On July 31, 2017, the USA Fencing Board of Directors approved changes to USA Fencing Bylaw Article VII, Section 16, which declares that USA Fencing shall comply with the policies and procedures of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which was designated by the United States Olympic Committee to investigate and resolve SafeSport violations.
Effective August 1, 2017, the Center will have exclusive authority to investigate and resolve alleged SafeSport Code violations involving sexual misconduct. USA Fencing will retain the authority to investigate and resolve alleged SafeSport Code violations that are non-sexual in nature, including physical misconduct, emotional misconduct, bullying, hazing and harassment; although, at USA Fencing's request, the Center may exercise the discretionary authority to take on these cases.
LAUNCH, LOCATION & GOVERNANCE
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is a national nonprofit organization providing education, resources and training to promote respect and prevent abuse in sport. The Center is located in Denver, Colorado, and opened in March 2017.
The Center is governed by a nine-member board of directors, which includes subject-matter experts in the areas of abuse prevention and investigation, ethics compliance and sport administration.
MISSION, PURPOSE & VISION
To cultivate and steward a culture of dignity and respect in sport.
Enable every athlete to thrive by fostering a national sport culture of respect and safety, on and off the ﬁeld of play.
Every athlete is safe, supported and strengthened through sport.
Education and Outreach Ofﬁce
The Center's Education and Outreach Ofﬁce will administer prevention programming, raise issue awareness, and provide resources and training to promote respect and prevent misconduct, such as bullying, hazing, harassment and abuse. The Center will:
Response and Resolution Ofﬁce
The Center's Response and Resolution Ofﬁce will investigate and resolve alleged policy violations for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements' 47 member National Governing Bodies, including USA Fencing.
JURISDICTION & AUTHORITY
The Center has jurisdiction over Covered Individuals. These are persons:
The Center will have the exclusive authority to investigate and resolve alleged SafeSport Code violations involving sexual misconduct. USA Fencing will retain the authority to investigate and resolve alleged SafeSport Code violations that are non-sexual in nature. Although, at USA Fencing's request, the Center may exercise the discretionary authority to take on cases of this nature.
Exclusive Authority: All forms of sexual misconduct.
Discretionary Authority: Other policy violations, including physical misconduct, emotional misconduct, bullying, hazing and harassment.
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR SAFESPORT CODE VIOLATIONS
All individuals, regardless of membership with USA Fencing, are encouraged to report suspected violations of the SafeSport Code. Covered Individuals who are over the age of 18 are required to report suspected SafeSport Code violations related to or accompanying sexual misconduct. Covered Individuals who fail to report SafeSport Code violations may be subject to disciplinary action.
How to Report
Individuals should report suspected SafeSport Code violations directly to the Center.
Reporting to the Center
Phone: (720) 531-0340
Although the Center cannot guarantee conﬁdentiality, it will, to the greatest extent possible, maintain the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of alleged SafeSport Code violations.
Anonymous reporting is permitted.
Legally Mandated Reporting
Reporting alleged criminal conduct to USA Fencing or the Center will not satisfy any individual mandatory reporting requirements under state or federal law. Visit https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/state/ to view state-by-state mandatory reporting laws to determine your reporting obligations and options.
THE INVESTIGATION & RESOLUTION PROCESS
In response to an alleged SafeSport Code violation, the Center may:
The Center may conduct an informal inquiry to collect preliminary facts to determine if the matter should be resolved informally, investigated further or not investigated at this time.
At the start of a full investigation, the Center will provide notice to both involved parties. Each will be given the opportunity to present supporting evidence and provide contact information for potential witnesses.
After reviewing the evidence in the case and interviewing relevant witnesses, an investigator will prepare a written report detailing:
The Center's director of investigations will issue a decision based on the available evidence. If the director determines the individual in question has violated the SafeSport Code, he or she may seek arbitration.
The disciplinary process is designed to protect all USA Fencing athletes, members and participants from future misconduct. With this in mind, all recommended sanctions will be reasonable and proportionate to the violation committed and will emphasize education to ensure that minor misconduct does not escalate into a major violation.
In response to the Center's determination that a SafeSport Code violation has occurred, USA Fencing will impose any sanctions recommended by the Center. Potential sanctions include, among others, any combination of the following:
In determining appropriate sanctions, the Center will consider a range of factors, including but not limited to:
Implementation Across the Olympic and Paralympic Movement
Participation restrictions imposed by a USOC-member NGB will be upheld across the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
Visit https://uscenterforsafesport.org/ to learn more or to view the Center's policies and procedures to determine your responsibilities under the SafeSport Code. The Center's policies and procedures are subject to change. Should the policies and procedures vary from the information contained herein, the policies and procedures will govern.
24-HOUR VICTIM SERVICES HELPLINE
The United States Center for SafeSport today also offers a 24-hour victim services helpline, which will be operated in partnership with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.
The SafeSport Helpline will provide crisis intervention, referrals and emotional support specifically designed for athletes, staff and other sport participants affected by sexual assault. Through this anonymous and secure service, highly trained specialists will provide live, confidential, one-on-one support by phone or online chat. A mobile application is also available for iOS and Android users.
Online chat: https://hotline.rainn.org/safesport