Participant protection

Protecting participants from harm

Everyone in sport and active recreation has the right to be fairly treated, with respect and free from harm. No matter what type of participant you are – player, supporter, coach, manager or official – we all play a part in keeping everyone safe from harm, and to have fun.

This means creating a supportive environment where all participants:

  • can take part in a safe environment free from any kind of abuse and harm

  • are respected for who they are and where they come from

  • can trust each other, their organisations and the Commission to behave with integrity

  • are confident that harm is taken seriously, and people are held to account

  • are confident complaints and concerns are impartially investigated and resolved by the Commission.

Participant protection ensures the safety and fair treatment of everyone involved in sport and recreation activities. It means safeguarding them against any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination.

Harmful behaviour can happen in sport and recreation because of:

  • poor culture at the organisation or club

  • inadequate policies and processes or not enough support to apply the policies

  • a power imbalance between authority figures and participants

  • lack of awareness, understanding and skill to properly address harmful behaviour.

We support everyone to understand, identify and act on behaviour that causes harm. This section provides guidance and tips for dealing with different types of harmful behaviour.

Learn more about protecting participants

Harmful behaviour

There is no place for bullying, violence, abuse, intimidation or harassment in sport and recreation. Find out how to recognise this behaviour, why it’s bad, and how to stop it.

Recognising harmful behaviour

Racism and unlawful discrimination

You are protected against racism and discrimination in sport and recreation. Find out what it means and how to stop it.

Protecting against racism and discrimination

Retaliation and victimisation

Retaliation and victimisation is not ok. What this means for you when you make a complaint.

Learn about retaliation and victimisation

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct is unwanted, inappropriate or illegal sexual behaviour. How to recognise it and stop it.

Preventing sexual misconduct

Policy templates

Having good policies helps manage and address harmful behaviour in sport and recreation and keeps people free from unfair treatment and harmful behaviour.

We are developing a new suite of policy templates for sport and recreation organisations to use when they are developing their own policies.

Keep a look out for the new policy templates when they are published here.

Sign up to our mailing list for updates

In the meantime, you can still use Sport NZ’s existing policy templates.

Browse policies from Sport New Zealand