USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy Parent/Guardian FAQ
USA Gymnastics cares deeply about the part the parent’s/guardian’s voice plays in preventing abuse in gymnastics. Reading our Safe Sport Policy and Quick Snapshot Guide is important for information related to misconduct in gymnastics and the standards to which our member clubs and professional members are held. Communication between parents, coaches, and club management is necessary for the success and well-being of every athlete. This dialogue will help us build a community that will ultimately keep athlete safety and well-being at the forefront of everything we do. USA Gymnastics Safe Sport personnel are available to talk with you, and by calling us, we can help you better understand our policies and the reporting process.

Where should I report if I suspect sexual misconduct?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction over all situations related to sexual misconduct. If you suspect sexual misconduct, please contact your local authorities and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. If you are unsure, you may contact the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Helpline for guidance at 833-844-7233 or Safesportpolicy@usagym.org. All other misconduct should be reported to USA Gymnastics through our online portal.

When should I make a report of non-sexual misconduct?
Reading the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy is important to understand and know what is reportable under that policy. All misconduct and violations of the Prevention Policies are reportable. If you are unsure, we encourage you to call our Safe Sport helpline at 833-844-7233 or contact us via email at Safesportpolicy@usagym.org. It’s important to trust your instincts as a parent for the safety of your child and the children within the gym and make the report, even when you question if it’s a reportable offense.

What reports do not fall within the jurisdiction of USA Gymnastics?
The authority of USA Gymnastics does not extend to involvement in employment matters between a club and its employees, misunderstandings associated with fees, or disagreements related to team placement and/or scores. Additionally, parents and club personnel are encouraged to work together to solve problems before those problems escalate. As a reminder, all matters involving sexual misconduct are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and local authorities.

I have a problem with the environmental conditions at my child’s club such as temperature, cleanliness or equipment. Can I report this?
Yes. Safe environmental conditions are very important to USA Gymnastics. However, we are unable to physically inspect a gym for unsafe environmental conditions. We encourage you to first contact your club’s management to express your concerns and possibly your local health department.

Does reporting anonymously change the process?
Possibly. We understand that reporting can be difficult and the person making the report may have fears about possible retaliation. However, an anonymous report can slow or completely halt the process of the investigation, as well as the resolution, when there is no identifying information from the reporter.

USA Gymnastics keeps all information included in reports confidential. Identifying information such as name, phone number, and email address are only used for follow-up purposes.

My child is being bullied or harassed by other teammates. What should I do?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among peers that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated and occurs over the course of time.

Bullying and harassment should never be tolerated in any gymnastics environment, and it goes against the core values of USA Gymnastics and violates the Safe Sport Policy. We encourage parents, athletes and coaches to work together to find solutions to problems between teammates, so a swift resolution can be found if at all possible.

Common questions to consider before reporting:
  1. Has this occurred over the course of time?
  2. Is there a power imbalance between the athletes? (Example: Is one athlete older, been on the team longer, or have a higher social status?)
  3. Are there examples of humiliation, degradation, discriminatory language, or deliberate isolation from teammates?
  4. Has there been any harassment via social media or electronic communication, such as text or email?
  5. Have there been any photographs taken and then altered?
  6. Has this issue been addressed with the club owner/coach?
I believe my child is being exposed to emotionally abusive coaching. What should I do?
If you believe that emotional or verbal misconduct is happening in your gym but are unsure, here are some questions to consider.
  1. Has this instance occurred more than once?
  2. Are there examples of humiliation, degradation, body shaming or discriminatory actions?
  3. Have there been instances of name calling, constant screaming, or offhanded jokes directed at your child?
  4. Are basic needs such as water, bathroom breaks, or medical care ignored or denied as a means of punishment?
  5. Have there been times when items have been thrown at your child, other children or in a way that would cause a reasonable person to be fearful?
  6. Is your child showing signs of fear when going to practice?
  7. Have you noticed an increased level of sadness, a loss of interest in gymnastics, or extreme anxiety before or after practice?
  8. Does your child express a sense of “walking on eggshells” while they are around the coach in question?
  9. Has this situation been brought to the attention of the management of the gym?
If you believe your child or other children have been exposed to emotional misconduct in a USA Gymnastics member club, please contact USA Gymnastics at Safesportpolicy@usagym.org or on the helpline at 833-844-7233.

To make a formal report, please visit our online portal.

I can’t always take my child to practice or a meet. Can my child travel with his/her coach?
The one-on-one policy always applies, including daily transportation to and from regular activities. Absent emergency circumstances, adult professional and instructor members of USA Gymnastics shall not ride in a vehicle alone with a single, unrelated minor athlete.

A member club may deviate from the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy for the limited purpose of airline travel or local travel with parental consent. The member club exercising this option must:
  1. Indemnify USA Gymnastics from all liability, and must execute the Indemnification Form.
  2. Submit the Indemnification Form to Safesportpolicy@usagym.org where it will be filed with their club membership agreement.
  3. Parents or legal guardians, the authorized agent for club, and the unrelated adult must sign the written consent form; the original is kept on file with the member club; and a copy is submitted to USA Gymnastics.
  4. Parents and Minor Athletes involved must take the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s course on recognizing and responding to signs of abuse. This course is available online.
My child’s club has implemented restricted viewing times for practice. Is this consistent with USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy?
Per USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy, all member clubs must permit parents and guardians access to training sessions. However, many of our member clubs have issues related to space, noise levels that can distract the athletes, or are trying to build a sense of independence in their athletes while training. Some of these matters may impact the ability of a parent to view their child for limited periods of time. We encourage you to ask your club owners for clarification and reasoning behind their policies and work together toward reasonable solutions.

For clarification:
  1. Clubs CAN set parameters related to viewing times based on space available, parental behavior during practice sessions or behavior of the athlete while the parents are viewing.
  2. Clubs CANNOT ban all team parents from viewing of practices. Rather, clubs CAN develop a schedule that allows for team parents to rotate in-person parental viewing of practice.
  3. Clubs CANNOT physically prevent a parent from entering a building where his/her child is located. For example, locking business doors to prevent parental access to the building is not an option.
  4. Clubs CAN, should a parent create a disruptive club environment for staff, athletes or other clientele, establish an alternative viewing opportunity, such as closed-circuit video viewing, and/or assigning another family member to view practice.
  5. A club must provide fair notice and process to any parent that they will be denying the ability to physically witness practice.
If you are unsure whether or not you should make a report based on parental access to training or would just like to discuss potential best practices for parental viewing, please contact the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Helpline for guidance at 833-844-7233 or via email at Safesportpolicy@usagym.org.

Could you clarify the one-on-one policy for parents who have other professional relationships with their child’s coach, such as babysitter or nanny?
We understand that there are times when professional relationships were created before a family and coach entered into a coach/athlete relationship. However, it is against the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy for a professional member of USA Gymnastics to be one-on-one with a minor athlete because of the power imbalance involved in the relationship. We encourage parents to seek other options for childcare.

USA Gymnastics understands there are numerous situations between families and coaches that we can’t account for in a policy. For clarification of this policy and situations that may cause confusion, please contact the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Helpline for guidance at 833-844-7233 or via email at Safesportpolicy@usagym.org.

My child was just invited to join the team. How can I be sure if the number of hours he/she is being asked to train is appropriate? How can I ensure my child’s overall well-being and mental health as he/she progresses through the gymnastics system?
Congratulations on your child’s joining the USA Gymnastics family! Joining a gymnastics team can be fun, but also tough as they learn the skills and discipline required to be competitive. We encourage you to keep an open dialogue with your child regarding his/her stress, ability to manage his/her schoolwork, friends he/she is making in the gym, and feelings he/she may have toward his/her coaches and training schedule. Additionally, making your child’s coach aware of any concerns will go a long way in lessening the potential for problems and misunderstandings in the future.

USA Gymnastics does not set policy on competitive team requirements for athletes at the club level. Decisions are left up to the club and coaching staff of each gym. Before having your child join the team, be sure to ask the following questions.
  1. How many hours will my child train on a weekly basis?
  2. What are the costs involved, including tuition, meet fees, uniform fees, travel and choreography fees?
  3. What is the approximate amount of meets my child will participate in during the season?
  4. How much travel will be expected of my child each season?
  5. What is expected of my child in terms of conditioning?
  6. How will the coaching style change now that my child has moved from the recreation team to the competitive team?
  7. What is the best method and time to communicate with my child’s coach regarding his/her progress or concerns I may have?
  8. Is there a team parent who has been here longer that I can be paired with to help me with this transition?