Many have likely seen,
heard or been made aware of the recent sentencing of former sports
medicine doctor, Larry Nassar.
As a member of our sport
community, you might be asking yourself how this could have
happened and what we can do to prevent this from ever happening
We – coaches,
athletes, parents, officials, volunteers, team leaders, and sport
leaders – can commit to prevention and we can commit to
speaking up. We can commit to Safe Sport.
Safe Sport is something
we do, every day on every deck. The key to prevention is to create
an environment where all members know the rules, are comfortable
talking about them, and are empowered to recognize and report red
flag behavior, boundary violations, and misconduct.
How do you create a Safe
Sport environment? What does it mean to have a culture of
How do you
‘do’ Safe Sport?
Set. Direct. Protect.
intentional. Learn how to make your team a Safe Sport
- Get started. Use the Safe Sport Team Checklist to know what you
already have covered and what else you could be doing to keep kids
- Know who you’re
working with! Conduct thorough screening of employees and
volunteers. USA Swimming member clubs can use the free online
member resource SwimStaffSelect to create job descriptions,
interview questions, reference checks, and more.
- Learn the risks and
address them with your team’s rules. Familiarize yourself
with the SafeSport Code, the USA Swimming Code of Conduct and adopt the Safe Sport Best Practices as team rules. Make
your team’s policies and response procedures easily available
to all team members on your website.
Use enthusiastic and frequent communication to teach your
team’s members about Safe Sport. Talk about your team’s
values and the behaviors that support and reinforce
- Name a Safe Sport Club Coordinator for your team to
oversee the Safe Sport effort, communicate with coaches, parents,
and athletes, and be connected to the LSC, Zone, and national Safe
Sport volunteers for support and resources.
- Make talking about Safe
Sport with athletes a regular conversation. Use monthly Safe Sport Mondays with 11&Over athletes
to facilitate discussion around specific situations and how to
report concerns. Distribute the Safe Sport Activity Book to your 10&Unders
to introduce Safe Sport basics and encourage positive team
- Create a Safe Sport
environment at swim meets, too! Use the Safe Sport Meet Resource Guide to plan your
meet and keep coaches, athletes and spectators up to speed during
the meet with Meet Announcements.
You have spent time and energy to create a culture of safety
– Protect it! When something comes up, address it and correct
it right away.
- Recognize. Red flag
behaviors and boundary violations are small chips in your
team’s culture that can become big problems if left to
fester. Call out and correct these behaviors immediately and
encourage all team members to do the same.
- Respond. When a club
policy violation comes to your attention, take appropriate action.
Be quick to acknowledge the report and take immediate steps to
restore safety. Then, diligently collect all the information
necessary to determine a thoughtful, informed course of action
consistent with your team’s policies.
- Report. If you become
aware of misconduct or abuse, you are required to report
it. Know what to report where. Child abuse or neglect,
including child sexual abuse, should be reported immediately to
local law enforcement. Violations of the SafeSport Code must be
reported to the US Center for Safe Sport. Violations of the
USA Swimming Code of Conduct can be reported here.
For more information and
resources, go to www.usaswimming.org/protect.
Contact us directly at email@example.com.
Follow us on Facebook at
USA Swimming Safe Sport and on Twitter @SwimSafeSport.