Misconduct in sport includes:
● Harassment (including sexual harassment)
● Emotional misconduct
● Physical misconduct
● Sexual misconduct (including child sexual abuse)
Coaches, club members and volunteers are required to report abuse or misconduct. To do so fairly, reporters should have a basic understanding of sexual abusers and the "grooming" strategies they use to seduce their victims. With a combination of attention, affection, gifts or preferential treatment, sexual offenders select a child, win their trust (and the trust of their parents or guardians), manipulate the child into sexual activity and keep the child from disclosing abuse.
Bullying, harassment and hazing can involve acts of emotional, physical or sexual misconduct. Emotional misconduct often involves noncontact behaviors that verbally abuse an athlete or deny attention or support. Physical misconduct may or may not involve actual contact and causes or threatens physical harm. Physical misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athlete performance.
Contact offenses include but are not limited to behaviors that involve any physical injury, provision of alcohol or illegal drugs or nonprescribed medications that may result in harm to the athlete, or permitting an athlete to return to play prematurely after an injury.
Noncontact offenses include but are not limited to behaviors that may isolate an athlete as an act of coercion or punishment, forcing a painful stance or position, or withholding or denying adequate hydration or medical attention.
Sexual misconduct can include assault, harassment, abuse or any other intimacies that exploit an athlete. In Pennsylvania persons under the age of 16 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult, and all sexual interaction between an adult and a person under 16 is strictly prohibited.
Sexual misconduct can occur even without contact and represents an abuse of authority and trust implicit in the coach-athlete relationship. Especially in the case of Juniors, coaches must be aware of misinterpretation of overly personal interaction. Noncontact offenses include but are not limited to: a coach discussing their sex life with an athlete or asking an athlete about his or her sex life; requesting or sending inappropriate photos or sexually explicit or suggestive messages; deliberately exposing an athlete to nudity (except in shared changing areas); and initiating, inviting or responding to sexual solicitation or any other unwelcome or offensive behaviors that are sexual in nature.
Adults in positions of power, like coaches, must be aware that Juniors may misinterpret or misreport or even fantasize what might seem to the adult to be casual or harmless remarks that are sexual in nature.
Coaches are looked up to for guidance in improving rowing skills, for training and race preparation, and they control coveted boat and seat assignments. They must be cognizant of this power they wield and manage the trust relationship with their athletes with heightened sensitivity and maturity. Coaches cannot always be "best friends" with their athletes, just as parents, at times, cannot expect to be best friends with their children and parent effectively.