The USA Hockey SafeSport program was developed to give all participants (and their parents) confidence that they are playing our sport in the safest possible environment, both on and off the ice. USA Hockey has implemented policies addressing certain types of abuse and misconduct, and certain policies intended to reduce, monitor and govern the areas where potential abuse and misconduct can occur.
Administrators within the NPAHA Coaches Players Parents Volunteers Managers Locker Room Monitors
Coach-Athlete Relationships Grooming Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Bullying, Threats and Harassment Hazing Signs and Symptoms of Abuse Barriers to Reporting Reporting and Responding to Misconduct and Abuse
USA Hockey’s SafeSport Program has also created guidelines regarding: Locker Room Policy Social Media, Mobile and Electronic Communications Policy Travel Policy Billeting Policy (specifically designed for players who stay with host families) USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for its participants’ physical, emotional, and social development and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free from abuse and misconduct. USA Hockey has ZERO TOLERANCE policy regarding any form of abuse and/or misconduct.
1 out of 8 athletes state that they have experienced some sort of abuse or misconduct. Abuse and misconduct is more common among elite athletes (up to 75%). Fully 1/3 of abuse and/or misconduct is perpetrated by peers. Adult abusers are typically well-liked and well- respected. 90% of the time, children know their abuser. Less than 10% of offenders have criminal records that would show up on background screenings.
Coaches create the climate. Coaches are the single most important factor to an individual athlete’s success. The coach-athlete relationship is based on two key components: trust and power. All coach-athlete relationships have a differential in power. Violating the trust/power dynamic of the relationship leads to increased control over participants and abuse/misconduct follows.
Bullying is the use of coercion to obtain control over another person or to be habitually cruel to another person Bullying involves an intentional, persistent or repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical and non-physical behaviors that are intended to cause fear, humiliation, or physical harm Bullying may occur in multiple forms: verbal, physical, written or electronic
Threat is defined as, “Any written, verbal, physical or electronically transmitted expression of intent to physically injure or harm someone else.” A threat may be communicated directly to the intended victim or communicated to a third party. Be particularly aware of threats made via electronic communications.
Harrassment is “Any pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that are 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 participant or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, or mental or physical disability.”
Inappropriate or obscene gestures Comments related to a person’s gender, ethnicity, race, culture, religion or sexual orientation Withholding or reducing playing time due to an individual’s differences Group segregation of an individual based on that person’s unique characteristics
Unwelcome sexual advancements or sexual comments Verbal or nonverbal physical conduct of a sexual nature Explicit or implicit statements that sexual behavior is initiated as a condition for a participants involvement ANY conduct of a sexual nature between an adult and a minor is considered harassment.
“Hazing” is typically conduct or an activity that serves as a condition for joining a group or being socially accepted by a group’s members. Consumption of alcohol or drugs Physical restraint (tying, taping, etc.) Withholding food or water Public displays meant to ridicule or humiliate
It is hazing regardless of a person’s willingness to cooperate or participate. It is a violation of this Policy if a coach or other responsible adult knows of the hazing but takes no action to intervene on behalf of the targeted participant(s).
Emotional abuse is defined as: “a pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to a participant.” Acts may be verbal, non-verbal or physical interactions that lead to “breaking down” the participant.
Personal, verbal attacks (i.e. worthless, fat, or disgusting) Repeatedly yelling at or humiliating a person that serves no motivational purpose Throwing about equipment, water bottles, chairs or other objects Hitting/punching walls, windows or other objects
Physical contact that causes, or has the potential to cause, bodily harm or personal injury Threatening to cause bodily harm or personal injury Providing alcohol to a participant under the age of consent Providing illegal drugs or nonprescribed medications to any participant
Specific focus on a particular participant through attention, gifts, and affection by… Targeting the victim Gaining trust Recognizing and fulfilling their needs Isolating the participant Sexualizing the relationship Maintaining control
Sexual abuse of a minor occurs when an adult employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant touches a minor for the purpose of causing the sexual arousal or gratification of either the minor or the employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant. Sexual abuse or misconduct may occur: Between adults Between an adult and a minor Between two minors
ABUSEMISCONDUCT Sexual touching (fondling, groping) Sexual penetration Voyeurism Sexual Exposure Consensual sexual contact Coersion or manipulation to gain sexual favors Sexual interaction gained through force or threat of force Talking about sex life/sexual acts with or among minors Sharing nude or paritally nude photos Possession and/or sharing of pornographic material Sexually explicit messaging Deliberate exposure to sexual acts or inappropriate nudity
Any sexual contact between an adult and a minor is considered abuse. Neither consent of the minor to the sexual contact, mistake as to the participant’s age, nor the fact that the sexual contact did not take place at a hockey function are defenses to a complaint of sexual abuse. State and Federal Mandated Reporting guidelines apply to any instance of sexual abuse and/or misconduct
Eye witness evidence is rare. Most cues are fairly subtle. Know your athlete!!! Decreased appetite Irregular sleep patterns Changes in personality or normal routine Patterns of behavior that are different Avoiding practice or other team events Loss of enthusiasm for their sport
Never allow a participant to be alone with an adult, even for training opportunities. Conduct regular locker room sweeps. Always make sure doors are open when meeting with participants. Do not spend time together alone at a private residence. Avoid having alcohol at any events that include minor participants, even if their parents or other adults are there.
Each team must provide a designated locker room supervisor for every practice/game. All locker room supervisors must pass a background screening. At no time should an adult be alone with a minor in the locker room. Locker rooms must be secured when participants are on the ice. Cell phones and/or any other recording devices are not allowed in locker rooms.
Co-ed teams are encouraged to provide separate locker room facilities when changing and then meet as a team prior to game/practice times. If separate locker room facilities are not available the team should “stagger” their changing times to provide privacy for both genders.
Coaches and other adult participant shall include parents in ANY correspondence for participants under the age of 18. Players shall not be joined to coaches social media pages (i.e. Facebook). All communication between adults and players must be with the specific reason of disseminating information regarding team activities.
Parents are responsible for making their participant’s travel arrangements. Parents/participants/coaches should not drive alone with an unrelated minor. If an unrelated minor is present make sure they are within a group of more than one participant and/or a second adult. Pick-up/drop-off is permitted by a parent/coach as long as their related player is picked up first and dropped off last. Parental consent should be given for transportation of any unrelated minor.
Abuse or misconduct is not limited to interactions between coaches and their players. Any incidents of abuse or misconduct on the part of players towards their coaches are reportable as well. Watch for abuse or misconduct among players and ensure that participants are being safe and respectful of one another at all times (ice, dryland, lobby, etc.). Guidelines apply to all participants within the association, even those who are not directly involved in the coaching or playing of the game.
Shame Embarrassment Worry about retaliation Lack of awareness that what they are experiencing is actual abuse Social stigma Lack of “evidence” that would prove the abuse or misconduct Lack of systemic reporting policies Desire to “protect” the individual or group
Notify the SafeSport Coordinator if suspected or documented abuse or misconduct has occurred. The SafeSport Coordinator will file a SafeSport compliance report with MN Hockey/USA Hockey. The SafeSport coordinator will investigate the allegations, ensuring confidentiality is observed at all times. Investigative results are shared with the alleged offender, NPAHA Board, MN Hockey and/or USA Hockey representatives.
Any allegation requiring legal follow-up will be immediately reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If allegations are substantiated and further potential abuse is/was possible, parents and other participants will be notified of the SafeSport Coordinator’s findings. Reports may be made anonymously. Any report made in “bad faith” may result in disciplinary action for the participant filing the allegation.
Removal from all NPAHA sponsored events Temporary Suspension Permanent Suspension Referral to law enforcement authorities Legal charges Permanent criminal record
Contact the SafeSport Coordinator. Acknowledge that you understand the complaint and why it was filed. Provide a written “rebuttal” to the allegations. Cooperate with all investigation requests Request a hearing with the NPAHA Board to dispute findings or present special requests for consideration. Further hearings may be requested through District 6 and or MN Hockey.
NPAHA SafeSport Coordinator, Michelle Luers: (home) or (cell) New Prague Police Department: 911 or Scott County Human Services: (952) Note: A mandated reporter who knows or has reason to believe that a child is or has been neglected or physically/sexually abused and fails to report is guilty of a misdemeanor.