ABC Vancouver announces plans to address misogyny, homophobia, and sexual violence in sport through groundbreaking ‘safe sport officer’ program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2022

VANCOUVER — ABC Vancouver announced today that an ABC majority on Park Board would initiate a groundbreaking voluntary ‘safe sport officer’ program to help promote safety and inclusivity within sports organizations that use Park Board fields and facilities.

“This is a groundbreaking policy and an opportunity for Vancouver to show national leadership,” said Brennan Bastyovanszky, ABC Park Board candidate and founder of the Vancouver Rogues Gay and Inclusive Rugby Club. “Today’s commitment is a major step in the right direction towards addressing issues around safety and inclusion.”

Systemic challenges regarding misogyny, homophobia, and sexual violence have been brought to the forefront by stories involving amateur, professional, and international sports organizations, The voluntary program would make safe sport officers available as an accessible resource to sports leagues, teams, and clubs that utilize Park Board-managed fields, parks, and facilities. 

“In light of recent international scandals, such as the ones affecting Hockey Canada and USA Gymnastics, we feel that Park Board has a responsibility to do what we can to promote a tolerant and welcoming culture,” continued Bastyovanszky. “To address deep-rooted challenges of misogyny, homophobia, and sexual violence, we need to ensure that all those who use Park Board facilities feel safe and welcomed.”

Safe sport officers will be able to provide independent oversight of league or club operations in addition to providing resources such as equity, diversity, and inclusivity training or assistance in the development of inclusivity-positive policies within organizations. Following examples of similar programs in Australia and the Netherlands, the safe sport officer program in Vancouver would be among the first of its kind in Canada.

“It’s one thing to talk about making our City a more inclusive, welcoming, and safe place,” concluded Bastyovanszky. “An ABC-led Park Board will commit resources towards making that a reality.”

ABC Vancouver is the only party in the Vancouver municipal elections running to win majorities on Council, Park Board, and School Board.

ABC Vancouver has nominated nineteen candidates for the October 15th municipal elections; Ken Sim for Mayor; Lenny Zhou, Peter Meiszner, Brian Montague, Mike Klassen, and incumbent City Councillors Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato, and Sarah Kirby-Yung for Council; Brennan Bastyovanszky, Laura Christensen, Angela Haer, Marie-Claire Howard, Scott Jensen, and Jas Virdi for Park Board; Alfred Chien, Preeti Faridkot, Victoria Jung, Christopher Richardson, and Josh Zhang for School Board.

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Media Contact:

Taylor Verrall

604-968-3067 | taylor@abcvancouver.ca

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