1. What is the U.S. Center for SafeSport, what is their jurisdiction and how is the Center empowered?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport (Center) is a major partner in our efforts to combat abuse. Their jurisdiction is exclusive as it relates to allegations of sexual misconduct and it retains discretionary jurisdiction over non-sexual misconduct allegations, i.e. bullying, harassment, physical and emotional misconduct. Created in March of 2017, the Center is an independent organization which was authorized by Congress on February 14, 2018, through S. 534 – Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. The bill amended the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978 by designating the Center to serve as the independent national safe sport organization, with the responsibility for developing policies and procedures to prevent the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of amateur athletes.
The Center receives reports, conducts investigations, determines sanctions, and informs National Governing Bodies for sport, such as US Equestrian, of sanctions against any persons for violations of the Center’s Safe Sport Code. The Center employs specially trained personnel to conduct its work. This partnership enables US Equestrian to bring you consistent and reliable reporting processes, resources and support.
2. What are the reporting requirements?
All USEF members and participants must report to the U.S. Center for SafeSport conduct of which they become aware that could constitute (a) sexual misconduct, (b) misconduct that is reasonably related to the underlying allegation of sexual misconduct, and (c) retaliation related to an allegation of sexual misconduct. This report must be made within immediately upon learning of an alleged misconduct.
Additionally, any emotional and/or physical misconduct should be reported directly to US Equestrian.
Importantly, the obligation to report requires reporting any conduct that comes to a member’s or participant’s attention, which if true, would violate the U.S. Center for SafeSport Code or USEF Safe Sport Policy.
Individuals should not investigate or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of allegations involving sexual misconduct, as a condition of reporting to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
3. What happens if I do not report conduct that I am required to report?
The failure to report sexual misconduct involving a minor to law enforcement is a crime under federal law and it is punishable as a criminal offense. Further, a failure to report sexual misconduct to the U.S. Center for SafeSport may be an independent violation of the SafeSport Code that could result in a sanction against the individual. Finally, the failure to report emotional and/or physical misconduct to USEF may be a violation of the USEF Safe Sport Policy that could result in a sanction against the individual.
4. Am I required to report about suspected abuse that occurred several years ago?
Yes. There is no statute of limitations applicable to reports of incidents of sexual misconduct made to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
5. What resources are available to learn more about Safe Sport?
The USEF website links to the Center with extensive resources including:
6. I am a parent/guardian and will have to sign the entry blank as coach/trainer for my minor child, do I need to do SafeSport Training?
Yes, anyone acting as a coach or trainer at competition, whether they sign an entry blank or not, must be a Senior Active Member of USEF and complete SafeSport Training.
7. What is USEF’s responsibility to enforce sanctions?
Federal Law requires USEF to enforce sanctions imposed by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and interim measures, including temporary suspensions. Communicating the information to members and the media is an important way to ensure protection of our members and participants in equestrian sport.
8. When did USEF’s Safe Sport program start?
USEF established a Safe Sport Policy, effective December 1, 2013, prior to the Center being created. The Policy covered the areas of prohibited conduct (sexual misconduct, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, bullying, harassment and hazing), training and education, criminal background checks, reporting and enforcement. Program requirements included Safe Sport Training and criminal background checks for USEF Staff, Licensed Officials, Board Members and Team Chefs and Coaches.
9. What responsibility do USEF Recognized Affiliates and their associated organizations and activities have regarding suspended or banned individuals?
A suspended or banned person is prohibited from participating, in any capacity, in any activity or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the national governing bodies recognized by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, including US Equestrian, and/or any US Equestrian Affiliated Organization. This prohibition affects a person regardless of whether or not they are a USEF member. Competition licensees and management are responsible for ensuring that no banned or suspended person is on the competition grounds.
This question and the answer to it is only about the responsibility for the recognized affiliates to enforce the banned/suspended/sanction list, and is not an exhaustive list of their responsibilities regarding Safe Sport.
10. I have specific questions about The Center for SafeSport. Where should I go?