Frequently
Asked Questions

If you are currently involved with a Response and Resolution process or considering beginning one, we offer reliable resources to help you. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has several rules, policies and procedures to keep you informed and educated.

General

The Center’s authority derives from the bylaws of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the individual National Governing Bodies (NGBs) who have all agreed to be subject to the Center’s jurisdiction and processes.  In addition, in 2018, Congress passed The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 which mandates that the USOPC eliminate abuse and recognizes the Center’s jurisdiction and authority to fulfill this mission.

Yes. The Center’s independence comes from its bylaws, board of directors and governance. The Center is also responsible for independent, regular and random audits of all NGBs and the USOPC.

The Center responds to and resolves all allegations of sexual misconduct within the USOPC and sets training requirements and abuse-prevention policies for NGBs that oversee individual sports.

Each NGB has its own safe sport program, through which the NGBs enforce the Center’s policies, requirements, and any sanctions imposed after investigation. The NGBs’ safe sport programs have their own mechanisms and designated offices to investigate and resolve allegations of physical and emotional misconduct.

The Center’s funding comes from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee ( USOPC), as dictated in the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic and Amateur Athletes Act (S.330), the Department of Justice, foundations, and individual donors. It also generates revenue from its fee-for-service model for educating and training sports organizations outside of the USOPC.

The Code establishes the policies and process for the Center’s Response & Resolution Office, provides the rules and procedures for the investigation and resolution of reported incidents, and defines the various forms of prohibited conduct for Participants, including the various forms of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.

The Code applies to all individuals who participate in sport within the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. The SafeSport Code defines these individuals as “Participants.” This includes a wide range of individuals who participate in sport in various capacities, including members, license holders, or employees of a National Governing Body (NGB) or its Local Affiliated Organizations (LAO), as well as volunteers, trainers, coaches, athletes, or contracted individuals who have been “authorized, approved, or appointed by an NGB, LAO, or the USOPC to have regular contact with or authority over Minor Athletes.” Participants also include those who are otherwise considered to be “within the governance or disciplinary jurisdiction of an NGB, LAO, or the USOPC.” More information regarding the specific types of individuals who fall within an NGB’s jurisdiction can be found on the relevant NGB’s website.

Response and Resolution

reports

You can report a concern by completing this form at any time, or by calling 833-5US-SAFE (587-7233) 9am to 5pm MT weekdays. More information on reporting abuse and misconduct to the Center can be found on the Report a Concern page.

The Center undertakes a preliminary inquiry to assess whether the report is within Center jurisdiction, and whether there is reason to believe a SafeSport Code violation may have occurred. If the answer to both questions is “yes,” the Center initiates an investigation. 

Within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, the Center has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and resolve reports of:

  • Sexual Misconduct, including without limitation child sexual abuse and any misconduct that is reasonably related to an underlying allegation of Sexual Misconduct
  • Criminal Charges or Dispositions involving Child Abuse or Sexual Misconduct
  • Misconduct Related to Reporting, where the underlying allegation involves Child Abuse or Sexual Misconduct;
  • Aiding and Abetting, when it relates to the Center’s process
  • Misconduct Related to the Center’s Process
  • Other Inappropriate Conduct, as defined herein

Anyone may report abuse or misconduct to the Center.

The Center specifically investigates reports of abuse or misconduct affecting individuals in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement at national, regional, and local levels. This includes members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, its national governing bodies (NGBs), and their local and regional affiliates.

The Center does not have authority over non-Movement leagues (such as the NFL or NASCAR), associations (such as the NCAA or AAU), or non-Olympic/Paralympic sports (such as cheer & dance). To report abuse involving non-Movement sports or organizations, contact a relevant liaison at that institution or local law enforcement.

No. Reports may be made based on abuse and misconduct alleged to occur at any time in the past. This differs from criminal investigation standards, in which statutes of limitations may apply.

Yes. All Center employees must report known or suspected child abuse (including child sexual abuse) or neglect to appropriate authorities.

Report first to your local law enforcement—if you are a mandatory reporter, this is required by law—then to the Center. You must make separate reports to both entities, though be aware that the Center often collaborates directly with law enforcement on report investigations.

This page outlines the Center’s response and resolution of abuse and misconduct reports. As the process follows rules articulated in the SafeSport Code, detailed answers to many questions are found in the Code itself. Contact the Center’s Resource & Process Advisor at 720-531-9024 with additional questions.

INVESTIGATIONS

The “preponderance of evidence” standard, which is met when it is more likely than not that a claim is true. This differs from the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal law.

To protect the integrity of the process and the confidentiality of affected individuals, the Center generally does not communicate publicly on the status or outcome of investigations. The Center communicates directly with Claimants and Respondents at important milestones in the investigative process. If the Center enacts a temporary measure or sanction that affects a Respondent’s eligibility to participate in sport, it can be found in the Centralized Disciplinary Database.

Public disclosure of investigation-related information is inconsistent with best practices and can jeopardize the Center’s ability to protect affected individuals. Final decisions are always shared with the Claimant(s), Respondent, and relevant NGB.

RESOLUTION AND ENFORCEMENT

A Respondent may challenge a Center finding of a SafeSport Code violation or related sanction by requesting a hearing administered by independent neutral arbitrators. A video outlining Center arbitrations and process parameters can be viewed at this page. Further process detail is articulated in section XIV of the SafeSport Code.

The relevant NGB, and the USOPC, must ensure enforcement of any temporary measure or sanction issued by the Center.

Administrative Closures

An Administrative Closure is one of three types of resolutions used by the Center, the other two being Informal Resolutions and Formal Resolutions. It is a broad category that encompasses several different reasons a matter may be closed by the Center without a formal or informal resolution.[1]

[1] https://uscenterforsafesport.org/response-and-resolution/

The Center’s decision to administratively close a matter can be made for several reasons. The most common reason a matter is administratively closed is because the Claimant(s) decided not to participate in the Center’s Response & Resolution Process. The Center places great weight on a Claimant’s decision of whether to participate in its process, and it is difficult to proceed with the investigative process in these scenarios, as the Center’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation and collect evidence is limited. An administrative closure allows the Center to reopen the matter if the Claimant(s) decides to participate in the process in the future.

Example:

  • An assistant coach files an incident report that alleges the head coach (the individual alleged to have engaged in misconduct is referred to as a Respondent) of a swim program sexually assaulted one of his then-minor athletes, who is now an adult. After receiving the report, the Center immediately contacts local law enforcement, then it reaches out to the Claimant (the athlete in the report) to let them know about the report and explain the Center’s process. After the explanation, the Claimant indicates that they are not ready to speak with Center staff. Center staff explains that the Claimant has the right to decide whether to participate and that the matter will be closed, for now, because the Center staff is unable to get additional information related to the allegations, identify witness, and/or obtain available evidence, and that the matter will be reopened any time in the future if the Claimant decides to move forward.

The second most common reason a matter is administratively closed is that there isn’t enough information available to engage in a full investigation. This happens most often when the Center determines early in its process that there is not enough information to show, by a preponderance of evidence, that a violation occurred. Because the Center does not adhere to a statute of limitations, it is particularly challenging to collect information and evidence on decades-old cases. Using an administrative closure in these situations allows the Center to direct resources to areas of identified risk and allows Response & Resolution staff to focus on other matters.

Example:

  • The Center receives an incident report that alleges an athlete (Respondent) physically assaulted a minor athlete (Claimant) from an opposing team. Early in its process, Center staff speak with the Claimant’s parent, who relays to the Center staff that no assault occurred. Based on this information, the Center explains to the minor athlete’s parents that the matter will be administratively closed and can be reopened if additional information becomes available.

There are a few additional reasons why the Center may administratively close a matter other than the two most common reasons listed above. These include: when a report is filed but the Claimant(s) identity is not known; when a Respondent is unknown or deceased and a Center matter has not been informally or formally resolved prior to the Respondent’s death; and when a matter has been previously resolved by a National Governing Body or one of its Local Affiliated Organizations. In many instances, an administrative closure is accompanied by a Letter of Admonishment.

One of the primary goals of the Center is to educate Participants to help foster a safe and respectful sport environment. In furtherance of this goal, the Center may send Letters of Admonishment to notify Respondents of allegations, to remind them of their obligation as a Participant to adhere to the Code and other relevant policies/standards, and to provide them an opportunity to reflect upon and adjust their behavior moving forward.

Example:

  • The Center receives an incident report that alleges an athlete (Respondent) made a snide comment to a fellow teammate about that teammate’s recent performance. The Center talks to the teammate (Claimant), and they confirm this was the first and only time the Respondent has ever behaved this way. Based on this information, the Center explains to the Claimant that this conduct would not constitute a violation and the matter will be administratively closed. The Claimant is then encouraged to let the Center know if similar conduct happens again.

    The Center then issues a Letter of Admonishment to the Respondent explaining that continuation of such behavior could constitute Emotional and Physical Misconduct and a violation of the SafeSport Code subject to sanctions.

When a matter is administratively closed, it is considered resolved. Notices of the closure are provided to the Claimant(s), NGBs, and the Respondent, if they are aware a report has been made alleging they engaged in misconduct. Importantly, the matter can quickly be reopened and proceed through a full investigation.

Another important note is that an NGB or an LAO, per its own policy and procedures, can still implement Temporary Measures or a Safety Plan, so long as such temporary measures do not result in a de facto suspension.

Any time the Center receives additional information about a closed matter, it thoroughly reviews the new information to determine whether additional investigation is needed. In the matter of administrative closures, the Center will evaluate the new information or evidence and determine whether the matter should be re-opened and continue through the Response & Resolution process.

Yes. To date, the Center has reopened more than 200 matters of alleged abuse within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.

An administrative closure can happen at any stage in the Response & Resolution process. Most commonly, it occurs in early in the investigative process. The matters that close in the early stages have typically gone through preliminary investigative steps, meaning Center staff have spoken to witnesses, third-party reporters, and even law enforcement or have conducted interviews with Claimant(s), witnesses, and potentially the Respondent.

 

Education and Training

The Center offers a variety of tailored courses for adults and minor athletes, and covers topics such as mandatory reporting, sexual misconduct awareness education, emotional and physical misconduct, and abuse prevention. More information is available here.

In addition to the SafeSport Code, it sets mandatory Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies, which includes an Education & Training Policy, as well as required policies that limit one-on-one interactions between certain adults who have regular contact with minor athletes.

For individuals affiliated with a national sport governing body recognized by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, training is available through their membership with the NGB. Individuals and organizations outside of those sports can take the SafeSport Trained course to learn how to recognize, prevent and respond to all forms of abuse.

The Center also provides free resources for parents, coaches and athletes of all levels including minor athlete training (with parental consent).

Individual Training:
safesporttrained.org

Groups and Youth Sports Organizations:
Please reach out to us to learn how your organization can benefit from the SafeSport™ Trained course. To receive pricing and online offerings for your organizations, fill out our training purchase form.

The Center’s online training is currently available to U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee NGBs at safesporttrained.org. Please contact the National Governing Body for your sport to obtain an access code directly from your organization.

Audit and Compliance

Over the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and affiliated national governing bodies (NGBs).

The Center conducts two types of regular and random audits: Administrative Audits and Event Audits.

The Center’s Audit Team conducts at least one audit of each NGB and the USOPC annually.  

The Center sends applicable audit standards to NGBs and the USOPC each year. The Center will incorporate these audit standards into a U.S. Center for SafeSport Audit Manual it will publish in early 2022 and update each year thereafter.

Beginning with audits conducted during 2021, final audit reports can be found on our audit report page.

The Center would then require the NGB to implement corrective measures (to be approved by the Center’s audit team) by a specified deadline.

The Center has the authority to impose further requirements or penalties, which are outlined on our audit and compliance page.

Tech Support

General

For any technical issues with online training access, please contact the SafeSport Help Desk directly at Learning Service & Support. If you still have a question after you have reviewed the FAQs, please contact the SafeSport Help Desk directly at Learning Service & Support or (303) 800-4LMS (4567) 

The Help Desk hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST. We will do our best to get your questions answered as soon as possible.

You can create an account by clicking Sign In and then clicking the Sign Up button.  When registering if you find your email address already has an account associated with it, click the “Forgot Password” link on the Sign In page to reset your password.

Memberships are handled by each organization. Please contact the organization you are a member of to resolve the issue.

If you cannot download or print your certificate, please take the following steps:

  •  Submit a request to the SafeSport Help Desk at Learning Services & Support; and 

  • Take a screen shot of your completed training for your records and submit the screen shot directly to your national governing body.

Access codes are provided by each organization. Please contact the organization you are a member of to obtain an access code.

Please contact the National Governing Body for your sport. They are responsible for informing their Participants of ongoing training requirements. As a general rule, training completed on the previous system in 2017, prior to the new system launch, will be valid for one year.

Sometimes this may be caused by a slow or intermittent internet connection. In some rare cases the videos may be blocked by your network administrator. This sometimes happens in corporate, educational, and government settings. In order to view videos you will need to access them from another location.

It is recommended that you access this site and online training materials using a broadband internet connection. If you have slower connection, all of the content is still accessible but may take a bit longer to load. Google Chrome or Firefox ensures the best experience.

It is recommended that you access this site and online training materials using a broadband Internet connection. If you have a slower connection, all the content is still accessible but may take a bit longer to load.

If you have an older web browser, videos may require Adobe Flash Player when being viewed on desktop/laptop computers. For all modern desktop browsers as well as mobile devices, no plugin is required to view videos. You will also need a PDF viewer like Adobe Reader in order to view print your certificate of completion. Certificates of completion may not be able to be downloaded on all tablets and mobile devices.

In some cases issues you experience can be resolved by clearing your web browser’s cache. Since there are many types of web browsers on many devices, this link covers how to clear your cache on most of them.

Once you’ve successfully completed an activity, you can download your certificate at any time by following these steps:

  1. Sign into your account using your email address and password. If you do not remember your password, you can click the “Forgot Password” link on the Sign In page to retrieve it.
  2. From the menu, click on your name and select “Your Activities”.
  3. Any activity you have completed will have a “Download Certificate” button.
  4. Click this button to begin downloading your certificate. Please note that it may take a moment for the certificate to fully download.

Activities do not have to be completed all at once. Here are the steps to resume where you left off:

  1. Sign in using your email address and password.
  2. Select “Your Activities” from the main menu.
  3. From the list of activities click the training you would like to resume.

If you do not remember your password, click on the “Forgot Password” link on the Sign-In page. You will be prompted to enter the email address associated with your account. Next you will receive an email with instructions on how to reset your password.

The resolution will vary based on which web browser you are using.  Below are examples for some commonly used browsers. Open your browser’s preferences (or settings) and follow the instructions below.

  • In Safari set “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” to disabled.
  • In Firefox set “Tracking Protection” to “Only in private windows”.
  • In Google Chrome set “Send a Do Not Track request with your browsing traffic” to disabled.
  • In Internet Explorer set “Access data sources across domains” to enabled. 

Once you do this you may need to refresh the page for the change to take effect.

Supported browsers include:

  • Chrome 48+
  • Firefox 44+
  • Internet Explorer/Edge 11+
  • Opera 34+
  • Safari 7+

Supported tablets and mobile devices include:

  • iOS 8+
  • Android 4.4+
  • Windows Phone 8.1+

If you still have a question after you have reviewed the FAQs, please contact the SafeSport Help Desk directly at Learning Service & Support or (303) 800-4LMS (4567) 

The Help Desk hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST. We will do our best to get your questions answered as soon as possible.

for training

The SafeSportTrained.org portal houses the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s lineup of more than a dozen courses related to abuse prevention.

From the homepage of SafeSportTrained.org—the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s portal for online courses—you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions, with guidance on accessing and enrolling in SafeSport courses. If your question remains unanswered by that FAQ, submit a Help Request and we will do our best to respond as promptly as possible.

If you are an NGB member: Check with your NGB before taking a course at safesporttrained.org—if they have a dedicated portal (as many do) through which your required SafeSport trainings are available, you must access those trainings through your NGB’s portal for completion credit, and we cannot provide refunds if you mistakenly do so directly through safesporttrained.org.

Both athletesafety.org and safesport.org are phasing out in 2021, each replaced by the SafeSportTrained.org portal for all SafeSport courses; click here for more information on this transition.  

Please fill out the training purchase form and our Customer Success Team can answer your questions or recommend course options ideal for your needs.

DONATIONS AND STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Yes. After making an online donation, you will receive an email that can serve as your official tax receipt: be sure to keep a copy for tax purposes.

As a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization, U.S. Center for SafeSport donations are eligible for federal tax deduction.

Reach out to us to explore a sponsorship or partnership that can benefit your organization and leave a lasting positive impact.