The International Cricket Council (ICC) is all set to put in place stiff rules and regulations, called "Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines", to deal with sexual harassment of different kinds. The ICC’s four-day quarterly meetings will begin in Singapore on Wednesday.
In a note addressed to Women’s Committee, Chief Executives Committee, Development Committee and the ICC Board, the ICC Chief Operating Officer, Iain Higgins, and Senior Legal Counsel, Sally Clark have cited nine incidents of sexual harassment in the last 18 months and said that, "These types of incidents cannot be tolerated. Given that the next event on the ICC calendar is the ICC Women’s World T20 (in the West Indies from November 9 to 24), which we consider to be an event at the higher end of the risk spectrum, it is recommended that the ICC policies are put in place, if at all possible, in advance of the start of this event.’’
The two ICC officials have said that it has become aware of a number of incidents of alleged inappropriate behaviour and alleged incidents of sexual harassment, that have occurred within cricket around the world, and in particular at International Matches or ICC Events.
The incidents that have been pointed out are (1) alleged sexual harassment of a female physiotherapist within a domestic club (2) alleged harassment of a number of female journalists (3) alleged inappropriate behaviour by a member of team support staff at an ICC Event (4) abuse of fans at an International Match (5) alleged sexual harassment by a player (6) alleged sexual harassment by a television director of two female anchors (7) a player having his contract terminated on the grounds of indecent behaviour (8) alleged sexual harassment of a female player by a coach and (9) inappropriate comments made by a player towards a broadcaster ‘on air’.
Mr. Higgins and Ms. Clark have urged the committees and the ICC Board "to consider the introduction of a Safeguarding Policy for the ICC (and related guidelines for Members) to protect children and vulnerable adults, as well as policies and contractual mechanisms that protect adult participants (adults who are not considered 'at risk') from sexual harassment and drive improved standards of 'off-field' behaviour.’’
The two believe there may be a gap in cricket’s regulatory structure and that the ICC does not have any specific rules or policies that would allow it to take action against those who behave inappropriately, off field, at an ICC event and that the ICC is obliged "to protect the welfare of, and to provide a safe environment for, all participants and hence the ICC and Member Boards must be able to address behaviours such as these, especially in circumstances where either (i) the incident brings the sport into disrepute (for example where the wrongdoer has a prominent, senior or officiating role within the sport), or (ii) the incident suggests that the wrongdoer is a risk to other participants within the sport.’’
A discussion has been urged at the quarterly meeting and the types of behaviour Mr. Higgins and Ms. Clark have specifically pointed out are (a) Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional or otherwise) of children or adults at risk (b) Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional or otherwise) of adults not at risk (c) Harassment of children or adults at risk (d) Harassment of adults not at risk; 3. Indecency (someone exposing themselves to someone else), bullying, victimisation, unwanted physical contact, stalking, offensive comments, jokes or body language; and publishing, circulating or displaying pornographic, sexually suggestive or otherwise offensive material or pictures.
They have explained that inappropriate behaviour could be defined as behaviour that is (i) unwanted by the recipient, and (ii) has the purpose or effect of violating the recipient’s dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
The two want the Safeguarding Policy for Children and Adults at Risk to cover the periods during which ICC Events are held and to cover all participants involved in the Event (Players, Player Support Personnel, Match Officials and Match Official Support Personnel, and anyone else working at the Event for or on behalf of the ICC or the local organising committee) and on the basis of the policy described, guidelines to be prepared for Member Boards to help them best address issues within their jurisdiction.
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