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USA Fencing to Launch New SafeSport Initiatives

03/22/2018, 10:30am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce the addition of several key initiatives within its SafeSport program within the coming months.

“We launched the USA Fencing SafeSport program in 2013 to improve the development and safety of athletes and participants involved in fencing and USA Fencing remains committed to continuing to expand our SafeSport programs as we look for new ways to educate the fencing community on the issues of abuse, harassment and bullying in sports,” said USA Fencing Executive Director Kris Ekeren.

Since the program’s inception, USA Fencing has launched educational programs for USA Fencing members and hired a SafeSport Coordinator, Suzie Riewald, who holds a doctorate in sport psychology to oversee disciplinary matters as well as educational initiatives. These initiatives include SafeSport training for all Coach and +CheckEd members (including coaches, referees and tournament officials) as well as a SafeSport blog and articles in the USA Fencing monthly e-newsletter.

In 2017, USA Fencing also implemented mandatory SafeSport training for all Senior, Junior and Cadet World Team members for the first time and is looking to expand this educational program to additional athletes next season.

In the coming months, USA Fencing also will be introducing new SafeSport resources for member clubs, including a tool kit that will feature posters and educational materials.

USA Fencing also is seeking to expand awareness of the SafeSport educational programs at national events which will be free of charge to all USA Fencing members and parents of athletes. USA Fencing continues to work with the U.S. Center for SafeSport to provide online SafeSport training to Coach or +CheckEd members as well as to facilitate disciplinary procedures in cases of sexual harassment or assault. An independent non-profit entity established in 2017, the U.S. Center for SafeSport was recently recognized by Congress as having oversight of all 50+ National Governing Bodies and Paralympic Sports Organizations with regard to safeguarding amateur athletes against abuse in sport.

“I want to encourage all of our members to report any misconduct that they see within our community to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, USA Fencing or the appropriate legal authorities,” said USA Fencing President Donald K. Anthony Jr. “The USA Fencing community is more than just athletes, coaches, referees and volunteers. We are a family and we must be proactive in joining together to help create an environment that is positive and safe for all of our members.”

All reporting of misconduct to the U.S. Center for SafeSport may be done anonymously via website, e-mail or phone.

For additional information regarding reporting procedures, the Center for SafeSport can be reached at 720.531.0340 or via the Center’s online reporting form.

For questions regarding USA Fencing SafeSport policies, contact Susie Riewald, USA Fencing Safe Sport Coordinator, at S.Riewald@usafencing.org or 719.866.2616.

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