In June 2017, the Board approved a new USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy, replacing the previous Participant Welfare Policy, that includes key updates to USA Gymnastics’ safe sport policies and procedures. The policy outlines the scope of the organization’s commitment to promoting a safe environment, establishes requirements and expectations for members, and incorporates the authority and jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. An updated version of the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy is expected this fall, and the Code of Ethical Conduct was updated in July 2018.
The Safe Sport Policy, which aligns with the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s requirements, provides more information regarding abuse, expands definitions of misconduct, strengthens procedures for reporting and processing allegations of misconduct, clarifies member expectations and obligations, and identifies unacceptable behavior, including prohibiting failure to report suspected abuse, making a false report and retaliating against someone who files a report. Other changes include:
- Requirement that members must report suspected sexual misconduct within 24 hours to the appropriate legal authorities and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Members must also report other safe sport-related misconduct and Safe Sport Policy violations to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and/or USA Gymnastics, as appropriate and required.
- Introduction of proactive policies for members and member clubs to establish professional boundaries, decreasing opportunities for grooming and other inappropriate interactions. The policies include the following.
- Adult members are prohibited from being alone with minor gymnasts at all times.
- Unrelated adults are prohibited from sharing or being alone in a sleeping room with gymnasts.
- Adult members are prohibited from having out-of-program contact with gymnasts via email, text or social media.
- New requirements are in place regarding physical contact between adults and gymnasts.