Examples of behaviours that breach the Victorian Code of Conduct for Community Sport
The following behaviours are considered breaches of the code:
- Violent or abusive behaviour towards another person.
- Vilification of any kind towards another person.
- Discrimination against another person based on their age, gender or sexual orientation.
- Discrimination against another person based on their race, culture, religion or any other irrelevant personal characteristic.
- Sexual harassment or intimidation of another person.
- Victimisation of another person for exercising their rights through the code.
- Failure to maintain a safe environment.
If any of these behaviours take place within a sport or recreational context, the relevant State Sporting Association, league, association or club is able to impose penalties or sanctions. For this to occur, the breach must be confirmed through an appropriate assessment process at the appropriate level.
Our club has received a complaint - what you can do
In the event of someone making a complaint to the club, league or Association about a possible breach of the code, you should in the first instance refer to your club, league or Association constitution for the relevant code of conduct or member protection policy to determine what processes are in place.
Complaints vary in their degree of seriousness, but it is vital to treat all complaints and possible breaches of the code seriously. Some will be adequately resolved informally at a club, league or association level whilst others may be instances of unlawful behaviour and are therefore best resolved formally by an external agency such as the police.
If it hasn't already done so, your organisation may consider nominating someone to undertake training to become a Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO). This person then becomes the first point of contact for all complaints.
How to lodge a complaint against someone who has breached the code
The code states that every person in Victoria has the right to participate in community sport that is safe, welcoming and inclusive. If you have witnessed a breach, or have been subjected to behaviours that are not tolerated under the code, there are many avenues available to you.
In some instances, your organisation will have designated a specific person to handle complaints. A Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO) is the first point of call in a club, league or association for any enquiries, concerns or complaints around harassment and abuse. The MPIO provides confidential information and moral support to the person with the concern or who is alleging harassment.
Your options in making a complaint range from trying to resolve the issue yourself to lodging a complaint with an external authority, depending on the nature of the complaint. Where possible, you should contact your MPIO to discuss what options are available to you.
It is generally preferable to attempt to resolve it at a local level in the first instance. Again, you should discuss the matter with your relevant MPIO first where possible.
The possible consequences if the code is breached
Sanctions (penalties) for breaching the code will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- Who breached the code?
- How and when did they breach the code?
- What were the effects of the breach?
- Whether this behaviour has taken place repeatedly or is a one-off.
Sanctions may include:
- requesting a person to change their behaviour
- issuing a formal or informal warning
- asking a person to leave a facility
- banning a person from entering a facility
- imposing a fine on a player, club or league
- imposing a match ban on a player, spectator, official
- deducting championship points from a player, team or club.
In rare and serious cases, where a breach of the code constitutes unlawful behaviour, it may be necessary to involve the police.