As a supervisor, you may receive two types of reports: reports of abuse and reports of red-flags, like policy violations or
inappropriate or suspicious behaviors. For reports of abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency and a USA
Swimming Safe Sport staff member. For reports of red-flags, consider these guidelines:
1. Respond quickly.
A child’s safety may be in jeopardy and a delay in action could allow abuse to occur. Red-flags can quickly lead
to abuse. That means you need to respond right away, no matter how busy you are.
2. Find out as much as you can about the situation.
Get as much information as you can from the person making the report and from any others who may have
relevant information, like co-workers. You may also find it helpful to review personnel records to determine if
this is a first time report or a recurrence.
3. Review your findings with management.
Because your actions can have serious legal implications, it’s always a good idea to review what you’ve learned
with your supervisor and/or the Board and to discuss what steps should be taken next.
4. Based on what you find out, take the necessary disciplinary action.
Follow your organization’s progressive disciplinary procedure for dealing with policy violations.
5. Thoroughly document what you learned from your investigation and what actions you took in response.
Documentation can be crucial if you must later prove that you exercised due diligence in acting on a red-flag or
report of inappropriate or suspicious behavior.
6. Decide who else needs to know about the situation.
You may need to advise other coaches or the parents of the children involved. Other coaches may have heard
rumors or have questions that you can put to rest. Parents may need information to allay any fears they may
have and to discuss the situation with their children. Most people appreciate being in the know directly, rather
than hearing stories through the rumor mill.
7. Use the situation to strengthen training, monitoring and supervision and your policies.
Incidents teach us a great deal if we let them. Use what happened in this situation to ask yourself, “How could
this happen?” as well as, “What did we do well?” Maybe you’ll see that your coaches need more training on
how to supervise children or how to respond if they see a red flag. Don’t let an incident go by without learning
something from it so you can do an even better job in the future.