WFDF Comments on Integrity Officer Review of Assault Allegations

In News, Press Release * Official Communication by WFDF

In May 2022, WFDF received complaints of alleged sexual assault by male Ultimate players from Colombia of one or more female Ultimate players. The complaints were submitted anonymously after being posted on social media and were said to date back to March 2016.

WFDF takes all allegations of abuse, discrimination, assault, or harassment very seriously. These issues are addressed under WFDF’s Safe Sport Policy and its Conduct Policy. Per the Safe Sport Policy, WFDF considers that “Any form of discrimination, harassment, or abuse — be it physical, mental, professional or sexual — is completely incompatible with the intrinsic values of sports. Within WFDF, there is zero tolerance for discrimination, harassment, or abuse (collectively, “Misconduct”).”

Per its policies, the complaints that were received in connection with the incident were directed to WFDF’s Integrity Officers, Julie Gabriel and John Liljelund, independent sports professionals with significant experience in international sports issues.  Their role is to receive information relating to Misconduct and initiate investigations. After reviewing the complaints, they considered the allegations and noted that the complaints if substantiated would constitute a serious crime which should have been reported to the local police authorities. Notwithstanding, the Integrity Officers concluded that it would be very difficult to initiate a full investigation since there were no police reports or medical reports regarding the alleged assault, the incident apparently occurred six years ago, the National Federation had not pursued its own investigation even though the incident is purported to have occurred solely among Colombian nationals, and the complaints were filed anonymously.

This conclusion does not mean that the Integrity Officers dismiss the complaints as not having substance, but rather that the circumstances regarding the complaints would make it nearly impossible to conduct a reasonable investigation, as outlined in the Safe Sport Policy. If new allegations were to arise, a more complete investigation would be commenced that might also take into account these earlier complaints.

WFDF recognizes that it is not always easy or possible for victims to get help from the authorities in certain countries due to cultural biases or lack of jurisdictional rigor. Any athlete that has become a victim of abuse, discrimination, assault, or harassment should seek help. Getting a police report, or medical report and informing your National Federation could help an investigation. Prompt reporting to either the National Federation or to WFDF greatly helps in any potential investigation and should be done in all cases. There are other resources from which victims of Misconduct can get advice and guidance internationally, such as from:

‘Stop Violence Against Women:’ https://www.stopvaw.org/Stop_Violence_Against_Women

‘End Violence Against Women International’: https://evawintl.org/

‘IOC Safe Sport Initiatives’: https://olympics.com/ioc/safe-sport

Anyone who wishes to report Misconduct that they have personally experienced or on behalf of a victim should feel free to contact WFDF’s Integrity Officers directly or to submit a complaint using this form.

The safety and well-being of all Disc Sport players is of paramount importance to us at WFDF, and we require everyone to act in a way that is respectful and keeps our community safe.

Author: WFDF