FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2023
Vancouver, Canada – In celebration of Pink Shirt Day, a day dedicated to promoting kindness, inclusion and preventing bullying, the Vancouver Park Board has announced its plans to address bullying in sports at its facilities.
While many important benefits can be gained from playing a sport, experiencing discrimination, harassment, and abuse can eliminate those benefits and cause long-term harm, particularly for marginalized youth. Unfortunately, research has shown that physical and sexual violence in youth sports is all too common, and recent abuse scandals across multiple sports in Canada have only served to highlight the issue.
As such, the Park Board recognizes the need to ensure that children can have positive experiences when playing sports at its facilities. While there are no government agencies currently monitoring community sports clubs in Canada to ensure children are safe, the Park Board believes it can make a meaningful difference by taking action in its own facilities.
The Park Board has asked staff to report on its current role and future roadmap to address bullying at its parks and spaces. It will also explore the possibility of implementing the recommendations made by an Australian royal commission and others, which called for local councils to be given additional funding to hire “safe sport officers” who would help sports clubs comply with child safety laws and eventually focus on compliance through audits, fines, and restrictions.
The Park Board hopes that by taking these steps, it can ensure that all children can have a safe and positive experience when playing sports at its facilities.
We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that children can play sports in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Park Board Commissioner Brennan Bastyovanszky. “We recognize that there is a problem with bullying in sports, and we are committed to doing our part to address it.”
The Park Board encourages everyone to take part in Pink Shirt Day and to help promote kindness and inclusion in all aspects of life, including in sports.