The BIU held a successful safeguarding webinar on 31 May, 2023.

Entitled ‘Keep Biathlon Safe’, the webinar covered the important topic of what organisations can and should do to prevent harassment and abuse and was mainly aimed at administrative personnel from National Federations. These included safeguarding officers and others responsible for safeguarding, or those with significant levels of contact with athletes and coaches.

The centrepiece of the webinar was a talk by Allison Forsyth from ITP Sport and Recreation, who shared her own experience of sporting abuse, and talked about how sports organisations can help minimise the risks of other athletes experiencing such traumatic abuse.

Kirsty Burrows from the IOC Safe Sport Unit also made an important contribution to the seminar, presenting the IOC’s mission and role in safeguarding to further strengthen safe sport.

Kirsty Burrows said: “Safeguarding is a topic of crucial importance to the Olympic Movement. We recognise that previously there may have been a consideration that because sport is so good and attracts so many people, that sport would somehow be protected from harassment and abuse occurring within it. However, we know that this is not true. Harassment and abuse occur in all sports, in all sport disciplines, in all countries around the world.”

Allison Forsyth said: “We need to stop cultural normalization of abusive behaviour, which is behaviour that have been accepted in sport usually as game play tactics and/or coaching tactics. Many of these behaviours can lead to maltreatment, including rituals (hazing).”

This seminar is one of the several initiatives taken by the BIU to educate and support our National Federations to implement a robust safeguarding programme.