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Old 11-02-19, 21:01   #1
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Movies Shocking Toll of Sex Abuse in Canadian Sport

The Shocking Toll of Sex Abuse in Canadian Sport, Tears Are Not Enough

A CBC News investigation has discovered distressing numbers around sexual abuse of young people in Canadian amateur sports, writes producer Lori Ward.

CBC, 11 FEB 2019.

When junior hockey coach Graham James' conviction for sexually abusing several of his young players made national headlines in 1998, it was supposed to be a major wake-up call for amateur sports in Canada. The case prompted demands for organizations to implement safe sport policies, including making it easier for child athletes to report abuse.

When the team from CBC Sports approached me in September of 2018 looking to report on the prevalence of sexual abuse in Canadian amateur sports in response to several recent high-profile cases in the United States, I braced myself for what the statistics would say.

We started by trying to compile data about the number of young athletes who'd been abused in Canada, but hit an unexpected roadblock the data did not exist in any consistent manner, and in many cases did not exist at all.

Most sports organizations don't publish the information on their websites. And police departments dont categorize these crimes by "coach" or "sport."

So we had to build a list ourselves.

We spent months visiting courthouses across the country and searching through thousands of court records and media articles, with often heart-wrenching details that are difficult to read.

After months, what finally emerged was a detailed portrait of criminal sexual offences committed by amateur athletic coaches in positions of authority across Canada.

The analysis found that a total of 222 coaches who were involved in amateur sports in this country have been convicted of sexual offences in the past 20 years. Those crimes involved more than 600 victims under the age of 18.

The charges spanned 36 different sports. They include offences such as sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child luring, and making or possessing child pornography. Most, but not all, of the victims were athletes training with the coach.

And while our research goes back two decades, we found that the problem persists today.
There are more than 34 cases currently before the courts.

Sandra Kirby, a former Olympic rower and a sociology professor at the University of Winnipeg, has spent her career studying issues around sexual abuse in sports. She told CBC News that these numbers are "just the tip of the iceberg."

Kirby explains that sexual abuse is a very under-reported crime. She estimates that there could be thousands of other cases out there where no-one has ever come forward, and says there needs to be a "massive reform across the sport system" to ensure every child who participates has a safe experience.

Tonight on The National we look at one sports community which has taken on that challenge. Well speak with a group of parents determined to get rid of any grey areas around appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, ensuring kids in sport are empowered and informed, and that parents have the tools they need to help spot the danger signs.

Sexual Abuse, Sports and Survival

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