USA Gymnastics revamps Safe Sport policy amid abuse scandal

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– USA Gymnastics is overhauling its Safe Sport policy in hopes of providing better protection for athletes and clearer guidelines for coaches, parents, trainers and club owners on what constitutes abuse.

The organization released the new policy on Wednesday after consulting with a wide spectrum of people inside and outside the sport. The group included child welfare advocates and survivors of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung called the update the foundation of the embattled organization’s efforts to foster a safe environment. In addition to detailing where athletes and adults can report abusive behavior, the new guidelines outline 10 preventative policies that set personal and professional boundaries between coaches and trainers and athletes:

  • The authority and jurisdiction of both USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
  • Mandatory reporting and where the different types of misconduct and policy violations should or must be reported.
  • Seven categories of reportable misconduct: sexual, emotional, physical misconduct, stalking, bullying behavior, hazing, and harassment.
  • Five categories of misconduct related to reporting and process: aiding and abetting; failure to report; intentionally filing a false allegation; abuse of process; and retaliation.
  • Ten Prevention Policies that set boundaries between professional and athlete members: one-on-one interaction; travel; social media and electronic communication; photography and videography; locker room and changing areas; gifting; massaging, taping and icing; stretching and other physical conduct; drugs and alcohol; and parental access to training.

USA Gymnastics also said it is beefing up staffing at its Safe Sport center to help it deal with the volume of abuse claims.

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