Sexual Misconduct Policy

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Section 1: Introduction

Policy Statement

Clyde Football Club is committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for all who engage with the sport of football and takes an absolute stand that it does not condone sexual harassment, sexual violence or any form of gender-based violence.

The aim of the Policy is to prevent harm, respond to incidents that arise and take action to effect long-term change by.

  • Fostering an environment within the sport that supports the dignity and respect of all and is free from any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment and violence, including sexual violence. 
  • Providing a clear and publicised process and procedure for dealing with misconduct when it does occur, to ensure it is properly managed. This requires to be both accessible for external and internal reports;
  • Recognising the role of education on the topics of sexual misconduct and consent, and ensuring awareness of this policy and related appendices amongst players, employees, volunteers and the wider fanbase of the club.
  • Reporting on what happened to learn from it to prevent it happening again.
  • Welcoming opportunities to champion for a society free from both sexual and gender based violence
  • Committing to the definitions and ethos outlined in the appendices

Everyone has a part to play in being aware of, preventing and dealing with sexual misconduct. The Policy sets out the expectations for the behaviour of anyone within our organisation as well as what we can do to protect both those within our sport and the community from sexual misconduct. It is supported by the Board of Directors and they will all be visible champions of this Policy.

We will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct in our environs or under our auspices and will treat all incidents seriously, promptly responding to all such allegations. There is no time constraint around reporting an incident of sexual misconduct under this Policy.

Grievance and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure

For those within our organisation sexual misconduct may be treated as a disciplinary offence. In such cases, the club’s grievance procedures will have primacy over procedures outlined here, but the context of any incidents will be judged by the definitions laid out in the appendices. Appropriate disciplinary action, including warnings, suspension and dismissal with or without notice in accordance with the organisation’s disciplinary procedure may be taken against any person who violates this Policy. There may also be circumstances where further training is mandated for individuals, teams, or the whole organisation.

No one will be victimised for making a complaint of sexual misconduct or for helping another person to make such a complaint. This means that anyone who makes such a complaint or who helps someone to make such a complaint, for example by giving evidence or information, will not be treated badly because of their actions. No one will be subject to disciplinary action or to any other detriment simply because their complaint is not upheld. 

The safety of those within our organisation is of the utmost importance and through this Policy we will not tolerate any behaviour by fans (home or away) towards our players or any other member of the organisation that would be considered sexual misconduct. Whilst allegations may be reported to the police at the will of the complainer, the organisation holds the right to remove and ban anyone found to be violating this Policy. Any Season Ticket Holder may have their Season Ticket revoked without a refund if found to be in breach of this Policy. 

The Safeguarding Officer has overall responsibility for this policy and will monitor instances where it is referred to in order to ensure the continuing relevance and effectiveness of the policy and any associated activities. 

While this Policy does not form part of any contract of employment or contract to provide services, and may be amended at any time as set out above, all stakeholders will be made aware of this Policy and will be expected to comply with it. This Policy will be communicated to all players, staff and volunteers using a variety of methods including induction, training and in-house publications

When does this policy apply?

This Policy will apply to any form of sexual misconduct that has taken place within the organisation or is committed by or against a player, employee, or volunteer whilst associated with the club.

Section 2: Reporting Procedure

This section gives guidance on what to do if you have a concern that a person is at risk, you have been harmed or you are concerned you have committed sexual misconduct.

If there is an emergency and a person is in immediate harm call 999. If you have been victim to a rape or sexual assault it is important to remember that it was not your fault, it is a crime and you should never be afraid to get help and report it.

Please see details on the NHS website for advice on where you can seek support.

Our dedicated Sexual Misconduct Prevention Officer is listed in the Club Directory. If the position is vacant at any time, or if the dedicated officer is unavailable, the responsibility will fall to the Safeguarding Officer

You do not have to be the recipient or target of sexual misconduct to raise a concern or make a  complaint. If you see it happening or become aware of it, you should report it provided it is safe to do so and you feel able to do so. We recognise that past experience of sexual misconduct may make this difficult. Your actions can be important in helping create a culture free from sexual misconduct and ensuring that there are no bystanders. Tackling sexual misconduct is everybody’s responsibility. Those who have witnessed sexual misconduct can use the reporting mechanisms outlined below.

Reports will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. The person making the report should provide as much detail as they feel comfortable with. No additional persons other than the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Officer and the Safeguarding Officer (either of whom may be the Investigating Officer depending on circumstances) within our organisation will have direct access to the information contained in the anonymous report except by express approval of the reporter.

No direct action can be taken against any individual perpetrator of sexual misconduct in response to an anonymous report, but the data generated from such reports will be gathered and stored in compliance with data protection laws. This can be very important in revealing a pattern of behaviour. High level data will be collated by the Investigating Officers periodically and, once all possible identifying features have been removed, it will be passed to the Board of Directors in order to inform the organisation about the extent and nature of sexual misconduct. If appropriate, structural changes to the way in which the organisation currently operates will be made with a view to preventing sexual misconduct.

If you have, or are concerned that you have, engaged in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (intentionally or otherwise), you should take responsibility for your actions as soon as you can, as they may amount to sexual misconduct. This is important as it may prevent the recipient of your behaviour from experiencing further trauma. For further advice, you should contact the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Officer who will treat any information in accordance with this policy.

Investigation Process

At the outset of the investigation the position concerning confidentiality will be explained to participants before they take part. In practice, there will be a requirement for those giving evidence (including complainers and alleged perpetrators) to the investigation to keep what they have said in the process confidential (though they will be given details of those in the organisation that they can speak to for support). It will also be explained how the information they provide in the process may be used and shared in the future. While the sensitive nature of information will be respected and it will be managed accordingly, participants should understand that the information may be used as part of a subsequent HR process. For example, it could form part of a disciplinary investigation in which case the information would be shared with the alleged perpetrator. It may be that materials are ultimately used as evidence in legal proceedings which could be held in a public forum. Within the organisation, confidentiality will be maintained as far as possible, with information only being shared when appropriate. We may at times need to involve external agencies where a criminal offence may have been committed, or if maintaining confidentially would pose a risk to the complainant or to others. In all other circumstances, breach of confidentiality may be a disciplinary offence.

Employees/Management/Players shall be guaranteed a fair and impartial hearing whether they are the complainant or the alleged perpetrator.

Managing a complaint under this Policy will mirror the structure of any other Grievance Process while also recognising the unique issues and skillsets that may be needed to properly manage a sexual misconduct complaint.

An investigator will be appointed. The default position is that the investigator will hold the same role as a grievance hearer. Their remit will be to:

(i) investigate the complaint.

(ii) provide an outcome to the complainant; and

(iii) where appropriate make a recommendation as to whether the matter should be referred to a disciplinary process centred around the alleged perpetrator.

Our default approach is for the person investigating the concern to decide on the outcome for the complainant, because they will have a first-hand understanding of all the information and have spoken with all witnesses. This reduces the need for the person raising the concern to re-tell their story to multiple people and we hope will therefore minimise the need to re-open any past trauma. However, the person raising the complaint under this policy will have the option of requesting that a separate person be appointed for stages (i) and (ii) above. That would create separation between the investigation stage and the decision-making stage. The person raising the complaint should request this at the time of raising the complaint should they wish to build in that separation. We will then discuss the impact of that change in process with them and agree a final approach with the preference of the complainant being accommodated unless it would be unreasonable to do so.

As explained at (iii) above, one possible outcome could be that disciplinary action is recommended, in which case the investigation carried out under this Policy will form part of the disciplinary investigation. In that event, the Board will appoint a Disciplinary Hearer. The Disciplinary Hearer will be responsible for satisfying themselves that a reasonable investigation has been carried out for the purpose of the disciplinary matter they are tasked with considering (that may be the same as, wider than, narrower than, or otherwise different from the complaint investigated under the sexual misconduct policy). In doing so, they may instruct the Investigating Officer to carry out further investigation for the disciplinary process. The Disciplinary Hearer may also conduct further investigation themselves. It is possible that in a sexual misconduct matter a disciplinary hearer may wish to speak to certain witnesses including the person who raised the complaint first hand to gain a fuller understanding of their evidence. The Disciplinary Hearer will conduct a fair disciplinary process while remaining mindful of minimising the circumstances in which a complainant is required to re-tell their account as this may re-open past trauma.

We will ensure that the complainant, and the alleged perpetrator, are not required to work together while the complaint is under investigation. In a serious case, as a precautionary measure for the protection of the complainant or to prevent interference in the investigation, the alleged perpetrator may be suspended while investigation and any subsequent disciplinary procedure are undertaken. Such suspension will be for as short a time as possible, will be on full pay and will not amount to a disciplinary sanction.

Where the complaint is not upheld, or proceeds to a disciplinary process under which the outcome involves the alleged perpetrator remaining with the organisation, support will be made available to all parties involved. The aim will be to understand and re-build professional relationships where possible, failing which to provide closure as far as possible and enable the organisation to learn and move forward. Mediation and/or an offer of redeployment may also be offered to affected parties.

If a complaint of sexual misconduct is upheld, then it may progress to a disciplinary process. The sexual misconduct investigation is likely to be the basis of that disciplinary investigation. The outcome of that disciplinary process could range from no sanction to a sanction including warnings, compulsory transfers (without protection of wages or salary), and dismissal (with or without notice). These steps will be taken in accordance with staff disciplinary procedures.

The standard of proof will be considered on the balance of probabilities, recognising the requirement for all players, volunteers, officials and other employees to refrain from behaviour that may bring the club and sport into disrepute.

When someone has been charged with an offence relating to sexual misconduct, we will act in the best interest of our team, our fans and the sport by automatically implementing safeguarding measures. When someone is charged with a crime, we recognised that this means there is corroborating evidence and we will always put the safety of others over the skill of the accused by automatically instigating a full disciplinary investigation.

Section 3: Responsibilities

Those in positions of authority have a particular duty to ensure that, within their area of responsibility, everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

To discharge this duty, they must:

  • Always challenge any unacceptable or questionable behaviour that they become aware of even if they are not directly affected.
  • Be aware of behaviour and language that can cause offence including jokes and banter, and if necessary, remind workers of the expected standards. The focus in dealing with complaints should be to understand what has happened and address that proportionately, including where this involves the employer acknowledging failings in either the process or its implementation.
  • Deal directly with third party perpetrator, outlining actions which may include withdrawing service, terminating a contract, banning from the premises if behaviour is not moderated.
  • Ensure that this policy is followed.

In terms of their own behaviour, those in positions of authority are expected to be exemplars to others. Any inappropriate behaviour or response to such behaviour or abuse of a manager’s positional power will serve to condone misconduct and will be considered a serious breach of this Policy and be managed under the Disciplinary Policy. 

Bringing the Sport into Disrepute

Sports players are ambassadors for their sport, their clubs, their club’s sponsors, and their own personal reputation.

Employers (including sporting clubs) do not have a broad right to exercise control over the out-of-hours behaviour of their employees. However, this changes if the behaviour amounts to ‘some other substantial reason’ justifying dismissal. Whilst criminal offences and bad behaviour outside of work are not grounds for dismissal, should they bring the club into disrepute we reserve the right to instigate disciplinary action.

Appendix 1: What is Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct can cover a wide range of inappropriate and unwanted behaviour. From the most severe and forms of sexual violence, which includes rape and sexual assault, it encompasses further  types of behaviours such as stalking, sexual microaggressions and unwanted touching. Sexual misconduct can be considered a lay term to apply to polices that cover an array of problematic  behaviours of a sexual manner that include sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010. It occurs when a person is subjected to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or the effect of: 

  • violating the person’s dignity, or
  • creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Unwanted conduct that has one of these effects can be harassment even if the effect was not intended. A single one-off event or a series of incidents can amount to sexual harassment. A person can be affected by sexual harassment even if the conduct is not targeted at them.

Unwanted conduct can be physical (e.g., inappropriate touching, pinching, stroking or patting), verbal (e.g. sexual advances, locker-room banter, insults based on the sex of a person) or non-verbal (e.g.  displaying of sexually explicit imagery, whistling, leering).

It is also unlawful to treat someone less favourably because they have either submitted a complaint of sexual harassment or have rejected such behaviour. Under international law, sexual harassment constitutes a breach of a person’s human rights.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or that of the harasser. Sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. We recognise that sexual harassment often arises as a form of violence against women and girls.  Sexual harassment can also be a form of violence targeted at men and those with non-binary gender identities.

Sexual harassment is often a manifestation of power relationships and frequently occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between manager or supervisor and a more  junior colleague, or a longstanding employee and a new joiner. It frequently arises as the result of sexism and power inequalities between women and men. In cases where sexual harassment is found to have occurred, such abuses of power will be taken into account in deciding what disciplinary  action to take.

We also recognise that certain vulnerable or minority groups may be more at risk from sexual harassment. Where a person has more than one protected characteristic, this may increase the risk of them experiencing sexual harassment. This is because multiple categories of identity such as gender, race, sexuality, trans status, religion and disability can interact in ways that create complex systems of oppression and power which can result in harassment based on a combination of different aspects of a person’s identity. We refer to this as intersectional harassment and address it further in Appendix 3.

Sexual Violence

Sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to or is forced into against their will including rape. It is a form of sexual violence and is a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
What is Consent?

Consent is defined as ‘free agreement.’ Where some form of coercion, violence or threat is used, this means there has been no consent given.

In addition to this definition, The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 provides a list of situations where consent could not be given:

  • Where the victim is incapable of consenting because of the effect of alcohol or any other substance.
  • Where the victim is asleep or unconscious.
  • Where the victim agrees or submits to the conduct because of violence or threats of violence used against them, or any other person.

Note: Other situations may occur that are not on this list. This does not imply that consent is given.

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 also clarifies the position where consent is given and  then later withdrawn. It states the following:

  • Consent to one type of conduct does not imply consent to any other type of conduct.
  • Consent to conduct may be withdrawn at any time. This can be before or during the conduct.
  • If the conduct takes place or continues to take place after consent has been withdrawn, it does so without consent.

Having the capacity to give consent is important. If the victim has any mental illness; personality disorder; or learning disability, however caused or manifested, this must be acknowledged. Anyone is incapable of consenting to conduct if through their mental disorder they are unable to do one or more of the following:

  • Understand what the conduct is
  • Decide whether to engage in the conduct (or as to whether the conduct should take place) or not
  • Communicate any such decision
  • Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) 
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse tends to refer to child sexual abuse and involves any sexual activity with a child under 16 years of age by an adult (someone over 18). It is most often carried out by a person who is well  known to the child, often within the family or in another position of trust. Children and young people can also be abused through sexual exploitation.

Abuse of Power

On form of abuse of power can be defined by the NSPCC as grooming – is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so that they can  manipulate, exploit and abuse them. It is most often an adult grooming a child or young person.  However, this can happen to adults too. One aspect of grooming is that people can be manipulated  into thinking they are in a loving and consensual relationship. But when that person lies to you, or  leads you to believe things about them that are not true, this is an abuse of power and trust.

Appendix 2: Tackling Rape Culture

We do not stand for rape culture, nor do we perpetuate a culture which reinforces misogynistic attitudes and harmful behaviours. There is no place for bullying or discrimination, including through text messages, emails, and social media posts. This includes complicity, retaliation, malicious and vexatious reporting.

‘Rape culture is pervasive. It is embedded in the way we think, speak, and move in the world.

While the contexts may differ, rape culture is always rooted in patriarchal beliefs, power, and control.

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fuelled by the persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture.

Every day we have the opportunity to examine our behaviours and beliefs for biases that permit rape  culture to continue. From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities; we can all take action against rape culture’.

UN Women: 16 ways you can stand against rape culture.

Whilst many sports in Scotland are very male dominated it is imperative that these spaces are  opened up and made safe for women. Eradicating rape culture is a key component to lifting many of  the barriers that stop women getting involved in sport.

Fundamentally, fostering a sport culture that is safer for women by stopping the microaggressive sexual misconduct, sexist chanting and locker room banter creates change on larger scale. It teaches  young children looking up to our players as role models how to treat one another and aims to  reduce to likelihood of someone growing up not understanding what consent is and knowing what  constitutes as sexual misconduct. 

Appendix 3: Intersectionality

As an organisation we strive to ensure that all policy and guidance is founded with the understanding of intersectionality. Whilst anyone can experience sexual misconduct in sport, it is imperative to recognise that some people experience intersecting inequalities in society empirically differently from their counterparts. These qualities consist of, but are not limited to, power, gender, race, class, nationality, age, disability and sexual orientation and place people in an especially vulnerable position. We understand that these multiple forms of inequality can often amplify disadvantages and create barriers to sport that often are not understood among typical narratives.

We commit to understanding structural inequality in Scotland and how that can impact experiences of sexual misconduct in sport. We refer to the Scottish Government Publication on ‘Using intersectionality to understand structural inequality in Scotland’

Appendix 4: Further Information and Support Services  

Dealing with sexual misconduct at work 

To help you understand your rights and options, employers and anyone affected by sexual misconduct at work can: 

  • call the ACAS helpline.
  • get legal advice.
  • talk to your trade union or employers’ association if you have one 
  • Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) 

For advice on discrimination issues: Phone 0808 800 0082 

For confidential advice for individuals who have witnessed wrongdoing in their workplace but are  unsure how to raise their concerns: Phone 020 3117 2520 

Women who’ve experienced sexual misconduct at work can get free legal advice from: 

  • Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

Employers overseeing a sexual misconduct complaint can read: 

  • workplace sexual misconduct guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  If you’re struggling to cope and need someone to talk to, you can contact: 
  • Samaritans 
  • LGBT Foundation 

Help after sexual assault or rape.

You can get help and information from:

  • Galop – LGBT+ sexual violence support 
  • Rape Crisis Scotland 
  • The Survivors Trust 
  • SurvivorsUK – male rape and sexual abuse support 
  • Victim Support

Find out about other help after rape and sexual assault on the NHS website.

To contact the police: 

  • call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
  • call 101 if it is not an emergency. 

To report a crime online, visit: 

  • Police Scotland 

When you’re reporting a crime, you can ask to speak to a specialist officer who’s trained to deal with sexual violence.

Policy Last Reviewed August 2023