie will assist the schools in any way possible to handle the alleged abuse under its policies. e. Free Footie will work with the school to apply any discipline within the Free Footie program (For example, re-scheduling games, suspending games, etc.) f. The Board of Directors has the right to report the incident to the police without consent of the victim. Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: Any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention shall forthwith report the matter to the Director [Children’s  Services]. The Board of Directors will follow up with schools to ensure appropriate action or reporting occurs.


5 3. If a parent/spectator is the source, the appropriate coach will be informed by the referee that the game will be abandoned unless the abuse ceases. If the spectator is not associated with either team, both coaches will ask the spectator to leave. a. IF THERE IS ANY QUESTION OF SAFETY TAKE THE CHILDREN INSIDE THE SCHOOL AND CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. b. The game will be restarted by the referee only if the abuse ceases. c. If the abuse continues, the referee will abandon the game. d. The incident shall be reported to the Free Footie Board of Directors by the referee in charge immediately following the game completion or abandonment. e. This incident must also be reported to the Free Footie Board of Directors by any other official witnesses to the incident (e.g. coaches). This may help in narrowing down who the problem spectator(s) was (were) so he/she/they are not a problem again. f. Free Footie will follow the steps outlined under point (2) of this section as well as those steps under the Reporting Guidelines and Procedures to address the incident. 4. In cases of physical abuse on a referee, a referee must be immediately contact the Free Footie Board of Directors. 5. Free Footie will report all incidents of a criminal nature immediately to police.

This Zero Tolerance Policy applies to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

All Directors All coaches All players All parents All referees All volunteers All service providers having contact with anyone associated with Free Footie.

This Zero Tolerance Policy will be posted on the Free Footie website at all times.


Free Footie Abuse Policy