“If in your opinion a person is behaving inappropriately or if you feel that you have been abused, discriminated against or harassed, then tell us.”
“It is our firm conviction that harassment in all its ugly forms, will not be tolerated!”
What is harassment?
- Verbally abuse you or anyone else
- Make racist or sexist jokes or comments, or jokes or comments about sexual preferences
- Look at or touch anyone in ways that make them feel uncomfortable
- Make uninvited sexual comments that offend, intimidate or humiliate
- Discriminate against or harass anyone else
Harassment of any kind denies people the right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness.
If left unchecked, harassment can create a hostile or unpleasant environment not to mention the negative effects it has on those directly involved.
In general terms, harassment is:
...behaviour by a person or people towards another that is offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening or unwelcome; the sort of behaviour a reasonable person would recognise as unwelcome.
Harassment can be either physical, verbal, sexual or emotional and most often involves a combination of these elements. It can also be based on issues such as sex, sexuality, race or disability.
Harassment can also be an abuse of power, where one person is in a position of power over another, or has the trust of another, and then abuses that relationship.
Some forms of harassment are illegal and can attract the attention of the police or other government agencies.
We all need to consider our actions
It is important for all of us to remember that not everyone views behaviour in the same way. For example a congratulatory hug or kiss might be perfectly acceptable to some but could make others feel uneasy and vulnerable.
Cultural differences can lead to behaviour or conduct which is acceptable and tolerable to some, but invasive, uncomfortable and even threatening to others.
It does not matter that a person did not intend their behaviour to be harassing or mean to abuse their position of power or trust. It is the effect of the behaviour on the other person that is most critical.
We all need to be aware of the ways in which our language, our actions and even our jokes can exclude, alienate or offend others.
What do I do if it happens?
If you witness, reasonably suspect or are the subject of an incident of harassment you are encouraged to report this to your club instructor or chief instructor. The complaint will be investigated immediately with the aim of resolving the matter as quickly as possible.
How will the report be handled?
Your report will be treated seriously and confidentially. Every effort will be made to protect all parties involved under the principles of natural justice and will involve the minimum number of people possible.
What action will be taken?
After the investigation, if it is found that harassment or discrimination has occurred and is of a minor nature, the instructor will then determine what reasonable action will be taken to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of those concerned. If however, it is determined that the severity of the harassment or discrimination has contravened a law the matter will be referred to the relevant authority that administers the relevant law.
Can I find out more?
Our organization has a formally written Member Protection Policy. This is available by clicking