Introduction

Policy Principles and Definitions

Reporting and Prevention Mechanisms

Management of Reports of Harassment, Abuse and Misconduct




Introduction

This policy has been put in place by Von Kathmandu Adventures Pvt. Ltd. (vonKathmandu) for trail race organizing committee, in consultation with its team members and participants. The policy provides a framework for the races and events organized by vonKathmandu, in line with its vision and mission.

Through this policy, VonKathmandu trail race aims to prevent any cases of harassment, abuse and/or behaviour that contradicts the above-mentioned vision and mission. Furthermore, this policy ensures that standard procedures are in place in the unfortunate event where this might occur to ensure that the organization responds in appropriate ways and that the well-being and safety of the participants and team members is at all times prioritized.

The policy has three main components; (i) overall principles and definitions, (ii) reporting and prevention mechanisms, and (iii) management of reports of harassment, abuse and misconduct. This policy applies to all activities in the preparation of and during the trail running events organized by VonKathmandu and in any communication within the organization or between the organization and participants or members of the public in relation to these events, including that of the organization’s social media platforms.




1. Policy Principles and Definitions

In order to ensure a common understanding on what is considered unacceptable behaviour in interactions during or related to the VonKathmandu trail races, the organization ensures that all its members and volunteers that are involved in- or support the trail running events understand and subscribe to the vision and mission, as well as the definitions on harassment, abuse and misconduct described in this chapter.


Vision:

An active and inclusive community that meets up at trail runs where members are able to explore their love for outdoor activities, athletic potential and increase their social network and through this the nature and non-urban culture of the Kathmandu Valley.


Mission:

To ensure a safe, social and inclusive regular trail runs, where runners of different abilities, gender and age can come to appreciate trail running, and through this grow a trail running community and allow Nepali athletes to showcase themselves.


Motto:

“The fastest and the slowest runner cover the same distance.” (Hussain Uddin, participant)


Safe space for women and girls

Within the overall focus, the policy recognizes that girls and women have an increased risk of experiencing behaviour, harassment or even abuse while participating in sports. Taking reference that ‘violence against women and girls in sporting situations is a major barrier to their participation. The extent and forms of violence in sports that men, women, girls and boys experience differ, but evidence suggests that girls are at greater risk of sexual violence, harassment and exploitation. Whether violence occurs within or outside of sport, the negative effects of violence on individual female athletes are substantial. Violence occurring outside of sport can follow victims and perpetrators while they are in training. Threats or actual incidences of violence, for example, may continue from outside the sport sector to inside the sport sector, sometimes with tragic results for victims and other athletes. Sport leaders, coaches, athletes, and the wider sport community have an opportunity to address violence against women and girls. While many may feel that violence against women and girls is not an issue in their particular organisation, they can take steps to ensure this for the future.’ (UN Women)


Safe space for children

Another group that receives a special focus in this policy are children (below 12 years) and youth (below 18 years) that make up a substantial part of the VonKathmandu trail race series community. All children have the right to participate, enjoy and develop through sport, in a safe and inclusive environment, free from all forms of abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation Children have the right to have their voices heard and listened to during the events. They need to know who they can turn to when they feel unsafe have a concern about their participation in sport.

Everyone involved in the events – organizers and individuals, participants, spectators, vendors and sponsors – have a responsibility to support the care and protection of young people. Realizing that there are certain factors that leave some children more vulnerable to abuse, the trail race team will assign dedicated staff during the events to increase oversight and support to parents and guardians.


Definition of harassment and abuse

To ensure there is a common understanding on what constitutes harassment, abuse and misconduct, definitions have been adopted based on the 2016 International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus statement. Harassment and abuse can be expressed in five forms which may occur in combination or in isolation. These include i) psychological abuse, ii) physical abuse, iii) sexual harassment, iv) sexual abuse, and v) neglect. These forms are defined as follows:

Psychological abuse; means any unwelcome act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, patronization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of safety, agency, identity, dignity, and self-worth.

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. being pressured to participate or continue when injured or in pain), forced alcohol or substance consumption.

Sexual harassment; any unwanted and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal or physical. Sexual harassment can take the form of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse; any conduct of a sexual nature, whether non-contact or contact, where consent is coerced/manipulated or is not or cannot be given.

Neglect; the failure of the organization and team members or caretakers/guardians the participant to provide a minimum level of care, resulting in harm or 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, ethnic origin, physical attributes, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status and athletic ability. It can include a one-off incident or a series of incidents. 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.


Who does the policy apply to?

The policy applies to the following groups:

VonKathmandu race organizers and team members, including volunteers; The team has committed to these values and principles and is expected to enforce this through model behaviour in any interaction with other team members, participants or general public during the events. The members of this group have also committed to report any behaviour of colleagues or participants that deviates from this to the relevant staff within the organization to ensure appropriate action is undertaken to correct such behaviour and prevent this from happening in the future.

Participants of the trail running events; The participants are expected to treat each other during the event and when engaging in the organization’s social media platforms in line with the values stated in the vision and mission and report any misconduct or concern in this regard through the identified mechanisms

Other attendees; other people (such as sponsors, vendors, spectators, etc.) are expected to comply with this policy and observed behaviour that deviates from the organization’s vision and mission will result in appropriate actions (which may include being removed from the event side or reported to the authorities.




2. Reporting and Prevention Mechanisms

To ensure the policy is effective and enforced, the following arrangements have been made as part of the VonKathmandu trail race series:

Complain and suggestion box; During any of the races, a complaint/suggestion box will be placed discretely for anyone to leave complaints or suggestions. This can be done anonymously or with mention of contact details if follow up with the person is required/desired.

Dedicated safeguarding staff; During the races, a trail race counsellor will identify herself to the participants. Participants can at any time meet with her to share any observations, concerns or misconduct in Nepali or English, after which the counsellor will inform the organizers on any action or follow up that needs to be undertaken. The trail race counsellor can also be consulted through messages through the VonKathmandu Facebook page or (in case the complaint is confidential) through the organization’s dedicated email account that has been created for this purpose (run@vonktmraces.com) or by giving a missed call to the trail series helpline (9801151533). In addition to the counsellor, volunteers will be mobilized during children’s trail runs to provide additional oversight and support to parents and guardians.

Consultations; All current and previous participants of the races will be invited to participate in quarterly consultations where they can share observations, concerns and suggestions. These consultations are aimed to overall improve the runs and the participants experiences but specific concerns can be voiced during these meetings with members of the organization.

Alerting a member of VonKathmandu trail race team; all members are ready to support a participant in reporting any issues to the race organizers. As such, participants can at all times request support from the VonKathmandu team members (including check point volunteers, timekeepers, food crew, etc.) for this.

Authorities; The race organizers have at all times informed local authorities of the event and as such are in direct contact. Organizers will provide their full support to a participant in case there is a serious issue that requires reporting this to the police or other authorities.

The organizers will ensure to the extent possible that sensitive and serious issues are treated with confidentiality, also within their own team.

All reported issues will be responded to in terms of the organization (or counsellor if confidential) following up with the person reporting. Anonymous issues will be reviewed internally, and this policy and procedures will be updated if and when needed based on these.

Through VonKathmandu, trail races place the well-being and safety of participants and spectators during the events at the core of our efforts, it has no financial or legal liability for any mishap or cost due to this incurred by participants. Upon their first registration, participants sign a waiver that confirms they agree to be responsible for their own safety and that of the minors placed under their care.




3. Management of Reports of Harassment, Abuse and Misconduct

Upon receiving a report of a case of (possible) misconduct, harassment and abuse, the VonKathmandu trail race series will undertake take the following steps in terms of case management, escalating the issue to the next steps as appropriate:

a. Review of the complaint; all complaints will be reviewed and shared with the organizing committee, anonymous where this is appropriate. Based on this, a response will be agreed upon and a follow up will be undertaken with the person that launched the complaint/ raised the issue accordingly.

b. Mediation and dialogue; if and where appropriate and only when the person that raised the concern/ communicated the complaint feels comfortable with this, the organizers will facilitate a safe space for dialogue to discuss the issue and come to a solution that is acceptable for the person. This might include that persons being the cause for the complaint to receive a warning from the organizers or given probation time or being temporarily/permanently being banned from participation or only allowed to participate on certain conditions. These conditions will be shared in writing to the person that raised the complaint and the person(s) that the complaints are about.

c. Seeking further external consultation; in case step ‘b’ is not deemed to suffice for resolving the issue, the organizers will obtain further expert consultation from authorities or organization relevant to the nature of the issue and based on this suggest further steps to the person that raised the issue or that the issue was raised on behalf of.

d. Reporting to authorities; in case of serious misconduct, including harassment, abuse or people being in immediate danger, the organizers will notify the relevant authorities and provide support in the victim filing a formal complaint.



Special thanks to Jimi Oostrum for preparing this Safeguard Policy.