Participants, coaches, supervisors, administrators and officials need to be aware of the potential problems that an intimate relationship can create for their club or organisation and themselves.
An intimate (sexual) relationship between for example a participant and coach or supervisor has the potential to be damaging even if it doesn't constitute harassment.
Not every intimate relationship between club or organisation members is of concern. Many clubs or organisations' teams and groups are coached by a member's partner, whānau or friend.
Relationships where there is a great disparity in terms of authority, maturity, status and dependence have the potential to be harmful, even if both parties have reached the legal age of consent.
Factors to consider when assessing potential harm include:
- the age of the participant
- the potential for 'grooming' or undue influence
- differences in authority or status
- patterns of inappropriate behaviour (e.g., has the person had previous relationships with participants?)
- the impact on the organisation
- possible impact on the sport's/activity's public image.
While an intimate relationship between, for example, an adult coach and adult participant is not unlawful, an intimate relationship between an adult coach and participant under the age of consent is illegal.