Preventing abuse in sports clubs takes the perpetrators into the corner

Dthat dark passage evokes bad feelings. It is narrow here to the former squash fields, winding. There are corners that hardly look. “These are areas that authors like,” says Michael Gießelbach. The mayor of SG Weiterstadt quickly turns on the light. Even now, these desolate corridors create a sense of unease. “Three decades ago, space was used pragmatically and optimally. “Today you would plan it and build it differently.” Even the adjoining dressing rooms do not have daylight.

In SG Weiterstadt, a large club with more than 2500 members, departments for almost all the usual sports except football, a strong awareness has already been created of such deficits of the beautiful sports facility in the municipality near Darmstadt.

Above all, participating in a Hessian youth youth sports welfare project has sensitized the association in the last two years. Since then, preventing all forms of violence, from peer bullying to violence and sexual abuse, has played an even more important role in society. “These risks should not be taboo,” says Gießelbach. “That’s why we deliberately go public, so that everyone can see that we care about him.

“What if something happens?”

Gießelbach initiated the process as president of the association, Christiane Greifenstein and Danica Paepcke lead the process in daily life, in which all coaches are constantly familiar with preventive work in further training. Greifenstein is a child protection officer and is the full-time manager of the club’s sports garden. She has experience from a case in which a mother had to be deprived of her child. “I always emphasize that we are concerned about the well-being of the child,” says Greifenstein. “And not to prevent abuse. That’s part of the fear, at least linguistically. “

Excellent dark corner facility: SG Weiterstadt tennis court.

Excellent dark corner facility: SG Weiterstadt tennis court.

Image: Michael Braunschädel

There was no specific cause in SG Weiterstadt. Instead, there were questions that particularly troubled the mayor. My initial personal questions were: ‘What if something happens?’ and ‘What would I really do if I had a suspicion, if I thought I was observing something that was detrimental to the child’s well-being or might even indicate abuse?’ “says Gießelbach. He admitted that he could not satisfactorily answer questions related to his club.

He persuaded other board members to turn everyday life upside down at the club. “Not everyone in the club was enthusiastic about it. “Of course there was a fear of creating a topic where there really was not one,” he said. Some of the 120 coaches, 78 of whom are involved with 1,400 children and youngsters, initially saw as harassing the fact that the club asked them to submit a self-declaration that contained no more information than the extended police permit certificate in place. from State Sport. Association (LSB) .recognized criminal offenses. “One coach refused, so we had to split up, even if it would be very difficult for us,” says Gießelbach. Others were upset about the extra time needed for further training. “We were able to convince the vast majority that this effort is necessary, because we as an association have a great responsibility for the children, but also for our coaches,” says Greifenstein.

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