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Canada’s criminal justice system confers anonymity on victims of sexual abuse, so when survivors summon the bravery to speak out, we ought to listen.

On Monday, former national team skiers Geneviève Simard, Anna Prchal, Gail Kelly and Amélie Frédérique-Gagnon recounted their hellish experiences at the hands of former coach Bertrand Charest.

The next day, four more skiers – Allison Forsyth, Katie Bertram, Gillian McFetridge and Émilie Cousineau – stepped forward to do likewise. The words “nightmare” and “monster” came up a lot.

Reliving one’s shattered childhood in public is not a decision taken lightly; these women are doing it out of a sense of public service.

We are an international laggard when it comes to shielding athletes from psychological, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. We have a patchwork of unevenly applied policies, the gaps in which are well known: A 2015 report by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport laid them bare in detail.

That this hasn’t been fixed is inexcusable. Multiple models exist from which to seek inspiration, but ours should be based on criteria enumerated this week by Lorraine Lafrenière, head of the Coaching Association of Canada.

They include training for coaches, team officials and volunteers, clear procedures spelling out the duty of care (especially where minors are involved) and creating independent officers who ensure oversight and handle complaints.

Most amateur-sport funding in Canada comes from public sources. Governments should beef up the requirements for federal, provincial or local federations seeking money. Not a penny should be granted to any organization that doesn’t have an accredited athlete-security framework in place.

In 2001, Canada’s sport ministers produced a declaration vowing to make amateur sports safe for all. By then Mr. Charest, now a convicted sexual predator and serving a 12-year prison sentence, was already busy ruining lives.

Eight women served notice this week they will not be defined by their abuser’s crimes. Ottawa and the provinces must honour their courage and act.

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