A Message from the Director of Safe Sport
Greetings, USA Gymnastics members:
By now – hopefully – you’ve heard about our new Safe Sport Policy.
What you may not know is that the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy replaces the Participant Welfare Policy. Earlier this year, USA Gymnastics staff and leadership made significant changes and improvements that strengthened the Participant Welfare Policy such that it was renamed the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy.
The vast majority of the updates came from the U.S. Center for SafeSport guidelines and the Deborah Daniels recommendations.
All roads within the Safe Sport Policy lead back to protecting our gymnasts to the best of our ability. At the end of the day, any new safe sport policy or initiative must accomplish that singular goal.
As you review it, you will see true prevention in the Proactive Policies (pages 4-5). These were created to prohibit boundary violations and prevent grooming behaviors.
You will also see a strong focus on appropriate response. “Appropriate response” means fulfilling one’s legal reporting obligations, meeting USA Gymnastics’ member requirements, and responding with belief and compassion if a youth discloses abuse or misconduct to you.
Additionally, the Policy demands increased accountability throughout the organization and its membership, as well as increased categories of misconduct, from two to six. The Participant Welfare Policy addressed sexual misconduct and physical misconduct. The new Safe Sport Policy has expanded the definition of misconduct to also include verbal/emotional misconduct, bullying, hazing and harassment.
The new Safe Sport Policy is about Zero Opportunity [for misconduct], and Zero Tolerance. We all have to work together for it to achieve what we want…what we need it to achieve: Gymnasts who are protected from misconduct to the best of our ability. USA Gymnastics staff and board of directors, gym owners, coaches, parents, judges and volunteers – we all have our role…our responsibility. And we have to support each other as we move forward in this important mission.
Please. Please make it a priority to review the new Safe Sport Policy so you fully understand its content and what you need to do to be in compliance. Compliance is mandatory for USA Gymnastics membership. It’s also the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for the gymnasts you are responsible for, and it’s the right thing to do for your business. There is too much at risk…too much at stake…both for you and your gymnasts.