- SAFESPORT PROGRAM
The U.S. Center for SafeSport, is focused on preventing physical, emotional and sexual abuse in sport. The Center, initially chartered by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), is an independent organization with a nine-member board of directors, including subject matter experts in abuse prevention, child abuse and sexual assault investigation, ethics compliance and sport administration. The Center has exclusive authority under federal law to investigate and resolve allegations of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and related misconduct associated with the National Governing Bodies recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee. It collaborates with sport organizations to foster a culture of safety by raising awareness, developing best practices, and providing education and training to promote respect and prevent abuse. As a member of the USOC, USA Water Polo supports the US Center for SafeSport seeking to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants through education, resources, and training, in order to recognize, reduce, and respond to misconduct in sport.
Recent legislation has placed additional obligations on the Center and youth sport organizations. Senate Bill 534, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law in February 2018. The bill imposes a duty on amateur sports organizations, including USA Water Polo and its adult members, to report suspected sex-abuse to local or federal law enforcement or to a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department, within 24 hours. Failure to report is subject to criminal penalties. For more information on the legislation, view pdf here.
USA Water Polo and the USOC have a ZERO tolerance policy for the following six (6) primary types of misconduct:
- Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct involves any touching or non-touching sexual interaction that is nonconsensual or forced, coerced or manipulated, or perpetrated in an aggressive, harassing, exploitative or threatening manner. It also includes any sexual interaction be-tween an athlete and an individual with evaluative, direct or indirect authority. Last, any act or conduct described as sexual abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, rape) qualifies as sexual misconduct.
- Physical Misconduct
Physical misconduct involves contact or non-contact behavior that can cause physical harm to an athlete or other sport participants. It also includes any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., child abuse, child neglect and assault).
- Emotional Misconduct
Emotional misconduct involves deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to an athlete. Non-contact behavior includes verbal and physical acts, as well as actions that deny attention or support. It also includes any act or conduct (e.g., child abuse and child neglect) described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law.
Bullying is an intentional, persistent and/or repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical and non-physical behavior that is intended, or has the reasonable potential, to cause fear, humiliation or physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish or isolate the targeted athlete(s) as a condition of membership. It includes any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law.
Harassment is a physical and/or non-physical behavior intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance, offend or degrade, create a hostile environment; or reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression or mental or physical disability. It includes any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law.
Hazing involves coercing, requiring, forcing or willfully tolerating any humiliating, unwelcome or dangerous activity that serves as a condition for joining a group or being socially accepted by a group's members. It includes any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law. Activities that fit the definition of hazing are considered to be hazing regardless of an athlete's willingness to cooperate or participate.
HOW TO REPORT?
Report sexual misconduct to the U.S. Center for SafeSport: The Center handles ALL reports of sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Make a report to the Center if you have reasonable suspicion of sexual misconduct such as child sex abuse, non-consensual sexual conduct, sexual harassment or intimate relationships involving an imbalance of power, at 1-720-531-0340 or on their website https://SafeSport.org. If USA Water Polo receives a report of alleged sexual abuse, it immediately refers the report to the Center for further action, as well as to any applicable civil authority. Reporting may be made anonymously and there are no fees or cost associated with reporting sexual misconduct to the Center.
If a crime has been committed, report it to local authorities: Contact local authorities if you have reasonable suspicion that child sexual abuse or neglect has occurred. All reports of child abuse or sexual assault of a minor MUST also be reported to local authorities. Reports of abuse not involving a minor may also be reported to local authorities. Please reach out to County or City police department and/or Childwelfare.gov: State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting.
Contact USA Water Polo for other kinds of misconduct: Other forms of misconduct include emotional or physical misconduct, bullying, hazing, or harassment may be reported to USA Water Polo for handling in accordance with USA Water Polo's grievance procedures. For a more complete understanding of USA Water Polo's policies and programs, including its grievance procedure, please refer to the USA Water Polo website: www.usawaterpolo.org/resources/grievances.html.
Contact the SafeSport crisis line for 24/7 crisis support: A 24/7 hotline has been established by the Center for crisis interventions, referrals and emotional support. This confidential and secure helpline 1-866-200-0796 is operated by RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Life-threatening emergencies should call 911.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport website provides a wide range of resources for USA Water Polo clubs, athletes, coaches, officials and parents: U.S. Center for SafeSport Website.
POLICIES & GUIDELINES
USA Water Polo is committed to creating a healthy and safe environment for all of our members. For that reason, we ask each member to read and agree to a Code of Conduct upon joining or renewing their membership with USA Water Polo. The following Codes of Conduct, are intended to serve our members as we work together to maintain a safe, positive environment.
- Sexual Misconduct
USA Water Polo's SafeSport policy requires Covered Individuals with (a) a position of authority over, or (b) to have frequent contact with athletes complete criminal background check and education and training requirements before having contact with athletes to provide assurance they are educated on the requirements of the USOC Athlete Safety Standards. Background checks and SafeSport training will be completed before contact with athletes begins and in any event within 60 days of the new role.
Upon registration memberships will remain "In Progress" until all requirements have been met and member will not be able to participate or have access until account is "Current." Members who fall out of compliance will automatically become "Ineligible" until renewal of requirements have been met. USA Water Polo's membership database continually tracks all requirements of members and sends automatical in progress, expiration, and renewal notices and reminders.
A "Covered Individual" as defined by the U.S. Center for SafeSport is:
Any individual who: (a) currently is, or was at the time of a possible violation of the Code, within the governance or disciplinary jurisdiction of an NGB or who is seeking to be within the governance or disciplinary jurisdiction of an NGB (e.g., through application for membership), (b) is an Athlete or Non-athlete Participant that an NGB or the USOC formally authorizes, approves or appoints to a position of authority over Athletes or to have frequent contact with Athletes, or (c) and NGB identifies as being within the Office's jurisdiction.
USA Water Polo's Covered Individuals include:
Members, including athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and clubs
All Covered Individuals, including members under 18 years of age, must have a current background screening on file with the National Office in order to be considered current. Each successful background screening is good for a two (2) year period. Any failed screenings, also known as Red Lights, will receive notification that they do not meet the criteria, will remain ineligible and have time to request an appeal. If a hearing is not requested, then the membership may be suspended or cancelled. Background checks are important tools in keeping our athletes safe. All USAWP coach, referee, and club administrator members of USA Water Polo must pass a criminal background check, or obtain a waiver from a special hearing panel, in order to become certified professional members. Follow these links: Coach Screening --- Referee Screening --- Club Administrator Screening
Please note: The screening criteria is the same for ALL individuals.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
USAWP and the U.S. Center for SafeSport offer training regarding how to respond to misconduct in sport and the measures we can all take to protect athletes. Learning about the types of misconduct is an important step to recognize, reduce and respond effectively to inappropriate and potential harmful behavior.
USA Water Polo coaches, referees, and some club administrators are the representatives primarily and directly responsible for administering and supervising water polo events at the local level. As such, these representatives as well as all other individuals in a position of authority over or who may have frequent contact with athletes are required to be fully versed in U.S. Center for Safe Sport Program and possess the information necessary to more effectively monitor their organization, minimize the opportunities for child physical and sexual abuse and other types of misconduct, and respond to concerns. Club board members, parents, volunteers and athletes are strongly advised to be fully versed in the program as well. Membership is required for access to the SafeSport courses.
USA Water Polo has adopted the United States Olympic Committee's Athlete Safety Standards, which includes training videos through the US Center for SafeSport. There are three courses that must be completed in order to become SafeSport Trained: Emotional and Physical Misconduct, Sexual Misconduct Awareness Education, and Mandatory Reporting.
Upon completion of the SafeSport training, the member should save a copy of the certificate of completion, *required every two(2) years. The USA Water Polo National Office will receive record of course completion directly from the Training Site and will record it within your member account. Failure to complete training will result in a disqualification from participation in USA Water Polo activity.
To Complete the SafeSport Training Course:
1. Login to your USAWP membership account
2. Select "Start the SafeSport program" under the Member Requirements grid on your home page
3. Register for SafeSport within your member account (no charge)
4. Follow on-screen instructions in your confirmation and go to US Center for SafeSport to complete training
Coaches, Referees, and Club Administrators will not be able to participate in club practices, activities or events without a current SafeSport training completion on file with USAWP. Please login to your USAWP account so you receive credit for the course. Updated certificate is required every two years.
Parent Training Course
If you are a parent looking for resources on keeping your athlete safe, you can access the Parent Training at no cost without having to be a USA Water Polo member. Simply create an account at www.athletesafety.org, add the parent training to your bag, and you'll be able to access the training. The Parent's Guide to Misconduct in Sport is designed for the parents of athletes of all ages. This course explains the issues of misconduct in sport and helps parents ensure their children have a positive and safe sport experience.
SAFESPORT DISCIPLINARY RECORD SEARCH FUNCTION
The U.S. Center for SafeSport ("the Center") was established in March 2017 as an independent, national nonprofit organization. The Center has exclusive jurisdiction over: (a) all actual or suspected sexual misconduct by a "Covered Individual" and (b) misconduct that is reasonably related to an underlying allegation of sexual misconduct. Covered Individuals include all USA Water Polo members and employees. The Center maintains a website that allows members of the public to search using an individual's name to determine whether or not an individual is under a sanction by the Center (https://safesport.org/userviolations/search). Should you wish to use the Center's website, please note that it may not contain records for the time period prior to the Center's establishment (March 2017) and that, because the website is maintained by the Center, not USA Water Polo, USA Water Polo cannot warrant that the website is complete or current.
Members of USA Water Polo agree to abide by its policies and procedures and are thus subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Center. The Center's policies and procedures are guided by the SafeSport Code, which can be found at safesport.org. As a National Governing Body under the auspices of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Water Polo is obligated to enforce all suspension and/or sanctioned imposed by the Center.
It is a serious violation of the Athlete Safety Standards and SafeSport Code to retaliate against any person who is participating in USA Water Polo or the Center's processes, including an individual who reports an allegation, is supporting participating parties, or who provides information relevant to an allegation (i.e., a witness). Please refrain from engaging in any behavior - or prompting/permitting such behavior by an individual allied with you - that might constitute retaliation and, should you experience retaliation during this process, please report it to USA Water Polo or to the Center, as it pertains to the particular case.
USA Water Polo SafeSport Administrator: Christy Sicard - firstname.lastname@example.org
- How to Report?
Report sexual misconduct to the U.S. Center for SafeSport: The Center handles ALL reports of sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Make a report to the Center if you have a reasonable suspicion of sexual misconduct such as child sex abuse, non-consensual sexual conduct, sexual harassment or intimate relationships involving an imbalance of power, at 1-720-531-0340 or on their website https://SafeSport.org. If USA Water Polo receives a report of alleged sexual abuse, it immediately refers the report to the Center for further action, as well as to any applicable civil authority. Reporting may be made anonymously and there are no fees or cost associated with reporting sexual misconduct to the Center.
If a crime has been committed, report it to local authorities: Contact local authorities if you have a reasonable suspicion that child sexual abuse or neglect has occurred. All reports of child abuse or sexual assault of a minor must also be reported to local authorities. Reports of abuse not involving a minor may also be reported to local authorities.
Contact USA Water Polo for other kinds of misconduct: Other forms of misconduct include emotional or physical misconduct, bullying, hazing or harassment may be reported to USA Water Polo for handling in accordance with USA Water Polo’s grievance procedures. For a more complete understanding of USA Water Polo’s policies and programs, including its grievance procedure, please refer to USA Water Polo website: www.usawaterpolo.org/resources/grievances.html.
Contact the SafeSport crisis line for 24/7 crisis support: A 24/7 hotline has been established by the Center for crisis interventions, referrals and emotional support. This confidential and secure helpline 1-866-200-0796 is operated by RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. Life-threatening emergencies should call 911.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport website provides a wide range of resources for USA Water Polo members.
The more prepared each member is, the greater the likelihood of the best possible outcome.
Emotional, Physical and Sexual Misconduct:
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
>Staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors
Bullying, Hazing and Harassment:
Your Life, Your Voice
>A 24/7 hotline with resources for children, teens and young adults dealing with depression, abuse or contemplating suicide.