SafeSport Task Force: Dave Ogrean (chair), Pete Lindberg, Dennis Green, Steve Laing, Casey Jorgensen, Rae Briggle, Kevin McLaughlin, Bob Weldon
SafeSport Program Development 2011 – USOC begins work on SafeSport Program Handbook January, 2012 – President Ron DeGregorio announced task force to report on how best to protect USA Hockey’s participants in all aspects of the sport Spring, 2012 -- SafeSport Task Force began work on evaluating existing programs and recommendation to USA Hockey Board of Directors for a comprehensive program. June, 2012 – USA Hockey Councils, Committees and Sections reviewed recommendations of SafeSport Task Force and Board of Directors establish USA Hockey SafeSport Program. September, 2012 – SafeSport Handbook completed ‒SafeSport website live on www.usahockey.com/SafeSport ‒Reporting by phone, email and website available ‒SafeSport Program Posters sent to all arenas and programs December, 2012 – USOC to consider SafeSport compliance when evaluating funding and NGB status. January, 2013 – Report to USA Hockey Board of Directors on program to date and evaluate recommendations for any modifications. April, 2013 -- USOC Online Training Available (interim platform)
Why SafeSport? To protect our participants by creating an environment that puts the potential offender at risk. To prevent known offenders from joining our program and deter offenders that have not yet been caught. To protect the reputations of USA Hockey, its Affiliates and local programs as organizations that are safe from abuse. To prevent negligence and help insulate USA Hockey, its affiliates, local programs and volunteers from liability.
Policies Prohibiting Abuse Policies that set boundaries for appropriate and inappropriate conduct Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Bullying, Threats, and Harassment Hazing
Managing Hockey Environments Policies to reduce the risks for potential abuse Locker Room Policy Electronic Communications Policy Travel Policy Billeting Policy
Sexual Abuse Policy Prohibits sexual abuse of any participant Sexual contact between children can be abusive if significant disparity in age, development or size Neither consent of minor, mistake as to age, nor fact that contact occurred outside of hockey are defenses to a complaint Sexual abuse may also occur between adults if nonconsensual, coerced or manipulated May include “non-touching” offenses, such as sexual harassment, sending nude pictures, sexually explicit emails, exposing minors to pornography, etc.
Physical Abuse Policy Prohibits physical abuse of any participant in our programs Includes physical contact that causes or has potential to cause harm, or creates the threat of bodily harm Includes throwing or threatening to throw objects or sports equipment Also includes providing alcohol to a minor participant, or providing drugs to any participant Physical abuse does not include physical contact that is reasonably designed to coach, teach, demonstrate or improve a hockey skill, including physical conditioning, team building and appropriate discipline
Emotional Abuse Policy Involves a pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to a participant May be verbal acts, physical acts or acts that deny attention or support Examples include a pattern of verbal abuse or physically aggressive behaviors, such as throwing equipment, water bottles, or chairs, or punching walls, windows, or other objects. Does not include generally-accepted and age appropriate coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, motivation, team building, appropriate discipline, or improving athletic performance.
Bullying, Threats & Harassment Policy Bullying – Involves a pattern of physical or non-physical behaviors intended to cause, fear, humiliation or harm in an attempt to exclude, diminish or isolate another person –Includes written, verbal or Cyber-bullying Threats – Involves any written, verbal, physical or electronically transmitted expression of intent to harm Harassment – Involves a pattern of physical/non-physical behaviors: Intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance Offend or degrade Create hostile environment Reflect discriminatory bias –Includes Sexual Harassment –Examples include (a) comments about a participant’s sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, religion, skin color, or ethnic traits; (b) displaying offensive materials, gestures, or symbols; and (c) withholding or reducing playing time based on sexual orientation. Coaches and other adults cannot ignore and must intervene
Hazing Policy Includes any conduct which is intimidating, humiliating, offensive, or physically harmful Hazing is typically an activity that serves as a condition for joining a group or being socially accepted by a group Examples include requiring or forcing the consumption of alcohol or drugs; physical restraint; sexual simulations/acts; social actions (e.g. grossly inappropriate or provocative clothing) or public displays (e.g. public nudity); beating, paddling, or other forms of physical assault. “Locker Boxing” is also a form of hazing A person’s consent to participation does not mean it is not hazing Hazing does not include group or team activities that are meant to establish normative team behaviors, or promote team cohesion, so long as they do not have reasonable potential to cause emotional or physical distress Coaches and other adults cannot ignore and must intervene
Locker Room Policy Locker room supervision is one of the most critical elements to reducing risk of abuse or misconduct Requires at least one properly screened adult At lower age groups, numerous adults may be present Team may prohibit parents in locker room (subject to common sense) No adult should be alone with minor participants Cell phones and recording devices/cameras may not be used in the locker room Each local program shall publish their specific locker room policy Coach and team administrators are responsible for compliance with locker room supervision requirements With Co-Ed teams both female and male privacy rights must be given consideration and appropriate arrangements made. It is not acceptable for persons to be observing the opposite gender while they dress or undress
Electronic Communications Policy Communications involving participants should be appropriate, productive, and transparent Use of various forms of electronic communications increases the possibility for improprieties and misunderstandings and also provides potential offenders with unsupervised and potentially inappropriate access to participants. Any content of an electronic communication should be readily available to share with the public or families of the player or coach. If the player is under the age of 18, any email, text, social media, or similar communication must also copy the player’s parents. Social media should be used for communicating team activities, not personal Electronic communications are often used to bully, threaten or harass other participants
Travel Policy Minor players are most vulnerable to abuse or misconduct during travel Adherence to travel policies helps reduce opportunities for misconduct Local travel should be the responsibility of the parents, not team Coaches/volunteers should avoid driving alone with an unrelated minor Coaches should never share a hotel room with an unrelated minor Drivers should have driving records checked Team should provide adequate supervision/chaperones Hotel rooms should be monitored/checked regularly by screened adults There should be cooperation with family regarding telephone calls, family in same hotel, distribution of travel itineraries, etc. No coach or chaperone shall be under influence of alcohol/drugs while performing their duties
Billeting Policy Primarily exists at Junior and Tier I Midget level All adults in billet home must be screened Program should have published rules and regulations for the billeting arrangement – agreed to by parents, billets and player Team as well as host family rules/curfews shall apply Team/Program should have a billet coordinator
Education and Awareness Training Provides our members with information necessary to effectively monitor their organization, minimize the opportunities for abuse and misconduct, and respond to concerns Awareness training available to all coaches, managers, employees and volunteers at no cost Training was produced by the United States Olympic Committee A membership number is required, but those not registered with USA Hockey may do so at no cost by registering as a manager/volunteer SafeSport Policy requires training for those that: Have routine access to or supervision over youth participants Are responsible for enforcing child abuse and misconduct policies Are in managerial or supervisory roles Are employees or volunteers At least one person from each program must complete training by 11/30 Affiliate is responsible for confirming and certifying compliance USA Hockey to develop additional promotional and training pieces
Screening of Staff and Volunteers Purposes of a Screening Policy : Protect USA Hockey participants from known offenders by preventing their access to USA Hockey members Deter offenders that have not been caught from joining USA Hockey programs because the program has a known policy against abuse Protect USA Hockey’s reputation as a sport where participants are safe from abuse Help protect USA Hockey, USA Hockey Member Programs and their respective employees and volunteers from liability that could arise from allowing a previous offender to have access to minor participants Screens are valid for two (2) years Affiliate manages the screening process within their Affiliate, and must submit such process each year to USA Hockey Screening company must perform a “national” screen Must include identity verification process USA Hockey includes minimum criteria that must be searched, as well as additional criteria that could result in ineligibility
Screening, cont. Screening is required for those that: Have routine access to or supervision over youth participants Are responsible for enforcing child abuse and misconduct policies Are in managerial or supervisory roles Are employees or volunteers Screen must be completed prior to serving in that role Member programs must comply in 2013-2014 Affiliate is responsible for confirming and certifying compliance by 8/31/13 Affiliates must report any volunteers that have been denied eligibility based on the person not consenting to be screened or failing a screen While screening only catches offenders that have a criminal record, a comprehensive screening program demonstrates the program’s priorities Potential offenders will look for places where they will not be caught 42% of red flags showed criminal activity in another state When we allow a coach to hold a position, we are putting our stamp on them that they are OK.
Reporting of Concerns of Abuse An effective reporting policy that results in reports of suspected abuse and misconduct, and does not in any way deter victims or witnesses from reporting abuse and misconduct, is a key element to preventing abuse and misconduct from occurring. Potential abusers will avoid involvement in a program where there is a likelihood that suspected abuse will be reported. Reports to USA Hockey may be made by: (1) clicking on the “Report to USA Hockey” link on the USA Hockey SafeSport Program webpage, (2) emailing to SafeSport@usahockey.org, or (3) calling 800-888-4656. Reports may also be made to Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator All cases involving suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities USA Hockey and its programs should not investigate or try to judge the credibility of an allegation of suspected child physical or sexual abuse as a condition of reporting to the authorities
Reporting, cont. Some people in our organizations may be mandatory reporters: www.childwelfare.gov. SafeSport Policy requires all USA Hockey employees and volunteers to report violations of the SafeSport Program Handbook or Policies Immediate suspension or termination? Confidentiality/Anonymous Reporting Whistleblower protection when reports are made in good faith. Complainants are protected from retaliation, punishment or retribution. Malicious, frivolous or bad faith reports are grounds for disciplinary action and/or civil or criminal action Reports to USA Hockey.
Responding to Reports of Abuse SafeSport does not create a new disciplinary program or system. It is simply a collection of policies that regulate conduct, provide mechanisms for members to report suspected abuse, and helps create and environment that is hostile to potential abusers. Follow USA Hockey Bylaw 10 – Summary Suspensions – Hearings – Notifications When in doubt about the process, ask… “In all cases, the disciplinary procedures and actions of USA Hockey and its Affiliates and local programs shall be proportionate, reasonable and applied fairly and equally.”
Monitoring and Supervision The Monitoring and Supervision aspect of the SafeSport Program helps USA Hockey and its Member Programs monitor, supervise and safeguard that the other aspects of the SafeSport Program are being followed, and how they may be improved, so that they result in a safe environment for the participants. Coaches – For his/her team, the coach is primarily responsible for monitoring so that locker room, travel, electronic communications and behavioral policies are being followed -- These duties may be delegated Local Programs – Must monitor program personnel so that they are enforcing program policies, and so that all volunteers are screened and have received proper training prior to serving Affiliate – Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator shall monitor compliance by local programs. Shall monitor reports, investigations and disciplinary actions within Affiliate. SafeSport Coordinator shall certify Affiliate’s compliance (to their knowledge) to USA Hockey USA Hockey – Shall monitor Affiliate’s compliance, assist Affiliate’s with investigations and provide guidance, shall enforce policies with national level staff and volunteers, and shall maintain SafeSport Task Force.
SafeSport Next Steps (anticipated) Ongoing -- Adjustments to Program and Handbook April, 2013 – USOC Stop the Abuse Compaign April – May, 2013 – Training of SafeSport Coordinators ‒Encourage training by local program leaders, USA Hockey Board of Directors and Volunteers ‒Encourage training for national tournament participants ‒Develop short video to be sent to all members Summer, 2013 – USOC Online Training updated to new platform August, 2013 – Emails to members regarding SafeSport Program & Training 2013-14 Season – Full implementation of Program
What Others are Saying… Other NGB’s using Handbook as a sample. Represented USA Hockey on panel at USOC’s best practices seminar. Handbook used in seminar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice as an example of best practices for institutions that have interaction between adults & adolescents. From an Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator: “BTW, I am now on our 6 th complaint…. One byproduct that I doubt anyone thought of is that when upset parents learn that myself and SafeSport exist, they are quite thankful that this program is there for them. There is a palpable attitude amongst our constituents that nobody really cares about their concerns and that the “good old boys” will sweep the ugliness under the rug. I make it clear that although I AM NOT their ombudsman, but I am a fair and impartial investigator that will insure that the matter is fully looked into and ultimately resolved… in each case so far they have expressed gratitude that things are being handled in this fashion and are appeased to an extent (regardless of the outcome) just by virtue of the program and its inherent fairness and attention. I would argue that SafeSport will ultimately aide in recruitment and retention of families, in addition to safety improvement and liability reduction. Now having experienced the impact and importance of SafeSport from these varied perspectives, I am a true believer and staunch proponent. I dare say it far more important than anyone conceived it to be.”
Summary of Complaints to USAH Bullying complaints… player to player… some significant, some less significant. Hazing… locker boxing Whistleblower concerns and allegations or threats to dissuade reporting Cell phones/pictures taken in locker room. Emotional abuse by coaches Non-hockey related physical abuse (arrests) On-ice game incidents (rough play, screaming coach, etc.)
Example of Response to Significant Matter Notice to USA Hockey of an arrest of a coach/ owner in junior program for online solicitation Immediate discussion at Executive Committee Immediate suspension Discussions with police and prosecutors re extent of allegations Contact with all players and parents USAH team went to Massachusetts to meet with players, parents, new ownership Assistance league with acquiring new ownership, coaches, etc. for team to continue
Issues to Address Is the SafeSport disciplinary process something new? Different from Bylaw 10? Importance of locker room monitoring. Co-ed locker room interpretations. Incorporating training for Coaches and Officials Looking beyond Screens? Some complainants will never be satisfied Retribution complaints Suspension of child for parental behavior Does program increase complaints?
Casey Jorgensen USA Hockey General Counsel 719-538-1143 firstname.lastname@example.org Joyce Kulpinski USA Hockey SafeSport and Legal Administrator 719-538-1145 email@example.com