Safe Interactions Guide

Guidelines for Appropriate & Inappropriate Conduct between Adults/Adolescents and Children in Sport

Sport offers incredible experiences and opportunities for children, enhancing their development through positive experiences and healthy relationships between athletes and coaches, as well as safe environments where adults are accountable for their actions and behaviors. The Morden Soccer Association provides these guidelines to establish a common understanding of expectations for adults interacting with children in sport. You can find the full guidelines in the MSA Adolescents and Children PDF.

Coach and Athlete Relationship

Coaches are in a position of trust, and they must maintain professional boundaries. The relationship is characterized by a power imbalance in favor of the coach, and boundary violations can breach the coach-athlete relationship.

Responsibility is always with the adult to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries with children.

Age of Protection in Canada

The age of protection is the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity. It's generally 16 years old, but certain relationships increase it to 18, with other conditions such as age difference and dependency affecting the legality.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Behavior

Examples of Appropriate Behavior

  • Respectful language, tone, and attitude towards others
  • Maintaining personal physical and emotional boundaries
  • Communication with children being transparent and accountable

Examples of Inappropriate Behavior

  • Disrespectful language
  • Humiliating or intimidating children
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Personal electronic communication with children not tied to coaching duties

Standard of Measure for Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries

Interactions and activities with children should be:

  • Transparent
  • Accountable
  • Tied to coaching/volunteering duties
  • In response to meeting the child's needs

Parents and Coaches Play a Role

Parents or coaches with concerns should speak with the General Manager. Age-appropriate conversations with children about personal safety and boundary-breaking behavior are also essential.

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For full details, refer to the MSA Adolescents and Children PDF.



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