As US Equestrian continues compliance and education of the SafeSport Initiative, USEF President Murray Kessler and CEO Bill Moroney sent a letter to members this week saying:
“As you know, safe sport has been a topic of national conversation recently and we take this issue very seriously. USEF has been proactive for several years under the leadership of our General Counsel Sonja Keating to develop and implement safe sport programs and today we wanted to share with you additional steps we are taking to ensure our children and young athletes are safe while practicing and competing in the sport they love.
“US Equestrian is dedicated to bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible and part of that joy is making sure you have the resources available to assist you in making safe choices for our children. In the same way that our members look to US Equestrian, US Equestrian looks to the Center for the answers to our questions so that we do all we can to make your experience safe and fulfill our responsibilities as an NGB.”
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.
Safe Sport Training
- Safe Sport training is FREE to all US Equestrian members. Safe Sport training is an online program that takes approximately 90 minutes, with the followup annual refresher course taking 30 minutes.
- US Equestrian Board of Directors is set to discuss requiring all participants in USEF licensed competitions take Safe Sport training. Currently the training is only required for designated individuals that the USEF, “formally authorizes, approved or appoints to a position of authority over athletes.”
- US Equestrian has created a full time staff position dedicated to Safe Sport compliance and education.
- US Equestrian is strongly emphasizing Safe Sport education so that members, coaches and parents can be knowledgeable about how and when to report, but also to recognize signs of potential abuse. Free resources (available here) include Safe Sport training, parent toolkits, a banned list and 24-hour victim hotline information.
Bully, Harassment and Unsportsmanlike Behavior
US Equestrian stresses that not all misconduct is sexual. Bullying, harassment and unsportsmanlike behavior all fall under Safe Sport policy. These are defined as follows:
- Bullying – Repeated and/or severe (a) aggressive behavior (b) among Minors, (c) that is intended or likely to hurt, control, or diminish another person emotionally, physically, or sexually. Such misconduct between adults does not constitute bullying; the conduct must be directed toward someone under 18 years of age to be actionable as bullying under the Center’s Code or our Safe Sport Policy.
- Harassment – Repeated and/or severe conduct that (a) causes fear, humiliation or annoyance; (b) offends or degrades; (c) creates a hostile environment; or (d) reflects discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on age, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, or mental or physical disability; or (e) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law. Whether conduct is harassing depends on the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the behavior.
- The new Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 went into effect in February of this year. This requires amateur sports organizations and its members to report sex abuse allegations to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and to law enforcement within 24 hours of such knowledge.
- Report all sexual misconduct directly to the U.S. Center for SafeSport by phone at 720-524-5640 or online at www.safesport.org.
- All non-sexual Safe Sport policy should be reported to US Equestrian. Reports can be viathe USEF Incident Report Form, or directly to Sonja Keating, General Counsel, [email protected], 859-225-2045, Sarah Gilbert, [email protected], 859-225-2022, or Emily Pratt, [email protected], 859-225-6956.
Any other Safe Sport inquiries should be directed to Sonja Keating at [email protected].