What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the action we take to ensure all children and adults are kept safe from harm when involved in WBSC Events. It refers to the processes and mechanisms of ensuring that sports and sporting events are safe settings for all and in which human rights are fully respected.

Document name
Strategy to Safeguarding Baseball/Softball Athletes

Defining Harassment & Abuse

WBSC has adopted the definition of harassment and abuse as set out in the IOC Consensus Statement.

Harassment and abuse can be expressed in five forms which may occur in combination or in isolation. These five categories are i) psychological abuse, ii) physical abuse, iii) sexual harassment, iv) sexual abuse, and v) neglect.

WBSC Code on Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions
Click here for the WBSC Safeguarding from Harassment & Abuse Rules

These forms of abuse are defined here as:

  1. Psychological abuse means any unwelcome act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilisation, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
  2. Physical abuse means any deliberate and unwelcome act such as for example punching, beating, kicking, biting and burning that causes physical trauma or injury. Such act can also consist of forced or inappropriate physical activity (e.g., age or physique inappropriate training loads; when injured or in pain), forced alcohol consumption, or forced doping practices.
  3. Sexual harassment any unwanted and unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal or physical. Sexual harassment can take the form of sexual abuse. Some individuals deliberately target sports activities in order to gain access to athletes. Grooming may occur over several years before an individual makes a move.
  4. Sexual abuse any conduct of a sexual nature, whether non-contact, contact or penetrative, where consent is coerced/manipulated or is not or cannot be given.
  5. Neglect within the meaning of this document means the failure of a coach or another person with a duty of care towards the athlete to provide a minimum level of care to the athlete, which is causing harm, allowing harm to be caused, or creating an imminent danger of harm.

Harassment and abuse can be based on any grounds including race, religion, colour, creed, ethnic origin, physical attributes, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status and athletic ability. It may be in person or online. Harassment may be deliberate, unsolicited and coercive. Harassment and abuse often result from an abuse of authority, meaning the improper use of a position of influence, power or authority by an individual against another person. The IOC Consensus Statements 2008/2016 consider that harassment and abuse are on a continuum, and therefore should not be separated.

Other than the above five categories of harassment and abuse, Other than the above five categories of harassment and abuse, more specific definitions have been set out in the IOC Consensus Statement (2016):

  1. Athletes with disabilities: Those who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments that, in interaction with certain barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
  2. Bullying: Bullying (or cyber bullying if conducted online) is unwanted, repeated and intentional, aggressive behavior usually among peers, and can involve a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can include actions such as making threats, spreading rumours or falsehoods, attacking someone physically or verbally and deliberately excluding someone.
  3. Child and adolescent: Every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. Early childhood relates to those below 8 years of age. Juvenile or young person and adolescents.
  4. Hazing: An organized, usually team based, form of bullying in sport, involving degrading and hazardous initiation of new team members by veteran team members.
  5. Homophobia: Antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion or hatred towards lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals.
  6. Negligence: Acts of omission regarding athlete safety. For example, depriving an athlete of food/or drink; insufficient rest and recovery; failure to provide a safe physical training environment; or developmental age-inappropriate or physique inappropriate training methods.
  7. Safe sport: An athletic environment that is respectful, equitable and free from all forms of non-accidental violence to athletes.

Scope of Application

The WBSC Safeguarding from Harassment and Abuse By-Laws applies:

  • During any WBSC Event;
  • To all participants of any WBSC Event;
  • To alleged incidents of harassment and abuse.

"Participants" shall mean all those, individual competitors (Athletes) and teams, officials, managers and other members of any delegation, referees and jury members and all other accredited persons including WBSC employees; 

The "WBSC Event" shall mean the entire duration of the competition, including the travelling time.