Misconduct and Abuse Reporting Policy

  
  


Background Information:


The primary intention behind USA Cycling’s SafeSport Program is to prevent misconduct and abuse from happening, but there is no guarantee the program will be 100% effective.  For times when prevention efforts aren’t enough to stop occurrences of misconduct and abuse from happening, USA Cycling has created a reporting system that encourages individuals to report misconduct and/or abuse.

When you suspect or observe someone violating a SafeSport policy, it is important to report the violation immediately.  Reporting can be intimidating, and sometimes it is not clear who should be notified; this policy should serve as a tool for individuals attempting to identify the appropriate authorities.  USA Cycling has hereby adopted the following reporting policy:
 

1. Introduction


An effective reporting policy that results in reports of suspected abuse and misconduct, and does not in any way deter victims or witnesses from reporting abuse and misconduct, is a key element to preventing abuse and misconduct from occurring.  Abusers will avoid involvement in a program where there is a likelihood that suspected abuse will be reported.  When sport participants are untrained about how and when to report suspected abuse, they may feel ill-prepared, powerless and lost when it comes to responding to and reporting misconduct.  By providing this guidance on when and how to report suspected misconduct, USA Cycling seeks to remove barriers to disclosing misconduct, including child physical and sexual abuse.

In some cases a reporter/observer may be hesitant about reporting suspected abuse for any number of reasons.  It is critical the reporter/observer does not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of allegations, especially those allegations surrounding child physical or sexual abuse, as a condition for or prior to reporting their concerns.  Determining the credibility of a person making an allegation and the validity of the facts on which an allegation is based are the responsibility of USA Cycling and/or law enforcement/child protection officials.  The following sections address other matters that a reporter/observer may be concerned with when contemplating making a report:

Confidentiality
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously.  Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

To the extent permitted by law, and as appropriate, USA Cycling and its affiliates will keep confidential the complainant’s name on request, not make public the names of potential victims, the accused perpetrator or the people who made a report of child physical or sexual abuse to the authorities.

“Whistleblower” Protection
General
The Organization’s Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy and Code of Conduct (CODE) requires directors, officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of the organization, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Reporting Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to comply with the Code and to report violations or suspected violations in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy.

No Retaliation
No director, officer or employee who in good faith reports a violation of the Code shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence as a result of reporting a violation reported in good faith.  An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.  This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within the organization prior to seeking resolution outside the organization.

Regardless of outcome, it is the policy of USA Cycling, its affiliates and local programs to support the complainant(s) and his or her right to express concerns in good faith.  Neither USA Cycling, its affiliates nor local programs will encourage, allow or tolerate attempts from an individual, group or organization to retaliate, punish, allow or in any way harm any individual(s) who reports a concern in good faith.  Such actions against a complainant will be considered a violation of this policy and grounds for disciplinary action.

Bad-Faith Allegations/Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation of the Code must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a Code and/or policy violation.  Any allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated and to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

A report of abuse, misconduct or policy violation that is malicious, frivolous or made in bad faith is prohibited.  Such reports will be considered a Code and/or policy violation and grounds for disciplinary action.  Depending on the nature of the allegation, a person making a malicious, frivolous or bad-faith report may also be subject to civil or criminal proceedings.
 

2. REPORTING POLICY


Accordingly, it is the policy of USA Cycling that all individuals held accountable by the Code must report (1) actual or perceived violations of the Code or Athlete Protection Policy (APP), (2) any violations of the Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Bullying, Threats or Harassment, and Hazing policies, and (3) suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse to USA Cycling’s risk protection manager.

Any report of misconduct or suspicions of child physical or sexual abuse will be taken seriously and handled appropriately.  In such cases, every individual held accountable by the Code must also report to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.  If USA Cycling receives a report of physical or sexual misconduct involving a minor, USA Cycling will make a report to the proper authorities.

Reporting Child Physical or Sexual Abuse
Child Physical or Sexual Abuse
Because sexual abusers sometimes “groom” children for abuse – the process used by offenders to select a child, to win the child’s trust (and the trust of the child’s parent or guardian), to manipulate the child into sexual activity and to keep the child from disclosing abuse – it is possible that an employee, volunteer, parent or participant may witness behavior intended to groom a child for sexual abuse.  All questions or concerns related to inappropriate, suspicious or suspected grooming behavior should be directed to USA Cycling’s risk protection manager.

Peer-to-Peer Sexual Abuse
Approximately one-third of all child sexual abuse occurs at the hands of other children and the obligation to report extends to peer-to-peer child sexual abuse.  Whether or not a sexual interaction between children constitutes child sexual abuse turns on the existence of an aggressor, the age difference between the children, and/or whether there is an imbalance of power or intellectual capabilities.  If you have any concerns that an interaction between children may constitute sexual abuse, report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and to USA Cycling’s risk protection manager immediately.

Reporting Other Misconduct and Policy Violations
If any staff member and/or volunteer receives an allegation or observes misconduct or other inappropriate behavior, such as grooming, that is not reportable to law enforcement authorities, it is the responsibility of each staff member and/or volunteer to report their observations to USA Cycling’s risk protection manager immediately.
 

3. REPORTING PROCEDURE


To Whom to Report
Suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse, in most cases, must be made to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.  In order to further protect participants and USA Cycling programs, such reports should also be made to USA Cycling.

A compilation of information on when a person must make a report to law enforcement or child protection authorities can be found at:
  1. ChildWelfare.gov     
  2. Mandatory reporters     
  3. State statutes 
  4. Child abuse reporting phone number by state
  5. 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453)
Violations of any USA Cycling SafeSport policy shall be made to USA Cycling.  Any reports made to a local program administrator shall be forwarded by that administrator to USA Cycling’s risk protection manager.

How to Report
Reports to USA Cycling may be made by: (1) clicking on the “Report to USA Cycling” link on the SafeSport Program webpage, (2) e-mailing to SafeSport@usacycling.org or (3) calling 719-434-4222.  The SafeSport Program webpage also contains contact information for USA Cycling’s risk protection manager.

If reporting by e-mail, it is strongly encouraged that the following information be included:
  1. Name(s) and contact information of the reporter(s), unless reporting anonymously.
  2. Name(s) of the individual(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct.
  3. Type of misconduct alleged.
  4. Approximate date(s) the misconduct was committed.
  5. How the complainant(s) acquired the knowledge of the alleged misconduct.
  6. Names of other individuals who might have information regarding the alleged misconduct.
  7. Summary statement of the reasons to believe that misconduct has occurred.

 
4. HOW REPORTS ARE HANDLED


Suspicions or Allegations of Child Physical or Sexual Abuse
Reporting to Law Enforcement and/or Child Protective Services
An independent investigation can harm youth and/or interfere with the legal investigative process.  Accordingly, USA Cycling, its affiliates, and its administrators and/or volunteers shall not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of child physical or sexual abuse as a condition for or prior to reporting to appropriate law enforcement authorities.  As necessary, however, a person receiving a report may ask a few clarifying questions of the minor or the person making the report to adequately report the suspicion or allegation to law enforcement authorities.


Additionally, most states have mandatory reporting laws making persons holding certain positions required by law to report suspicions of sexual or physical abuse of a minor.  This link will assist you in understanding your state’s mandatory reporting laws.

Other Misconduct and Policy Violations
When an emotional, physical or sexual misconduct allegation is not reportable under relevant state or federal law, USA Cycling shall internally address and investigate those alleged policy violations and misconduct, and impose discipline where appropriate.

Likewise, violations of the policies within the APP shall be reported to USA Cycling to investigate, address, rectify and impose discipline where appropriate.
 

5. NOTIFICATION


Following notice of a credible allegation that results in the removal of an employee or member, USA Cycling may notify parents of other participants with whom the accused individual may have had contact.  As appropriate, USA Cycling may notify its staff, members, volunteers, parents, and/or participants of any allegation of child physical or sexual abuse or other criminal behavior that (1) law enforcement authorities are actively investigating; or (2) that is being investigated internally by USA Cycling.  Advising others of an allegation (1) should prevent the accused from participating in cycling without USA Cycling’s knowledge and (2) could lead to additional reports of child physical or sexual abuse and other misconduct.


This Article Published December 2, 2013 For more information contact:
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