USA Wrestling has a commitment to provide a safe and healthy environment for those who participate in wrestling, especially for all of our children. We are reaching out to all of our adult members who are 18 years old and above to provide clarity on this important topic.
In order to ensure that there is absolutely no uncertainty as to how people associated with USA Wrestling should deal with suspected abuse, we want to make it clear: report the information to the police and document the report. Then report the information to USA Wrestling or the US Center for Safe Sport, and document the reports. Period. There are no exceptions to this policy. In addition, we want to remind you of our mandatory training requirements.
When should you report? The standard under a new federal law, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, requires reporting as soon as possible when a covered individual “learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, including sexual abuse.” The law applies to any:
|Adult who is authorized by a national governing body, a member of a national governing body, or an amateur sports organization that participates in interstate or international amateur athletic competition, to interact with a minor or amateur athlete at an amateur sports organization facility or at any event sanctioned by a national governing body, a member of a national governing body, or such an amateur sports organization.|
These policies are consistent with USA Wrestling’s existing commitment to provide the safest possible environment for those who participate in wrestling, especially for all of our children.
Mandatory reporting is not a new concept. All of the states in the United States, as well as United States territories, have identified “mandatory reporters” who are obligated to reports suspected abuse. Mandatory reporters generally include professionals involved in providing services to children such as educators, social workers, counselors and therapists, child care providers, health care providers or law enforcement officers. Both USA Wrestling’s policies and the new federal statute are substantially broader. If you are a member coach and/or member official of USA Wrestling, it applies to you, and it applies to anyone whom your local club permits to interact with children.
It bears emphasis that it is not your responsibility to determine whether allegations are true, or whether abuse has actually occurred before reporting suspicions. Instead, you must report if you “learn of facts that give (you) reasons to suspect” abuse.
To whom should you report? The federal law requires the Attorney General to identify appropriate law enforcement agencies, and until the designation is published, there are three places you should report. First, you should report any facts that you suspect may evidence abuse to the police. Make sure you document the report. Second, if it involves sexual misconduct, you should report it to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport: https://safesport.org/report-a-concern, (720) 524-5640. Third, if it is for non-sexual misconduct, you should report it to USA Wrestling through its membership system or at 719-598-8181.
Safe Sport Training
In addition, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has made the SafeSport training available at no cost to all members of National Governing Bodies like USA Wrestling. USA Wrestling coach and officials members, along with other specific volunteers and staff, must take this training in order to become members. However, we encourage all adults who are involved in wrestling and other sports activities to receive this training.
In order to access the free training, all users should go to www.usawmembership.com. You must first have a free account, and once an account is created, you should create or claim your previous profile in USA Wrestling’s membership system. When viewing your profile, you will see the link to the SafeSport certification.
The SafeSport training has three modules that must be completed: 1) Mandatory Reporting; 2) Sexual Misconduct Awareness Education; 3) Emotional and Physical Misconduct. Upon completion of all three modules of this training, your USA Wrestling membership profile will show your SafeSport certification.
These requirements are serious obligations and are not mere "check the box" requirements. If you fail to report suspected abuse as required under the federal law, you will subject yourself to civil liability for damages to anyone who is hurt by your failure to report, and those damages start at $150,000 plus attorney fees.
More important, doing everything in your power to prevent child abuse is the right thing to do.
Please let us know if we can do anything to help.
|Bruce Baumgartner||Rich Bender|
|USA Wrestling President||USA Wrestling Executive Director|