Rowing PEI Abuse Policy
1. The following terms have these meanings in this Policy:
a) “Abuse” – Child/Youth Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse as described in this Policy.
b) “Discipline Chair(s)” – An individual or individuals appointed to be the first point-of-contact for all
discipline and complaint matters reported to Rowing PEI, per the organization’s Discipline and
c) “Individuals” – All categories of membership defined in Rowing PEI, as well as all individuals engaged in activities with Rowing PEI, but not limited to, athletes, coaches, mission staff, chefs de missions, medical personnel, officials, volunteers, helpers, guides, committee members, parents or guardians, and
Directors and Officers.
d) “Vulnerable Individuals” – A person under the age of 18 years old and/or a person who, because of age,
disability or other circumstance, is in a position of dependence on others or is otherwise at a greater risk
than the general population of being harmed by people in positions of trust or authority
e) “Workplace” – Any place where business or work-related activities are conducted. Workplaces include
but are not limited to, Rowing PEI’s work-related social functions, work assignments outside (Name of
Organization)’s offices, work-related travel, and work-related conferences or training sessions;
f) “Harassment” – comment or conduct directed towards an individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading, or malicious.
Types of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:
i. Written or verbal abuse, threats, or outbursts
ii. Persistent unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendo, or taunts
iii. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures
iv. Condescending or patronizing behaviour which is intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish
performance or adversely affect working conditions
v. Practical jokes which endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance
vi. Any form of hazing
vii. Unwanted physical contact including, but not limited to, touching, petting, pinching, or kissing
viii. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, requests, or invitations
ix. Physical or sexual assault
x. Behaviours such as those described above that are not directed towards a specific individual or
group but have the same effect of creating a negative or hostile environment
xi. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment to Rowing PEI
g) “Workplace Harassment” – Vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a Workplace that is
known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Workplace Harassment should not be
confused with legitimate, reasonable management actions that are part of the normal work/training
function, including measures to correct performance deficiencies, such as placing someone on a
performance improvement plan, or imposing discipline for workplace infractions.
Types of behaviour
that constitute Workplace Harassment include, but are not limited to:
ii. Workplace pranks, vandalism, bullying or hazing;
iii. Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or emails;
iv. Inappropriate sexual touching, advances, suggestions or requests;
v. Displaying or circulating offensive pictures, photographs or materials in printed or electronic
vi. Psychological abuse;
vii. Excluding or ignoring someone, including persistent exclusion of a particular person from work-
related social gatherings;
viii. Deliberately withholding information that would enable a person to do his or her job, perform or
ix. Sabotaging someone else’s work or performance;
x. Gossiping or spreading malicious rumours;
xi. Intimidating words or conduct (offensive jokes or innuendos); and
xii. Words or actions which are known or should reasonably be known to be offensive, embarrassing,
humiliating, or demeaning
h) “Sexual harassment” – unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not
i. Sexist jokes
ii. Display of sexually offensive material
iii. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person
iv. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life
v. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions
vi. Persistent unwanted contact
i) “Violence” – the exercise of physical force by a person that causes or could cause physical injury; an
attempt to exercise physical force against an Individual that could cause physical injury to the Individual;
or a statement or behaviour that an Individual may reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical
force against the Individual. Types of behaviour that constitute violence include, but are not limited to:
i. Verbal threats to attack
ii. Sending or leaving threatening notes or emails
iii. Making threatening physical gestures
iv. Wielding a weapon
v. Hitting, pinching or unwanted touching which is not accidental
vi. Throwing an object
vii. Blocking normal movement or physical interference, with or without the use of equipment
viii. Sexual violence
ix. Any attempt to engage in the type of conduct outlined above
2. Rowing PEI are committed to a sport environment free from abuse, harassment, and violence. The purpose of this Policy is to stress the importance of that commitment by educating Individuals about abuse, outlining how Rowing PEI will work to prevent abuse, and how abuse or suspected abuse can be reported to and addressed by Rowing PEI.
ZERO TOLERANCE STATEMENT
3. Rowing PEI have zero tolerance for any type of abuse. Individuals are required to report instances of abuse or suspected abuse to Rowing PEI to be immediately addressed under the terms of the applicable policy.
SCOPE AND APPLICATION
4. This Policy applies to all Individuals, relating to conduct that may arise during the course of Sport business, activities and events, including but not limited to; the office environment, competitions, practices, tournaments, training camps, social media, travel, and any work related meetings.
VIOLATIONS OF POLICY
5. An Individual who violates this Policy may be subject to sanctions pursuant to Rowing PEI’s Discipline and Complaints Policy. In addition to facing possible sanction pursuant to the Discipline and Complaints Policy, an Individual who violates this Policy during a competition may be ejected from the competition or the playing area, the official may delay the competition until the Individual complies with the ejection, and the Individual may be subject to any additional discipline associated with the particular competition.
6. Any Rowing PEI employee or member of the Board who violates this Policy will be subject to appropriate
disciplinary action, subject to the terms of Rowing PEI’s Discipline and Complaints Policy as well as the
employee’s Employment Agreement (if applicable).
EDUCATION – WHAT IS ABUSE
7. Children under the age of 18 and adults, who are in a position of dependence due to age, disability, or other circumstance, can be abused in different forms.
8. The following descriptions of Child / Youth Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse have been modified and
adapted from Ecclesiastical’s Guidelines for Developing a Safety & Protection Policy for Children / Youth /
Vulnerable Adults :
Child / Youth Abuse
9. “Child abuse” refers to the violence, mistreatment or neglect that a child or adolescent may experience
while in the care of someone they depend on or trust. There are many different forms of abuse and a child
may be subjected to more than one form:
a) Physical abuse involves single or repeated instances of deliberately using force against a child in
such a way that the child is either injured or is at risk of being injured. Physical abuse includes
beating, hitting, shaking, pushing, choking, biting, burning, kicking or assaulting a child with a
weapon. It also includes holding a child under water, or any other dangerous or harmful use of force
b) Sexual abuse and exploitation involves using a child for sexual purposes. Examples of child sexual
abuse include fondling, inviting a child to touch or be touched sexually, intercourse, rape, incest,
sodomy, exhibitionism, or involving a child in prostitution or pornography.
c) Neglect is often chronic, and it usually involves repeated incidents. It involves failing to provide what
a child needs for his or her physical, psychological or emotional development and well being. For
example, neglect includes failing to provide a dependent child with food, clothing, shelter,
cleanliness, medical care, or protection from harm.
d) Emotional abuse involves harming a child’s sense of self-worth. It includes acts (or omissions) that
result in, or place a child at risk of, serious behavioural, cognitive, emotional, or mental health
problems. For example, emotional abuse may include aggressive verbal threats, social isolation,
intimidation, exploitation, or routinely making unreasonable demands. It also includes exposing the
child to violence.
10. An abuser may use a number of different tactics to gain access to children, exert power and control over
them, and prevent them from telling anyone about the abuse or seeking support. The abuse may happen
once or it may occur in a repeated and escalating pattern over a period of months or years. The abuse may
change form over time.
11. Abuse of children or youth in sport can include emotional maltreatment, neglect, and physical
a) Emotional Maltreatment – A coach’s failure to provide a developmentally-appropriate and
supportive environment. Emotional abuse is at the foundation of all other forms of maltreatment
(sexual, physical and neglect). In sports, this conduct has the potential to cause emotional or
psychological harm to an athlete when it is persistent, pervasive or patterned acts (i.e., yelling at an
athlete once does not constitute maltreatment).
Examples of emotional maltreatment include:
i. Refusal to recognize an athlete’s worth or the legitimacy of an athlete’s needs (including
complaints of injury/pain, thirst or feeling unwell)
ii. Creating a culture of fear, or threatening, bullying or frightening an athlete
iii. Frequent name-calling or sarcasm that continually “beats down” an athlete’s self-esteem
iv. Embarrassing or humiliating an athlete in front of peers
v. Excluding or isolating an athlete from the group
vi. Withholding attention
vii. Encouraging an athlete to engage in destructive and antisocial behaviour, reinforcing
deviance, or impairing an athlete’s ability to behave in socially appropriate ways
viii. Over-pressuring; whereby the coach imposes extreme pressure upon the athlete to behave
and achieve in ways that are far beyond the athlete’s capabilities
ix. Verbally attacking an athlete personally (e.g., belittling them or calling them worthless, lazy,
useless, fat or disgusting).
x. Routinely or arbitrarily excluding athletes from practice
xi. Throwing sports equipment, water bottles or chairs at, or in the presence of, athletes
b) Neglect – acts of omission (i.e., the coach should act to protect health/well-being of an athlete but
does not). Examples of neglect include:
i. Isolating an athlete in a confined space or stranded on equipment, with no supervision, for
an extended period of time
ii. Withholding, recommending against, or denying adequate hydration, nutrition, medical
attention or sleep
iii. Ignoring an injury
iv. Knowing about sexual abuse of an athlete but failing to report it
c) Physical Maltreatment – involves contact or non-contact behaviour that can cause physical harm to
an athlete. It also includes any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct (e.g., child
abuse, child neglect and assault). Almost all sport involves strenuous physical activity. Athletes
regularly push themselves to the point of exhaustion. However, any activity that physically harms an
athlete—such as extreme disciplinary actions or punishment—is unacceptable. Physical
maltreatment can extend to seemingly unrelated areas including inadequate recovery times for
injuries and restricted diet. Examples of physical maltreatment include:
i. Punching, beating, biting, striking, choking or slapping an athlete
ii. Intentionally hitting an athlete with objects or sporting equipment
iii. Providing alcohol to an athlete under the legal drinking age
iv. Providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications to any athlete
v. Encouraging or permitting an athlete to return to play prematurely or without the clearance
of a medical professional, following a serious injury (e.g., a concussion)
vi. Prescribed dieting or other weight-control methods without regard for the nutritional well-
being and health of an athlete
vii. Forcing an athlete to assume a painful stance or position for no athletic purpose, or
excessive repetition of a skill to the point of injury
viii. Using excessive exercise as punishment (e.g., stretching to the point of causing the athlete
to cry, endurance conditioning until the athlete vomits)
12. Potential warning signs of abuse of children or youth can include:
a) Recurrent unexplained injuries
b) Alert behaviour; child seems to always be expecting something bad to happen
c) Often wears clothing that covers up their skin, even in warm weather
d) Child startles easily, shies away from touch or shows other skittish behaviour
e) Constantly seems fearful or anxious about doing something wrong
f) Withdrawn from peers and adults
g) Behavior fluctuates between extremes (e.g., extremely cooperative or extremely demanding)
h) Acting either inappropriately beyond their age (like an adult; taking care of other children) or
inappropriately younger than their age (like an infant; throwing tantrums)
i) Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
j) New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
k) Self-harm (e.g., cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
l) Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Vulnerable Adult Abuse
13. Although individuals may be abused at virtually any life stage – childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, or old age – the nature and consequences of abuse may differ depending on an individual’s situation, disability, or circumstance.
14. The following description of Vulnerable Adult Abuse has been modified and adapted from Ecclesiastical’s Guidelines for Developing a Safety & Protection Policy for Children / Youth / Vulnerable Adults .
15. Abuse of vulnerable adults is often described as a misuse of power and a violation of trust. Abusers may use a number of different tactics to exert power and control over their victims. Abuse may happen once or it may occur in a repeated and escalating pattern over months or years. The abuse may take many different
forms, which may change over time:
a) Psychological abuse includes attempts to dehumanize or intimidate vulnerable adults. Any verbal or
non-verbal act that reduces their sense of self-worth or dignity and threatens their psychological and
emotional integrity is abuse.
This type of abuse may include, for example
i. Threatening to use violence
ii. Threatening to abandon them
iii. Intentionally frightening them
iv. Making them fear that they will not receive the food or care they need
v. Lying to them
vi. Failing to check allegations of abuse against them
b) Financial abuse encompasses financial manipulation or exploitation, including theft, fraud, forgery, or
extortion. It includes using a vulnerable adult’s money or property in a dishonest manner, or failing to
use a vulnerable adult’s assets for their welfare. Abuse occurs any time someone acts without consent in
a way that financially or personally benefits one person at the expense of another. This type of abuse
against a vulnerable adult may include, for example:
i. Stealing their money, disability cheques, or other possessions
ii. Wrongfully using a Power of Attorney
iii. Failing to pay back borrowed money when asked
c) Physical abuse includes any act of violence – whether or not it results in physical injury. Intentionally
inflicting pain or injury that results in either bodily harm or mental distress is abuse. Physical abuse may
include, for example:
ii. Burning or scalding
iii. Pushing or shoving
iv. Hitting or slapping
v. Rough handling
d) All forms of sexual abuse are also applicable to Vulnerable Adults
16. Potential warning signs of abuse of vulnerable adults can include:
a) Depression, fear, anxiety, passivity
b) Unexplained physical injuries
c) Dehydration, malnutrition, or lack of food
d) Poor hygiene, rashes, pressure sores
17. Rowing PEI will enact measures aimed at preventing abuse. These measures include screening, orientation, training, and monitoring.
18. Individuals who coach, volunteer, or otherwise engage with Vulnerable Individuals involved with Rowing PEI will be screened according to the organization’s Screening Policy.
19. Rowing PEI will use the Screening Policy to determine the level of trust, authority, and access that each
Individual has with Vulnerable Individuals. Each level of risk will be accompanied by increased screening
procedures which may include the following, singularly or in combination:
a) Completing an Application Form for the position sought (which includes alerting Individuals that
they must agree to adhere with the organization’s policies and procedures (including this Abuse
b) Completing a Screening Declaration Form
c) Providing letters of reference
d) Providing a Criminal Record Check (“CRC”) and/or Vulnerable Sector Check (“VSC”)
e) Providing a driver’s abstract (for Individuals who transport Vulnerable Individuals)
f) Other screening procedures, as required
20. An Individual’s failure to participate in the screening process, or pass the screening requirements as
determined by a Screening Committee, will result in the Individual’s ineligibility for the position sought.
Orientation and Training
21. Rowing PEI will deliver orientation and training to those Individuals who have access to, or interact with, Vulnerable Individuals. The orientation and training, and their frequency, will be based on the level of risk, as described in the Screening Policy.
22. Orientation may include, but is not limited to: introductory presentations, facility tours, equipment
demonstrations, parent/athlete meetings, meetings with colleagues and supervisors, orientation manuals, orientation sessions, and increased supervision during initial tasks or period of engagement.
23. Training may include, but is not limited to: certification courses, online learning, mentoring, workshop sessions, webinars, on-site demonstrations, and peer feedback.
24. At the conclusion of the orientation and training, Individuals will be required to acknowledge, in written
form, that they have received and completed the orientation and training.
25. When Individuals interact with Vulnerable Individuals, they are required to enact certain practical
approaches to these interactions.
These include, but are not limited to:
a) Limiting physical interactions to non-threatening or non-sexual touching (e.g., high-fives, pats on the back or shoulder, handshakes, specific skill instruction, etc.)
b) Ensuring that Vulnerable Individuals are always supervised by more than one adult
c) Ensuring that more than one person is responsible for team selection (thereby limiting the
consolidation of power onto one Individual)
d) Including parents/guardians in all communication (e.g., electronic, telephonic) with Vulnerable
e) Ensuring that parents/guardians are aware that some non-personal communication between
Individuals and Vulnerable Individuals (e.g., coaches and athletes) may take place electronically
(e.g., by texting) and that this type of communication is now considered to be commonplace,
especially with older Vulnerable Individuals (e.g., teenagers). Individuals are aware that such
communication is subject to the Code of Conduct and Ethics
f) When traveling with Vulnerable Individuals, the Individual will not transport Vulnerable Individuals
without another adult present and will not stay in the same overnight accommodation location
without additional adult supervision.
26. Rowing PEI will regularly monitor those Individuals who have access to, or interact with, Vulnerable
Individuals. The monitoring will be based on the level of risk, as described in the Screening Policy.
27. Monitoring may include, but is not limited to: regular status reports, logs, supervisor meetings, supervisor on-site check-ins, feedback provided directly to the organization (from peers and parents/athletes), and regular evaluations.
28. Complaints or reports that describe an element of abuse, harassment, sexual harassment, workplace
harassment, or violence will to be addressed by the process(es) described in the organization’s Discipline
and Complaints Policy. However, the Discipline Chair will also appoint an Investigator to investigate the
29. The Investigator may be a representative or Director of Rowing PEI, or may be an independent third-party skilled in investigating claims of harassment. The Investigator must not be in a conflict of interest situation and should have no connection to either party.
30. Federal and/or Provincial legislation related to Workplace Harassment may apply to the investigation if Harassment was directed toward a worker in a Workplace. The Investigator should review workplace safety legislation and/or consult independent experts to determine whether legislation applies to the complaint.
31. Per timelines determined by the Discipline Chair, who may modify the timelines as described in the
Discipline and Complaints Policy, the Investigator will investigate the complaint (by interviewing parties and witnesses, and collecting statements) and will prepare and submit a Report about the allegations.
32. The Investigator’s Report should include a summary of evidence from the parties (including both statements of facts, if applicable) and recommendations from the Investigator of whether or not, on a balance of probabilities, an incident occurred that could be considered Abuse, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Workplace Harassment, or Violence.
33. The Report will be considered by the Discipline Chair or the Discipline Panel, as applicable, prior to a decision on the complaint being made.
34. The Investigator’s Report will be provided to the parties with the names and identifying details of any
witnesses redacted. The provision of the Investigator’s Report is conditional on the parties not distributing the Report to any third party without the written permission of Rowing PEI.
35. Should the Investigator find that there are possible instances of offence under the Criminal Code,
particularly related to Criminal Harassment (or Stalking), Uttering Threats, Assault, Sexual Interference, or Sexual Exploitation, the Investigator should advise the complainant to refer the matter to police.
36. The Investigator must also inform Rowing PEI of any findings of criminal activity. Rowing PEI may decide whether to report such findings to police, but is required to inform police if there are findings related to the trafficking of doping drugs or materials, any sexual crime involving minors, fraud against Rowing PEI or other offences where the lack of reporting would bring Rowing PEI into disrepute.
37. Should the Investigator “have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection”, the Investigator must inform Rowing PEI which must report the situation to the appropriate authorities (e.g., child protection services).
Reprisal and Retaliation
38. An individual who submits a complaint to Rowing PEI, or who gives evidence in an investigation, may not be subject to reprisal or retaliation from any individual or group. Should anyone who participates in the process face reprisal or retaliation, that individual will have cause to submit a complaint.
39. An individual who submits allegations that the Investigator determines to be false or without merit may be subject to a complaint under the terms of Rowing PEI’s Discipline and Complaints Policy with Rowing PEI, or the individual against whom the false allegations were submitted, acting as the Complainant.
40. The information obtained about an incident or complaint (including identifying information about any
individuals involved) will remain confidential, unless disclosure is necessary for the purpose of investigating or taking corrective action, or is otherwise required by law.
41. The Investigator will make every effort to preserve the confidentiality of the complainant, respondent, and any other party. However, Rowing PEI recognize that maintaining anonymity of any party may be difficult for the Investigator during the course of the investigation.
 Retrieved from: https://www.ecclesiastical.ca/guidelines_developsafetyprotectionpolicy_children-youths-vulnerableadults_faith/
 Adapted from: https://www.all4kids.org/2014/03/04/warning-signs-child-abuse-neglect/
 Adapted from: https://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm