Singapore launches commission to tackle harassment in sports

17 October 2019 3 min. read
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The Safe Sport Commission has been launched in Singapore to help eradicate harassment in sport, and in particular sexual misconduct.

National sporting body Sport Singapore (SportSG) has come together with the Singapore Police Force and the Education and Social & Family Development ministries to launch the Safe Sport Commission, an organisation aimed at addressing harassment in sport. Headed by SportSG board member and KPMG partner Chan Yen San, the commission will oversee education and prevention initiatives and guide reporting management.

“We want to educate more parents and athletes to become aware of what constitutes appropriate behaviour in the sports domain, and importantly to take a stand and raise a red flag to coaches, organisers and officials, when they observe that things are not quite right,” said Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (who was the first ever woman to head a ministry in Singapore), speaking at the third annual CoachSG conference.

First announced at last year’s conference, the new commission will in particular seek to address sexual harassment in response to a number of high profile cases of abuse, with the establishment of reporting channels a key focus. “I know people now are empowered to say something, but they don't necessarily know how to,” said former SportSG’ Director of Coaching and current Academies head Troy Engle at the time of the initial announcement.

Singapore launches commission to tackle harassment in sports

The ten-member commission is comprised of a number of past and present athletes, as well as national sports association’ heads, governmental experts and corporate leaders, and is to be led by KPMG partner Chan Yen San, a two-decade audit and advisory veteran who currently serves in the firm’s Department of Professional Practice – where she develops and delivers technical courses on emerging issues and new accounting standards for its leadership.

According to reports, more than 36 officers have also been appointed across all the national sports associations (NSAs), educational institutes and government agencies to oversee the commission’s mandate to tackle harassment, with the officers to receive special training from SportSG, the Singapore Police Force, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development in dealing with harassment cases and reporting them through the appropriate channels.

“We hope for zero incidents and this is a pro-active first step in creating a national system and a safe environment for all participants of sport. The Safe Sport Commission will work towards strengthening the Safe Sport framework, policies and processes as well as establishing best practices and safeguards for the sporting fraternity,” stated Chan at the launch, adding that; “Where necessary, the Commission will step in to advise on further enhancements.”

“We need to come up with a framework that is both fair to our coaches and protects our athletes and younger generations,” Chan continued, with Fu concluding; “In time to come, we hope to develop a high sense of awareness across the sporting fraternity in Singapore, that we all have a part to play in ensuring a safe and supportive environment in sports, free from sexual harassment and misconduct, so that our athletes can focus on giving their best in the sporting arena.”