Olympic chief says child protection should be put on agenda

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates says child abuse prevention has to be taken as seriously as anti-doping code within Olympic charter

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President and IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 Chair John Coates speaks during a press conference following the 5th Project Review for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

The head of the Australian Olympic Committee says child abuse prevention needs to be elevated to the same importance as the anti-doping code within the Olympic charter.

AOC president John Coates gave evidence on Thursday at a national commission hearing which is investigating child protection policies and strategies within sporting institutions.

Coates, also a vice president of the International Olympic Committee, said he was helping steer the IOC to recognize the issue of harassment and child abuse in its ethical behaviors by-laws.

He said an amended code of ethics which covers the prevention and reporting of bullying and sexual harassment of young athletes will be trialed at the Rio Olympics in August.

"I have been involved in the legal side of these initiatives along with IOC Athletes', the Athletes' Entourage and the Medical and Scientific commissions so we can all better understand and deal with harassment and child abuse," Coates said. "Reporting channels have been set up for the first time in Rio."

An AOC statement said it was proposed that an IOC-appointed welfare officer will be stationed in the Olympic Village in Rio throughout the Games and will be responsible for following up alleged incidents of harassment and abuse.

Australian officials estimated about 10 athletes in its 450-member team for Rio will be under 18.

TRTWorld, AP