“We need zero tolerance, we no longer want to see a single sexual predator in sport,” says Sébastien Pla

“We need zero tolerance, we no longer want to see a single sexual predator in sport,” says Sébastien Pla

The socialist senator from Aude had promised to fight to combat sexual abuse in sport. Senate

The socialist senator from Aude, behind a law to protect young athletes, explains how the new system for monitoring the integrity of educators must do so. cleaning in the clubs.

Why are you involved in this bill ?

Before becoming a senator, I had already looked into the issues of child protection and free speech with lawyers and associations from Aude. Being vice-president of the French parliamentary rugby union team and having been involved in the sporting world for a long time, it is a cause that is close to my heart. This is a new phenomenon. It has only been three to four years since we realized the extent of the phenomenon. I had promised that this would be my main social subject when accessing parliamentary functions. Since my election in 2020, I have worked there. We have launched hearings to adjust the measures to be implemented. We approached the ministry and Amélie Oudéa-Castera looked favorably on our project to also check what was working or not.

What wasn't working ?

We realized that this check on the integrity of educators was absolutely not carried out. Sometimes even the presidents of clubs, or even federations, were not even aware that they had to do it. Everyone had their own code of ethics which allowed certain federations to address problems to prevent them from making noise. The figures from a report by the National Assembly are chilling. They report 5 million adult women and men victims of sexual violence during their childhood, including 150,000 in the world of sport.

One of the strong measures is the criminal pressure put on the leaders ?

I start from the principle that it is the business of all leaders to ensure that there are no deviances, ;#39;identify possible predators and remove them from the system. A hunt that can only be carried out collectively. The law provides clear responsibility for club and federation managers. This is not a sanction, on the contrary. This allows them to have tools to try to anticipate and control upstream before hiring any volunteer. It's a win-win.

How will these controls evolve ?

We will now have double control. Good repute checks in clubs date back to 2006 but until now 43 federations did not carry them out. The educator must complete a form and provide the B2 criminal record extract. This alone was not done. The law will introduce systematic monitoring of the 2 million volunteer educators and 150,000 professionals. Only the pros were tested until now. From now on, everyone will do so annually by going to look at the FIJAIS (file of perpetrators of sexual or violent offenses). In fact, the FIJAIS retains offenses for more than 20 years and makes it possible to catch those who could play on the fact that their sanctions have been erased from their record. For me there is zero tolerance, we no longer want to see a single sexual predator. 

How to ensure controls ?

It is the responsibility of the clubs and federations but also of the Ministry of Sports which has provided its departments with additional resources to be able to carry out controls. We also need to make the "Signal-sports" unit better known. to increase the number of reports. There were around 500 reports  in 2020. Today we are at more than 1,200. All of this also contributes to freeing up the word. But this text is only a step before taking other measures.

Which ones?

The Minister of Sports will launch after the Olympics a major sports law on ethics which will address violence. A simple measure must follow: also check all the accompanying people, the people who supervise the refreshment bar, all those who are in contact with the children must be checked. Today you can exercise and you are checked afterwards. We need to put things in order and check people before entrusting them with children. This law can inspire other environments such as culture, where a certain amount of speech is also released.

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