Rights panel proposes anti-abuse guidelines

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Rights panel proposes anti-abuse guidelines

A human rights panel came up with guidelines on Sunday to protect student athletes from violence and rights violations by coaches and teammates.

Affirming that violence is recurrent in sports, even during competitions, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea urged anyone who witnesses violence in sports to help the victims and to resolve the situation.

Specifically addressing sexual abuse, the commission recommended that authorities completely ban physical contact between coaches and athletes during training and instructed against any comments that are sexually suggestive or that have to do with one’s appearance.

The panel also suggested that athletes be prohibited from dating.

Coaches should notify and get prior permission before visiting athletes in their rooms and avoid creating a situation in which they are left alone with an athlete in a closed space, such as a room or car, the panel said.

A survey conducted between April and August this year by the Korean Olympic Committee said nearly half of the nation’s student athletes were beaten at least once by coaches or senior teammates while training or competing in a tournament, but the majority chose not to speak out.

Also, 26.6 percent of male and female athletes said they were subjected to sexual abuse and harassment.

The rights panel also demanded attention to the neglect in the athletes’ academic demands.

The government, schools, students and their parents must all cooperate to ensure that young athletes are guaranteed minimum study hours and ways to check that the hours are enforced, the panel said.

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