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USEF Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention (MAAP) Policies: Mandatory Requirements and Recommended Best Practices Side by Side

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 7, 2019, 3:20 PM EST

On June 1, 2019, US Equestrian’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention (MAAP) Policies went into effect. The policies provide both mandatory requirements and recommended best practices tailored to protecting minors, anyone under 18 years of age (regardless of USEF age), in equestrian sport from abuse. This page provides a side-by-side view of the mandatory requirements and recommended best practices as written in the USEF MAAP Policies. View the updated USEF Safe Sport Policy and MAAP Policies here.

Additonal resources: What You Need to Know: Five Fast Facts About the USEF Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention (MAAP) Policies

The majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated in isolated, one-on-one situations. By reducing such interactions between children and adults, programs reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. However, one-on-one time with trusted adults is also healthy and valuable for a child. Policies concerning one-on-one interactions protect children while allowing for these beneficial relationships.

One-on-One Interactions

Applies to:
1) Adult members (any USEF member 18 years old and older, regardless of USEF age) who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors (anyone under 18 years of age, regardless of USEF age);
2) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor;
3) Adult members at a facility that is either partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF; and
4) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for purposes of this policy.)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

a. Observable and interruptible

  • One-on-one interactions between a minor athlete and an Applicable Adult (who is not the minor’s legal guardian) at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction or at a USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity are permitted if they occur at an observable and interruptible distance by another adult.
  • One-on-one interactions between minor athletes and an Applicable Adult (who is not the minor’s legal guardian) at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction or at a USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity are prohibited, except in the circumstances described in subpart d of this section [Individual Training Sessions] and under emergency circumstances.

 

b. Meetings

  • Meetings between Applicable Adults and minor athletes at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction or at a USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity, may only occur if another adult is present, except under emergency circumstances. Such meetings must occur where interactions can be easily observed and at an interruptible distance from another adult.
  • If a one-on-one meeting takes place in an office or tack room at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction, the door to the office must remain unlocked and open. If available, it will occur in an office that has windows, with the windows, blinds, and/or curtains remaining open during the meeting.

 

c. Meetings with mental health care professionals and health care providers

If a mental health care professional and/or health care provider meets with minor athletes at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction, a closed-door meeting may be permitted to protect patient privacy provided that:

(1) the door remains unlocked;

(2) another adult is present at the facility;

(3) the other adult is advised that a closed-door meeting is occurring; and

(4) written legal guardian consent is obtained in advance by the mental health care professional and/or health care provider, with a copy provided to USEF.

 

d. Individual training sessions

  • Individual training sessions between Applicable Adults and minor athletes are permitted at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction or at USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity if the training session is observable and interruptible by another adult.
  • It is the responsibility of the Applicable Adult to obtain the written permission of the minor’s legal guardian in advance of the individual training session if the individual training session is not observable and interruptible by another adult. Permission for individual training sessions must be obtained at least every six months. Parents, guardians, and other caretakers must be allowed to observe the training session.

 

e. Monitoring

  • When one-on-one interactions between Applicable Adults and minor athletes occur at a facility partially or fully under USEF’s jurisdiction, Applicable Adults will monitor these interactions.
Monitoring includes: knowing that the one-on-one interaction is occurring, the approximate planned duration of the interaction, and randomly dropping in on health professionals.
 

USEF recommends the following components:

USEF recommends that Applicable Adults refrain from interacting one-on-one with unrelated minor athletes in settings outside of the program that are not observable and interruptible (including, but not limited to, one’s home and individual transportation), unless parent/legal guardian consent is provided for each out-of-program contact. Such arrangements are strongly discouraged.

 

POLICIES EXPLAINED

Best Practice for Observable and Interruptible might include:

  • Wherever possible, keeping a physical distance from an athlete in order to ensure no allegation of inappropriate physical contact
  • If physical contact is required (adjusting a riding position) the athlete’s permission must be sought and the contact should be in full view of others.
  • If words of admonishment or similar are required, seeking a third party as a witness is advisable.

 

 

 

Massages and Rubdowns/Athletic Training Modalities (All Human Healthcare Provision)

Applies to:
1) Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
2) Physical therapists, chiropractors, masseurs, physicians, and other healthcare providers;
3) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor;
4) Adult members at a facility that is either partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF; and
5) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for the purposes of this Policy)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

a. Massage or rubdown/athletic training modality

Any massage or rubdown/athletic training modality performed at a facility or a training or competition venue must be conducted in an open and interruptible location.

Any massage of a minor athlete must be done with at least one other adult present and must never be done with only the minor athlete and the person performing the massage or rubdown/athletic training modality in the room.

 

POLICIES EXPLAINED

An “open and interruptible location”

  • Doors not locked but suitable privacy maintained. If a tack room is used it must be screened from the front as well as the stables either side.
  • Be of a suitable temperature where possible (fans or heaters may be required)
  • Not be covered by stable cameras (e.g. FEI)
Practitioners should seek to ensure they never place themselves between the athlete and the door
 

USEF recommends the following component:

USEF recommends obtaining written consent from a legal guardian before providing each massage or rubdown/athletic training modality on a minor athlete. Parents should be permitted to be in the room as observers.

 

 

Areas Where Athletes Change

Applies to:
1) Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
2) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor;
3) Adult members at a facility that is either partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF; and
4) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for purposes of this policy.)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

a. Non-exclusive facility

If USEF uses a facility not fully under USEF’s jurisdiction (e.g., for training or competition or similar events) and the facility is used by multiple constituents, Applicable Adults in categories 1 through 4 are nonetheless required to adhere to the rules set forth herein.

 

b. Use of recording devices

Use of any device’s (including a cell phone’s) recording capabilities, including voice recording, still cameras, and video cameras in locker rooms, changing areas, or similar spaces at a facility under USEF’s jurisdiction, is prohibited. Exceptions may be made for media and championship celebrations, provided that such exceptions are approved by USEF and two or more Applicable Adults are present.

 

c. Undress

Under no circumstances shall an unrelated Applicable Adult at a facility under USEF’s jurisdiction intentionally expose his or her breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals to a minor athlete.

 

d. One-on-one interactions

  • Except for athletes on the same team, at no time are unrelated Applicable Adults permitted to be alone with a minor athlete in a locker room or changing area when at a facility under USEF’s partial or full jurisdiction, except under emergency circumstances.
  • If USEF is using a facility that only has a single locker room or changing area, it will designate separate times for use by Applicable Adults, if any.

 

e. Monitoring

USEF will regularly and randomly monitor the use of and areas where athletes change at facilities under USEF’s jurisdiction to ensure compliance with these policies.
 

USEF recommends the following components:

a. Applicable Adults should make every effort to recognize when a minor athlete goes to a locker room or changing area during practice and competition and, if they do not return in a timely fashion, check on the minor athlete’s whereabouts.

 

b. Parents should not enter locker rooms and changing areas unless it is truly necessary. In those instances, it should only be a same-sex parent when other minor athletes are changing in the same locker room or changing area. If this is necessary, parents should let a coach or administrator know about this in advance.

 

POLICIES EXPLAINED

It is very rare that dedicated locker rooms or changing rooms are provided at equestrian venues:

  • At Team competitions the Chef d’Equipe should identify a changing area, ensure its privacy, and ensure that when minor athletes are changing, access to the changing area is controlled.
Where a Vaulting Squad consists of minors and adults, the adults must be made aware of these policies and conduct themselves professionally understanding that the Squad will change and prepare as a unit.

 

 

Social Media & Electronic Communications

Applies to:
1) Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
2) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; and
3) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for purposes of this policy.)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

a. Content

All electronic communication originating from Applicable Adults to minor athletes must be professional in nature. On mass communications, "bcc" should be used for recipients.

 

b. Open and transparent

  • Absent emergency circumstances, if an Applicable Adult with authority over minor athletes needs to communicate directly with a minor athlete via electronic communications (including social media), another Applicable Adult or the minor’s legal guardian must be copied.
  • If a minor athlete communicates to the Applicable Adult (with authority over the minor athlete) privately first, said Applicable Adult should respond to the minor athlete with a copy to another Applicable Adult or the minor’s legal guardian.
  • When an Applicable Adult with authority over minor athletes communicates electronically to the entire team, said Applicable Adult will copy another adult.
  • Minor athletes may “friend” [or follow] the organization’s official page.

 

c. Requests to discontinue

Legal guardians may request in writing that their minor athlete not be contacted through any form of electronic communication by USEF or by the Applicable Adults subject to this policy. USEF will abide by any such request that their minor athlete not be contacted via electronic communication, absent emergency circumstances.

 

USEF recommends the following components:

a. Hours

Electronic communications should generally only be sent between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., unless emergency circumstances exist, or while traveling internationally or during competition travel.

 

b. Social Media [NOTE: This section header was originally listed in the policy as “prohibited electronic communication”]

Applicable Adults with authority over minor athletes should not maintain private social media connections with unrelated minor athletes and such Applicable Adults should not accept new personal page requests on social media platforms from amateur athletes who are minors, unless the Applicable Adult has a fan page, or the contact is deemed as celebrity contact vs. regular contact. Existing social media connections on personal pages with minor athletes should be discontinued.

 

 

Local Travel

Applies to:
1) Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
2) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; and
3) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for purposes of this policy.)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

1. Local travel consists of travel to training, practice, and competition that occurs locally and does not include coordinated overnight stay(s).

 

a. Transportation

Applicable Adults who are not also acting as a legal guardian, shall not ride in a vehicle alone with an unrelated minor athlete, absent emergency circumstances, and must have at least two minor athletes or another adult at all times, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the minor athlete’s parent/legal guardian in advance of each local travel. In emergency situations, this permission can be sought verbally but should be followed up with written confirmation as soon as possible.
 

USEF recommends the following components:

a. Shared or Carpool Travel Arrangement

USEF encourages parents/legal guardians to pick up their minor athlete first and drop off their minor athlete last in any shared or carpool travel arrangement.

 

b. Parents/legal guardians should receive education concerning child abuse prevention before providing consent for their minor athlete to travel alone with an Applicable Adult who is subject to these policies.

 

 

Team Travel

Applies to:
1) Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
2) Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; and
3) Adult staff and board members of USEF. (Collectively “Applicable Adult” for purposes of this policy.)

Mandatory Requirement

 

Recommended Best Practice
(NOT REQUIRED)

Team travel is minor athlete travel to a competition or other team activity for which the USEF plans, books, and supervises the minor athlete’s travel.

 

a. Team/competition travel

Team travel policies must be signed and agreed to by all minor athletes, parents, and Applicable Adults traveling with the USEF. When only one Applicable Adult and one minor athlete travel to a competition, the minor athlete must have his/her legal guardian’s written permission in advance and for each competition to travel alone with said Applicable Adult. Applicable Adults who travel with a USEF Team that includes a minor athlete must successfully pass a criminal background check and other screening requirements consistent with USEF’s policies.

 

b. Hotel rooms

  • Applicable Adults shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with a minor athlete (unless the Applicable Adult is the legal guardian, sibling, or is otherwise related to the minor athlete). However, a parent/legal guardian may consent to such an arrangement in advance and in writing. Furthermore, a parent/legal guardian may consent in advance and in writing to the minor athlete sharing a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with an adult athlete.
  • During team travel, when doing room checks, attending team meetings and/or other activities, two-deep leadership (two Applicable Adults should be present) and observable and interruptible environments should be maintained.
  • Meetings should not be conducted in a hotel room.

 

c. Meetings

Meetings shall be conducted consistent with USEF’s policy for one-on-one interactions (i.e., any such meeting shall be observable and interruptible).
 

USEF recommends that parents/legal guardians receive education concerning child abuse prevention before providing consent for their minor athlete to travel alone with an Applicable Adult who is subject to these policies