The safety of athletes is our top priority. USA Fencing is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development, and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free of misconduct.
Because sport can be a high-risk environment for misconduct, including child physical and sexual abuse, USA Fencing has policies and systems in place to protect our fencers such as the SafeSport Code, the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies and the USA Fencing Codes of Conduct. While child sexual misconduct is one type of misconduct, it is important to remember that these policies cover many inappropriate behaviors that apply regardless of the ages of the individuals involved in the alleged activity.
On December 22, 2021, USA Fencing launched FenceSafe, the organization’s expanded commitment to work towards ensuring all athletes and members are free to safely participate in the sport. Previously known as SafeSport, USA Fencing has rebranded the initiative in part to differentiate from the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the SafeSport trademark, and to reflect an enhancement of its policies, procedures, and resource.
FenceSafe is USA Fencing’s comprehensive effort to create a safe and positive environment for members’ physical, emotional and social development. The name change together with the policy and procedure revisions are intended to make it easier for members to understand USA Fencing’s and the Center’s complementary responsibilities for handling misconduct by members. FenceSafe encompasses USA Fencing’s efforts to eradicate misconduct from the sport.
In an effort to prioritize clarity and consistency with U.S Center for SafeSport branding, “SafeSport” is now a registered trademark of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Moving forward the term “SafeSport” may only be used to describe certain offerings under the U.S. Center for SafeSport, such as the SafeSport Code and the SafeSport™ Trained course.
As part of this effort and to better protect its members, USA Fencing recently implemented the following:
FenceSafe Review Committee
The FenceSafe Review Committee (FSRC) was formed in November to increase USA Fencing’s ability to more quickly and effectively protect its members. The FSRC allows the organization to be more agile and timely in its response to reports of misconduct. The FSRC, formerly the Red Light Appeal Group (background screens), is empowered to do the following:
The formation of the FSRC significantly decreases the time necessary to act on an allegation of misconduct.
Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
USA Fencing recently collaborated with the U.S. Center for SafeSport to offer fencing-specific sexual harassment training for members. While the training will be mandatory for any coach, referee, official or staff member attending a National Event in the 2022-2023 season, all adult members are encouraged to complete the training. This free Sexual Harassment Prevention training is meant to be another tool to create a safer environment for members. Further details regarding the Training can be found HERE.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport launched a Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP) Microsite with enhanced resources for athletes, parents and others looking to increase their knowledge of the Policy. The MAAPP aims to reduce one-on-one interactions with minor athletes while increasing accountability for all adults involved in sport. The Center is offering live training sessions for parents, athletes, coaches and administrators.
Updated FenceSafe Webpage
Based on member feedback, USA Fencing updated the FenceSafe webpage. FenceSafe now has a separate tab on the USA Fencing home page and distinct pages to more easily locate important information. There is a page dedicated to the U.S. Center for SafeSport to better understand how it came into existence as well as its primary roles and responsibilities. USA Fencing will continue to add resources, educational information and other relevant material to the FenceSafe webpage. Please reach out to FenceSafe@usafencing.org if there are resources or content areas that would help in our efforts to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment for our members.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport’s role remains consistent. The Center has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and to resolve allegations that a USA Fencing member engaged in sexual misconduct. In addition, the Center has discretionary jurisdiction to investigate and resolve allegations that a member engaged in non-sexual child abuse, emotional and physical conduct. USA Fencing still has jurisdiction over cases of non-sexual misconduct in the sport. Examples of non-sexual misconduct include code of conduct violations, adverse background check findings and black cards.