Waterloo Region organization helps Hockey Canada with sexual assault training workshop

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Hockey Canada has turned to the Sexual Assault Support Center of Waterloo Region (SASCWR) for help in training its athletes and staff to end sexual violence.

The move follows revelations about Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual abuse allegations involving players.

“There’s a huge need for these conversations to happen,” said Jacob Pries, Male Allies Program Project Facilitator with SASCWR. “Give guys the tools to understand their role in preventing sexual violence…how they can call their teammates or coaches.”

The two-hour training program aims to end sexual violence in sports culture.

Hockey Canada reached out to SASCWR in June to provide mandatory training for all of its players and staff; part of Hockey Canada’s commitment to address the challenges facing the organization and the sport, as outlined in its action plan to address toxic behavior on and off the ice.

Pries said they’ve worked with Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse to deliver “Leading by Example” workshops at Hockey Canada over the summer.

They’ve had 19 sessions so far with about 380 athletes, including those on the national junior hockey team ahead of the world championships set to begin in Edmonton this week.

“[It’s] doing things like making locker room rape jokes, how that helps normalize sexual violence and why it’s important to speak out about that,” Pries said.

This is not the first time the support center has worked with sports organisations. They have been educating athletes through their Male Allies Program and the Ontario Hockey League Team Program for years.

“We know a lot of gamers haven’t had a lot of conversations about consent or how they can be leaders in their community to prevent sexual violence, so I think they’re looking for more conversations about those things. “, Pries said.

Pries says that while this training is a powerful tool, there’s still a long way to go.

“In the short term it’s a good first step, but again what we cover with the athletes is really the introduction. There’s so much more we need to unpack with the players,” Pries said.

He said everyone has a responsibility to be allies in working to end sexual violence.

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