Following a presentation on the SafeSport initiative at last month’s USEF Annual Meeting, the organization released a letter today from President Murray Kessler and CEO Bill Moroney stressing that “the safety and welfare of our members, especially our children, is of paramount importance.”
The U.S. Center for SafeSport was created by the USOC in March 2017 as an independent organization to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in Olympic National Governing Bodies. Any Olympic sport, equestrian included, falls under the SafeSport umbrella.
In addition to providing training and education, any participant in equestrian sport can report sexual misconduct to SafeSport to be investigated. Read on for the full letter from the USEF, and please share this important information with fellow members of the equestrian community.
From the US Equestrian Communications Department:
Dear US Equestrian Members,
The safety and welfare of our members, especially our children, is of paramount importance to US Equestrian. This is why we are writing directly to every member and to the parents of our junior members. We believe it is vital to the sustainability of the sport we love, to deliver Safe Sport information and resources directly to our members.
US Equestrian has partnered with the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and assisted in the development of the policies that support it. This partnership and the Safe Sport Initiative bring you consistent and reliable reporting processes, in addition to resources and support. Not only is reporting the right thing to do, it is critical to creating a safe environment for athletes and members. Sexual and non-sexual misconduct have two distinct reporting processes:
- All sexual misconduct should be reported directly to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport by phone 720-524-5640 or online at www.safesport.org
- All non-sexual misconduct or violations of the Safe Sport Policy should be reported directly to US Equestrian. Reports through US Equestrian can be submitted using the USEF Incident Report Form, or by email or phone 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.
Both the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and US Equestrian will accept anonymous reports, but please note that it can be very difficult to investigate anonymous complaints.
It is essential that all members educate themselves regarding Safe Sport. Not only to understand when and how to report, but also to recognize the signs in order to prevent abuse before it occurs. To further your education and participation in this movement US Equestrian provides numerous Safe Sport Initiative resources on our website at www.usef.org including the following:
- Safe Sport Training – FREE to everyone! Three modules that take just under ninety minutes to complete initially, with refresher training every two years;
- A banned list that identifies the person by name and reason for their ban;
- Coming later this summer, US Equestrian will launch our trainer/instructor/coach directory and registry to help individuals, parents, athletes, and others in our sport find the professionals within our industry who have completed the Safe Sport Training and accreditation;
- The U.S. Center for Safe Sport has partnered with RAINN to provide a 24-hour victim services hotline, reached at 1.866.200.0796
In addition to the resources offered by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and US Equestrian, it is extremely important that you are aware of legislation awaiting President Trump’s signature, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. It requires amateur sports organizations and its members to report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department within 24 hours. Failure to do so is a crime.
US Equestrian is dedicated to bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible and part of the joy of horses is making sure you have the resources available to assist you in making safe choices. Please contact our legal department which handles all Safe Sport inquiries at [email protected] should you have any questions or need assistance.
Murray S. Kessler, President
William J. Moroney, Chief Executive Officer