Sporting organisations develop policies to communicate appropriate behaviour, protect the rights of members and visitors and set expectations around standards of behaviour. To ensure your policies include the needs of people from diverse cultural backgrounds you should talk to members, participants and community groups. The feedback they provide will be useful for the development of your policy.
If you would like external support to develop your policies you can speak to your affiliated State Sporting Association, Local Government, a Regional Sport Assembly or a State Sport & Recreation Body (such as the Centre for Multicultural Youth).
The Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) has a useful resource about consulting with migrant and refugee youth. Click here to read more. CMY also has an excellent resource for to help you develop actions when planning and developing inclusive policies. Click here to download the Culturally Inclusive Planning for Sports toolkit.
In some cultures, women and girls’ dress codes are modest. A flexible uniform policy allows appropriate dress codes for multiple cultural and religious beliefs.
Consider the following approach when developing guidelines or policies about flexible uniforms at your club:
- Recognise that in circumstances where religious and cultural beliefs conflict with the standard dress code, that modification to the standard uniform will be accommodated where possible (e.g. where safety and other playing requirements can be met).
- In addition, wherever possible consider flexibility in uniforms to encourage the participation of women and girls from CALD backgrounds. This may include, but is not limited to:
- less restrictive, body hugging attire.
- the wearing of traditional head scarf.
- the wearing of leggings or tracksuits to cover legs.
- the wearing of long sleeve top to cover arms.
A useful resource is the Government of Western Australia’s Multicultural Female Uniform Guidelines. Click here to read more.
How to develop your policy
Vicsport recommends clubs and associations take the following steps through the development of their guidelines and policies. Each is explored in more detail further in this document:
- Consult widely
- Write the policy
- Circulate the draft policy for feedback
- Finalise and approve the policy
- Communicate the policy
- Set a date for review
A clear and well-planned process will ensure that your organisation develops a thorough policy that contributes to a strong and vibrant culture at your organisation.
Policy Development Step 1: Consult widely
Engage with a broad cross-section of individuals involved in your organisation. This may include committee members, volunteers, players, and parents. It may also include your local council and respective State Sporting Association.
Consultation provides an opportunity for people involved in your club to become aware of the issues you are trying to address. An additional benefit of consultation is increased ownership of the policy as members feel they have contributed to positive change in the club. For policies relating to children (such as child safety and protection), it is important to also involve members aged under 18 in the consultation process.
Step 2: Write the policy
When writing a policy, you should consider:
The impact or change you want to achieve and the input and feedback you received during step 1.
How this policy may link with any policies in place or being developed by your State Sporting Association. Are the key areas of the policy consistent with any existing policies? You may consider using existing policies as a template for the new policy draft.
Step 3: Circulate the draft policy for feedback
When you have finalised the policy, circulate a copy to members for feedback. Where possible, seek feedback from your State Sporting Association. You could also consider approaching other local sport clubs, or clubs in your league or association, to find out if they have similar policies in place. Usually, sporting organisations are willing to share resources.
Step 4: Finalise and approve the policy
Collate the feedback gained through the review process and update your policy draft. Once your policy has been finalised, you will need to identify who is required to approve it (committee or members). This should be outlined in your club’s constitution. Any approval that occurs at committee or member meetings should be minuted and recorded for future reference.
Step 5: Communicate the Policy
Once approved, communicate your new policy throughout your club on an ongoing basis. You may consider doing this through:
- Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Sport/Team Apps).
- Newsletters (hard copy and emailed).
- Direct emails to your members.
- Displaying throughout your sport’s facilities.
Step 6: Set a Date for Review
Once your policy is finalised and communicated to your members, set a date for the policy to be reviewed every two years and ensure it is updated accordingly.
There are many great examples of inclusion policies in Victorian sport:
- Surf Life Saving Australia’s Inclusion Policy
- Netball Australia’s Inclusion Policy
- Gymnastics Australia’s Inclusion Policy
- AFL national vilification and discrimination policy
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is a great resource for more information. It also has a complaints hotline.
- Your State Sporting Association and National Sporting Organisation’s member protection policy will outline the processes for dealing with complaints and issues in your sport.
- Play by the Rules is a great resource for sport organisations. They have a range of resources, templates and online modules to help your organisation be more inclusive.
For more information check out: