Harassment & Discrimination Policy and Procedures

1. The South African Kendo Federation (herein called SAKF) is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to participate in this environment which promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices. The definition of harassment for the purpose of this policy:

⦁ Harassment is a form of discrimination and/or abuse.
⦁ Harassment is offensive, degrading, and threatening. In its most extreme forms, harassment can be an offence under South African legislation.
⦁ No matter whom the perpetrator, harassment is an attempt by one person to assert abusive, unwarranted power over another.
⦁ The SAKF is committed to providing an environment free of harassment on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or disability.

2. This policy applies to every member of SAKF regardless of their status. The SAKF encourages the reporting of all incidents of harassment, regardless of who the offender may be.

3. This policy applies to harassment which may occur during the course of all SAKF activities and events. It also applies to harassment between individuals associated with SAKF but outside SAKF activities and events when such harassment adversely affects relationships within the SAKF’ work and sport environment.

4. Harassment is any behaviour by a person or organisation to whom this Policy applies which is offensive, abusive, belittling or threatening and which is directed at a person or a group of people because of a particular characteristic of that person or group of people. The behaviour must be unwelcome and the sort of behaviour a reasonable person would recognise as being unwelcome and likely to cause the recipient to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Whether or not the behaviour is Harassment is determined from the point of view of the person receiving the Harassment.

5. Harassment includes:
a) Sexual Harassment (clauses 6 to 10);
b) Racial Harassment (clauses 11 and 12);
c) Sexuality Harassment (clauses 13 to 15);
d) Disability Harassment (clauses 16 and 17);
e) Abuse (clauses 18 to 20);
f) Vilification (clauses 21 to 22);
g) Discrimination (clauses 23 to 28); and
h) Victimisation (clause 29).

6. Sexual Harassment includes:
a) An unwelcome sexual advance; or
b) An unwelcome request for sexual favours; or
c) Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (including a statement, orally or in writing, of a sexual nature), where the person being harassed felt offended, humiliated or intimidated and this was reasonable in the circumstances.

7. Sexual Harassment is often, but need not be, behaviour which either: (a) Involves blackmail, in that the harassment is accompanied by a direct or implied threat, promise or benefit. For example, a coach who implies that a player’s selection to a team is dependent on compliance with a sexual proposition; or (b) creates a hostile or sexually permeated environment, in that the harassment consists of crude remarks, jokes, the display of offensive material or makes the environment uncomfortable.

8. Examples of Sexual Harassment may include:
⦁ Uninvited touching, kissing, embracing, massaging;
⦁ Staring, leering, ogling;
⦁ Smutty jokes and comments;
⦁ Persistent or intrusive questions about people’s private lives;
⦁ Repeated invitations to go out, especially after prior refusal;
⦁ The use of promises or threats to coerce someone into sexual activity;
⦁ The display of sexually explicit material, eg Internet use, computer screen savers, calendars, posters;
⦁ Getting undressed in front of others of the opposite sex;
⦁ Invading the privacy of others while showering or toileting;
⦁ Photographing others while undressing, showering or toileting.

9. Sexual Harassment may be a criminal offence, for example indecent assault, rape, obscene telephone calls or letters.

10. Sexual behaviour of any kind between an adult and a minor must be reported to the appropriate authorities.

11. Racial Harassment includes harassment based on colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, cultural activity and sometimes religion.

12. Examples of Racial Harassment include:
⦁ Jokes in which race is a significant characteristic of the ‘butt’ of the joke;
⦁ Hostile comments about food eaten, dress or religious or cultural practices;
⦁ Inferences that all members of a racial or cultural group have particular negative characteristics, such as laziness, drunkenness, greed or sexual promiscuity;
⦁ Parodying accents.

13. Sexuality Harassment includes harassment based on actual or assumed homosexuality, heterosexuality, bi-sexuality or trans-sexuality.

14. Examples of Sexuality Harassment include:
⦁ Jokes in which sexuality is a significant characteristic of the ‘butt’ of the joke;
⦁ Hostile comments about assumed sexual practices or social activities.

15. In severe cases, such as threats or acts of violence against a homosexual person, Sexuality Harassment may be a criminal offence.

16. Disability Harassment includes harassment based on physical, mental or psychological disability or harassment of an associate or aide of a person with a disability.

17. Examples of Disability Harassment include:
⦁ Jokes where a particular disability is a significant characteristic of the ‘butt’ of the joke;
⦁ Interfering with a disability aid, (eg hearing aid);
⦁ Obstructing a person in a manner that compounds his or her disability, (eg putting obstacles in the path of a person with a vision impairment);
⦁ Mocking a person’s disability;
⦁ Hostility based on assumed AIDS or HIV infection.

18. Abuse may be a form of Harassment. It includes:
a) Physical abuse, (eg assault);
b) Emotional abuse, (eg blackmail, repeated requests or demands, excluding someone or bastardisation’ practices);
c) Neglect, (eg failure to provide the basic physical and emotional necessities of life);
d) Abuse of power, which the harasser holds over the harassed. (eg relationships that involve a power disparity include an instructor–student, employer–employee, doctor–patient. People in such positions of power need to be particularly wary not to exploit that power).

19. Examples of abusive behaviour include:
⦁ Bullying and humiliation of players by instructors;
⦁ Verbal abuse and insults directed by players or parents at opposing participants;
⦁ Verbal and/or physical abuse of umpires by players and instructors.

20. Some forms of Abuse may constitute a criminal offence, for example assault and child abuse.

21. Racial Vilification involves a person inciting hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons by public act. Public acts that may amount to vilification include any form of communication to the public and any conduct observable by the public.

22. Racial or other forms of Vilification are breaches of this Policy where they are based on any of the attributes or characteristics set out in clause 24.

23. Discrimination is treating or proposing to treat a person less favourably than someone else in certain areas of public life on the basis of an attribute or personal characteristic they have.

24. The applicable attributes or characteristics are:
⦁ Age;
⦁ Disability;
⦁ Marital status;
⦁ Parental/Carer status;
⦁ Physical features;
⦁ Political belief/activity;
⦁ Pregnancy;
⦁ Race;
⦁ Religious belief/activity;
⦁ Sex or gender;
⦁ Sexual orientation;
⦁ Transgender orientation.

25. Not only is Discrimination unlawful, but the and its Affiliated Clubs also consider it is unjust because it may deny people a chance by judging them on the basis of stereotypes or assumptions about what they can or cannot achieve.

26. Discrimination includes direct Discrimination and indirect Discrimination. Direct Discrimination occurs if a person treats, or proposes to treat, someone with an attribute or characteristic less favourably than the person treats or would treat someone without that attribute or characteristic, in the same or similar circumstances. Indirect Discrimination occurs where a person imposes or intends to impose a requirement, condition or practice which on its face is not discriminatory, but has the effect of discriminating against a person(s) with a particular attribute.

27. Requesting, assisting, instructing, inducing or encouraging another person to engage in Discrimination, is also Discrimination.

28. Any behaviour or conduct that is Discrimination under any South African legislation is also Discrimination for the purposes of this Policy.

29. Victimisation occurs where a person is subject to, or is threatened to suffer, any detriment or unfair treatment, because that person has or intends to pursue their legal rights under anti-harassment or anti-discrimination legislation or under this Policy.

30. The SAKF’ Executive Committee (EXCO), any other SAKF sub-committee, all affiliated dojo leaders, and instructors of various levels, are responsible for the implementation of this policy. In addition, the SAKF’ EXCO and all dojo leaders are responsible for:
⦁ Discouraging and preventing harassment within SAKF;
⦁ Investigating formal complaints of harassment in a sensitive, responsible, and timely manner;
⦁ Imposing appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures when a complaint of harassment has been substantiated, regardless of the position or authority of the offender;
⦁ Providing advice to persons who experience harassment;
⦁ Doing all in their power to support and assist any member of SAKF who experiences harassment by someone;
⦁ Making all members of SAKF aware of the problem of harassment, and in particular, sexual harassment, and of the procedures contained in this policy;
⦁ Informing both complainants and respondents of the procedures contained in this policy and of their rights under the law;
⦁ Regularly reviewing the terms of this policy to ensure that they adequately meet the organization’s legal obligations and public policy objectives;
⦁ Appointing member protection officers and under this policy; and
⦁ Appointing unbiased case review panels and appeal bodies under this policy.

31. Every member of SAKF has a responsibility to play a part in ensuring that the SAKF environment is free from harassment. This means not engaging in, allowing, condoning, or ignoring behaviour contrary to this policy. In addition, any member of SAKF who believes that a fellow member has experienced or is experiencing harassment is encouraged to notify a member protection officer appointed under this policy.

32. Members of SAKF against whom a complaint of harassment is substantiated may be severely disciplined, up to and including the termination of membership in cases where the harassment takes the form of assault, sexual assault, or a related sexual offence.

33. The SAKF understands that it can be extremely difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment and that it can be devastating to be wrongly convicted of harassment. The SAKF recognizes the interests of both the complainant and the respondent in keeping the matter confidential.
34. The SAKF shall not disclose to outside parties the name of the complainant, the circumstances giving rise to a complaint, or the name of the respondent unless such disclosure is required by a disciplinary or the remedial process.

35. SAKF shall appoint at least two persons, one male and one female, who are themselves members the organization, to serve as member protection officers under this policy. If more than two officers are appointed, SAKF shall ensure a gender balance.

36. The role of member protection officers is to serve in a neutral, unbiased capacity and to receive complaints, assist in informal resolution of complaints and investigate formal written complaints. In carrying out their duties under this policy, member protection officers shall be directly responsible to the SAKF [the SAKF President whom is responsible for this policy].

37. To protect the health, safety and well-being of all the people participating in the activities of the SAKF a set of Codes of Behaviour have been developed and issued. The Codes of Behaviour are set out in Attachment A and form part of this Policy and covers:
⦁ General Code of Behaviour
⦁ Administrator Code of Behaviour
⦁ Students Code of Behaviour
⦁ Parent/Guardian Code of Behaviour
⦁ Instructor Code of Behaviour

38. It is a breach of this Policy for any person or organisation to which this Policy applies to:
a) Fail to comply with any of the responsibilities set out in clauses 30 &31;
b) Breach any part of the Codes of Behaviour;
c) Engage in any form of Harassment;
d) Make frivolous, vexatious reports of harassment.

39. A person who experiences harassment is encouraged to make it known to the harasser that the behaviour is unwelcome, offensive, and contrary to this policy.

40. If confronting the harasser is not possible, or if after confronting the harasser the harassment continues, the complainant should seek the advice of a member protection officer.

41. Any person or organisation may make a complaint about a person or group of people to whom this Policy applies, if they consider that person or group of people has, or may have, committed a breach of any part of this Policy.

42. The complaint always belongs to the complainant, who will determine how their complaint is dealt with. The complaint will not be divulged to another person without the complainant’s agreement, except those involved in the remedial process or in the case where a person is required by law to report the matter to governmental authorities (for example, in the case of suspected child abuse).

43. It is recommended that complaints are handled, as far as possible, at an informal level. A common-sense, low-key approach is often far more satisfactory to the complainant and to the person complained about.

44. The four principles of case handling will apply at every stage of these procedures. This means that all responsible persons will handle all cases:
⦁ Promptly,
⦁ Seriously,
⦁ Sensitively and
⦁ Confidentially.

45. The member protection officer shall inform the complainant of:
⦁ the options for pursuing an informal resolution of his or her complaint;
⦁ the right to lay a formal written complaint under this policy when an informal resolution is inappropriate or not feasible;
⦁ the confidentiality provisions of this policy;
⦁ the right to be represented by a person of choice (including legal counsel) at any stage in the complaint process; and
⦁ the right to withdraw from any further action in connection with the complaint at any stage (even though SAKF might continue to investigate the complaint).

46. There are four possible outcomes to this initial meeting of complainant and member protection officer:
a) The complainant and member protection officer agree that the conduct does not constitute harassment.
i. If this occurs, the member protection officer will take no further action and will make no written record.

b) The complainant brings evidence of harassment and chooses to pursue an informal resolution of the complaint.
i. If this occurs, the member protection officer will assist the two parties to negotiate a solution acceptable to the complaint. If desired by the parties and if appropriate, the member protection officer may also seek the assistance of a neutral mediator.
ii. If informal resolution yields a result which is acceptable to both parties, the member protection officer will make a written record that a complaint was made and was resolved informally to the satisfaction of both parties, and will take no further action.
iii. If informal resolution fails to satisfy the complaint, the complainant will reserve the option of laying a formal written complaint.

c) The complainant brings evidence of harassment and decides to lay a formal written complaint.
i. If this occurs, the member protection officer will assist the complainant in drafting a formal written complaint, to be signed by the complainant, and a copy given to the respondent without delay. The written complaint should set out the details of the incident(s), the names of any witnesses to the incident(s), and should be dated and signed.
ii. The respondent will be given an opportunity to provide a written response to the complaint. The member protection officer may assist the respondent in preparing this response.

d) The complainant brings evidence of harassment but does not wish to lay a formal complaint.
i. If this occurs, the member protection officer must decide if the alleged harassment is serious enough to warrant laying a formal written complaint, even if it is against the wishes of the complainant.
ii. When the member protection officer decides that the evidence and surrounding circumstances require a formal written complaint, the member protection officer will issue a formal written complaint and, without delay, provide copies of the complaint to both the complainant and the respondent.

47. As soon as possible after receiving the written complaint, but within 21 days, the member protection officer shall submit a report to the SAKF EXCO, containing the documentation filed by both parties along with a recommendation that:
⦁ No further action be taken because the complaint is unfounded or the conduct cannot reasonably be said to fall within this policy’s definition of harassment; or
⦁ The complaint should be investigated further.
⦁ A copy of this report shall be provided, without delay, to both the complainant and the respondent.

48. In the event that the member protection officer’s recommendation is to proceed with an investigation, the SAKF EXCO, shall within 14 days appoint three (3) appropriate members of the SAKF to serve as a case review panel. This panel shall consist of at least one woman and at least one man. To ensure freedom from bias, no member of the panel shall have a significant personal or professional relationship with either the complainant or the respondent. It should be noted the SAKF EXCO can also appoint themselves as members of the case review panel.

49. Within 21 days of its appointment, the case review panel shall convene a hearing. The hearing shall be governed by such procedures as the panel may decide, provided that:
⦁ The complainant and respondent shall be given 14 days’ notice, in writing, of the day, time and place of the hearing.
⦁ Members of the panel shall select a chairperson from among themselves.
⦁ A quorum shall be all three panel members.
⦁ Decisions shall be by majority vote. If a majority vote decision is not possible, the decision of the chairperson will be the decision of the panel.
⦁ The hearing shall be held in camera.
⦁ Both parties shall be present at the hearing to give evidence and to answer questions of the other party and of the panel. If the complainant does not appear, the matter will be dismissed, (unless the complainant decided not to lay a formal complaint, but the officer concluded that the evidence and surrounding circumstances were such as to require a formal written complaint). If the respondent does not appear, the hearing will proceed.
⦁ The complainant and respondent may be accompanied by a representative or adviser.
⦁ The member protection officer may attend the hearing at the request of the panel.

50. Within 14 days of the hearing, the case review panel shall present its findings in a report to the SAKF EXCO, which shall contain:
⦁ a summary of the relevant facts;
⦁ a determination as to whether the acts complained of constitute harassment as defined in this policy;
⦁ recommended disciplinary action against the respondent, if the acts constitute harassment; and
⦁ recommended measures to remedy or mitigate the harm or loss suffered by the complainant, if the acts constitute harassment.

51. If the panel determines that the allegations of harassment are false, vexatious, retaliatory, or unfounded, their report shall recommend disciplinary action against the complainant.

52. A copy of the report of the case review panel shall be provided, without delay, to both the complainant and the respondent.

53. When determining appropriate disciplinary action and corrective measures, the case review panel shall consider factors such as:
⦁ the nature of the harassment;
⦁ whether the harassment involved any physical contact;
⦁ whether the harassment was an isolated incident or part of an ongoing pattern;
⦁ the nature of the relationship between complainant and harasser;
⦁ the age of the complainant;
⦁ whether the harasser had been involved in previous harassment incidents;
⦁ whether the harasser admitted responsibility and expressed a willingness to change; and
⦁ whether the harasser retaliated against the complainant.

54. In recommending disciplinary sanctions, the panel may consider the following options, singly or in combination, depending on the severity of the harassment:
⦁ a verbal apology;
⦁ a written apology;
⦁ a letter of reprimand from the sport organization;
⦁ referral to counselling;
⦁ removal of certain privileges of membership;
⦁ demotion;
⦁ temporary suspension with or without pay;
⦁ termination of employment or contract; or
⦁ expulsion from membership.
55. Where the investigation does not result in a finding of harassment, a copy of the report of the case review panel shall be placed in the member protection officer’s files. These files shall be kept confidential and access to them shall be restricted to the SAKF EXCO.

56. Where the investigation results in a finding of harassment, a copy of the report of the case review panel shall be placed in the file of the SAKF EXCO. Unless the findings of the panel are overturned upon appeal, this report shall be retained for a period of ten years, unless new circumstances dictate that the report should be kept for a longer period of time.

57. Where a person believes that a colleague has experienced or is experiencing harassment and reports this belief to a member protection officer, the officer shall meet with the person who is said to have experienced harassment and shall then proceed in accordance with Section 42.

58. Both the complainant and respondent shall have the right to appeal the decision and recommendations of the case review panel. A notice of intention to appeal, along with grounds for the appeal, must be provided to the chairperson of the case review panel within 14 days of the complainant or respondent receiving the panel’s report.

59. Permissible grounds for an appeal are:
⦁ the panel did not follow the procedures laid out in this policy;
⦁ members of the panel were influenced by bias; or
⦁ the panel reached a decision which was grossly unfair or unreasonable.

60. In the event that a notice of appeal is filed, the SAKF EXCO shall appoint a minimum of three members to constitute the appeal body. This appeal body shall consist of at least one woman and at least one man. These individuals must have no significant personal or professional involvement with either the complainant or respondent, and no prior involvement in the dispute between them. It should be noted the SAKF EXCO can also appoint themselves as members of the case review panel.

61. The appeal body shall base its decision solely on a review of the documentation surrounding the complaint, including the complainant’s and respondent’s statements, the reports of the member protection officer and the case review panel, and the notice of appeal.

62. Within ten days of its appointment, the appeal body shall present its findings in a report to the SAKF EXCO. The appeal body shall have the authority to uphold the decision of the panel, to reverse the decision of the panel, and/or to modify any of the panel’s recommendations for disciplinary action or remedial measures.

63. A copy of the appeal body’s report shall be provided, without delay, to the complainant and respondent.

64. The decision of the appeal body shall be final.

65. This policy was approved by the SAKF EXCO on 11 November 2016.

66. This policy shall be reviewed by SAKF EXCO on an annual basis.


*This “Harassment & Discrimination Policy and Procedures” has been apadted from the Golden Knights Martial Arts Group, based in South Australia, after explicit permission was obtained from Gary MacRae, Chief Instructor and Founder of Golden Knights Martial Arts (Kin Bushi Ryu). URL: www.goldenknights.com.au