Creation of a reporting cell at the Ministry of Sports, increase in the number of automatic controls of sports educators and volunteers… If they point out that there has been “a turning point since 2020” in the fight against sexual violence in sport, the senators consider that it is necessary to go further. Particularly concerning the control of good repute of those working with minors and the obligations of club leaders.
This is the meaning of the bill adopted on Wednesday, June 7, by the Senate’s culture, education and communication committee. This text aims to transpose into the sporting environment the measures of good repute, which are applicable to the social and medico-social sectors since the vote of the law relating to the protection of children in 2022 (Taquet law). In addition, it aims to establish the obligation for club leaders to report the risky behavior of the professional educators or volunteers they employ, unless they expose themselves to sanctions.
The bill, which will be debated in public session on June 15, was initially tabled by Senator Sébastien Pla (Socialist Party). It was amended by rapporteur Jean-Jacques Lozach (Socialist Party) and completed during its examination in committee – a second article was added to the only pre-existing article.
Its content responds, in part, to the appeal that the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, launched during a symposium on the theme “Children facing violence in sport”, in the Senate on February 9: “It is urgent for me to improve our prevention and control tools”, she explained, emphasizing in the first place the need to “systematize integrity checks, with better automaticity of cross-referencing of files during preliminary investigations of morality, as well as feedback to the employer or the manager of the structure in the event of an incapacitating criminal conviction of a sports supervisor”.
Double check files
Through its first article, the bill wants to impose, during integrity checks, to verify that the persons concerned not only do not have a criminal record – the bulletin noh 2 (B2) listing most of the convictions – but also that they do not appear in the File of perpetrators of sexual or violent offenses (Fijais).
The senators justify this double obligation by the fact that “certain convictions can be erased from the B2 as early as six months after the date of conviction at the request of the convicted person”while they “remain registered in Fijais for a minimum of twenty years”. Mr Lozach also notes in his report that several decisions aimed at dismissing a sports educator “registered in Fijais, but whose offense no longer appeared in B2, were challenged by the courts”.
The senatorial committee also added a prohibition to practice for a person who would have been convicted abroad for acts which, if they had been committed in France, would have resulted in the incapacity to practice.
The senators also introduced in this same article the principle of the annuality of the control of good repute, arguing that the only control prior to taking office is not sufficient, “many sports educators, especially volunteers, remaining in post for many years in the same club”.
In his report, Mr. Lozach specifies that one million volunteer educators (out of 2 million) were subject, at the end of May, to a systematized integrity check, a procedure which began in 2022. “One hundred and thirty incapacities have been notified”he says.
Administrative measure of prohibition
The second article, added to the bill on the initiative of the commission, starts from the observation, made by Mr. Lozach at the end of his hearings, that no administrative measure can be taken against club leaders who would not be active in terms of prevention, or even who would be inactive in the face of cases of sexual violence.
“Le Monde” deciphers the news and the challenges of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“While the prefect can take an administrative ban on the practice of potentially dangerous sports educators, there is no similar ban for club leaders, emphasizes Mr. Lozach. The prefect only has the power to close the club administratively – nothing prevents the manager from opening a new one. »
The senators therefore want to create an administrative measure prohibiting, temporary or definitive, the running of a club which would apply in three cases: the employment of a sports educator who does not respect the criteria of good repute, the refusal to report risky behavior and behavior of the leader himself posing a threat to practitioners. In the event of non-compliance with this administrative measure, the club manager concerned is liable to a one-year prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros.
While greeting “encouraging results” obtained since 2020 in the fight against sexual violence – more than 907 cases investigated, 424 bans from practicing (at the end of 2022) –, Mme Oudéa-Castéra, during his speech in February in the Senate, had underlined “the extent of the phenomenon and the fight that remains to be waged”. With their bill, the senators intend to provide the means to “be able to act faster”.