IOC vows to protect athletes from harassment, abuse
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will put in its best efforts in cooperation with experts from around the world to protect athletes from harassment and abuse at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will put in its best efforts in cooperation with experts from around the world to protect athletes from harassment and abuse at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, an athletes safeguarding programmes official said on Sunday. Susan Greinig, the IOC Safeguarding Officer, emphasized that the IOC is trying to find solutions to harassment and abuse of athletes. She said this has been the IOC's work since 2004, reports Yonhap news agency.
"The fact that sport is a microcosm of society, this (harassment and abuse) exists in sport," she said. "So, it's our responsibility as the IOC to find out why and how this happens. And based on that, we can find solutions." The IOC in November introduced a toolkit that presents step-by-step guidelines to safeguard athletes and support sports organizations to implement policies regarding the protection of athletes from harassment.
"With any subject like this, you have to raise awareness," she said. "To protect our athletes, we are educating them with our work material. We can help them to prevent, avoid and manage any situation like harassment and abuse." Greinig, who works in the medical and scientific department of the IOC, will be responsible for handling all reports of harassment and abuse during the games.
She will determine whether such reports should be further investigated and managed by local law authorities and other disciplinary channels. Greinig is the sole safeguarding officer at the IOC, but she said international experts will work with her at the Olympic villages in PyeongChang and Gangneung. "I'll say about 20 medically trained experts in their field of expertise are working with me," she said.
"Each of these colleagues of mine will brief in the early morning meeting. And I also brief them how they can be my 'soldiers.' We have medically trained people to first help (athletes) and make sure they're well looked after so that they can come to me and start the process." At the PyeongChang Games, there will be several sexual violence counselling centres, for which Greinig hailed the local organizers' efforts.
"My recommendation was that each organizing committee of the games should develop their own safeguard framework for their workforce," she said. "PyeongChang listened to me, and they have them (in place)."
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