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Following the establishment of Public Law 115-126 Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (the “SafeSport Act”), as well as U.S. Soccer Federation Policy 212-3, WYSA has implemented the Athlete and Participant Safety Program.
WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Program
The program includes six key components:
1. Background Screening Policy
2. Mandatory Reporting Policy
3. Training and Education Policy
4. Prohibited Conduct Policy
5. Policy to Limit One-on-One Interactions
6. Policy on Monitoring and Enforcement
Please pay close attention to each section of the program. The policies and procedures that have been adopted are intended to help participants detect and report abuse, respond to it, and prevent future occurrences.
The WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Program uses the term “Covered Personnel” to refer to those adults (aged 18 and older) to whom the policies apply. Covered Personnel are required to follow all policies included in WYSA’s Athlete and Participant Safety Program. Covered Personnel include adult individuals (aged 18 and over) who are authorized directly by WYSA or indirectly by a member organization that is directly affiliated with WYSA to have:
a) Routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor;
b) Authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor;
c) Authority over those adults who have routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor.
- WYSA employees and individuals WYSA formally authorizes, approves, or appoints to (a) serve in a position over or (b) have regular contact with athletes.
- Coaches, assistant coaches, or personal care assistants who are funded, have a contractual obligation with, or are credentialed by WYSA or otherwise have regular contact with WYSA athletes. All other individuals listed in the WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Policy as “Covered Personnel”.
- All athletes and alternates, training partners and guides 18 years of age or older who are selected to participate in WYSA Events. Individuals referenced in this subsection shall have 45 days after reaching the age of majority (18 years of age), to come into compliance with this background check policy. A “WYSA Event” is any WYSA sanctioned activity.
- Individuals who have regular contact with athletes at WYSA Training Sites. A “WYSA Site” is any facility/location that is formally affiliated with WYSA and used by WYSA or its athletes for competitions an/or training, recovery, coaching purposes.
- Other individuals who have regular contact with athletes, or who have one-on-one access, as determined by WYSA, in its discretion.
“Routine and/or regular contact” with an amateur athlete who is a minor is defined as recurring, repeated, or periodic contact between an adult and a minor.
“Authority over those adults who have routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor” is defined as supervisory or decision-making authority over an adult who has recurring, repeated, or periodic contact with minors.
Every Covered Personnel must complete a Risk Management Disclosure (authorizing a background check), every two years through WYSA’s online risk management system. In addition to the background screening, all Covered Personnel must complete an annual SafeSport Certification to meet the “SafeSport Trained” requirement. An approved background check, SafeSport Certification, and Concussion training is mandatory to obtain a WYSA issued Pass Card. (Additionally, team approval in the State Registration system is contingent upon coaches’ compliance with the Background Screening, and Training & Education Policies.). Clubs are responsible for ensuring that individuals who received a state issued pass card prior to the effective date of this policy have successfully completed the Core SafeSport training.
Participant Training for Minors
In addition to covered personnel, WYSA is also obligated to offer training to minor participants. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has released five training modules focused on Youth Athlete Training on safesoccer.com. The modules are age-based: Preschool, School-Aged, Middle School, and High School Aged Adolescents, and are anywhere from 10-20 minutes in length. A parent/guardian must first create an account in order to give consent for their child to access the training as well as select the appropriate module for their child’s age. It is not necessary for us (WYSA or Clubs) to track participation of minor athletes in the training, however we do need to document the offering.
Per the SafeSport Act, the definition of mandatory reporter now includes 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.”
In accordance with federal legislation, it is WYSA’s Mandatory Reporting Policy that all Covered Personnel shall be considered mandatory reporters for cases of suspected child abuse. Individuals who may not be considered “Covered Personnel” under WYSA’s Athlete and Participant Safety Program may nonetheless have an obligation to report suspected child abuse under applicable federal or state law. Therefore, WYSA urges all individuals to act to report suspected child abuse.
In the event the reporting obligation is triggered, a report must be made, within 24 hours, to appropriate law enforcement authorities, as governed by applicable federal and state law. Should the mandatory reporter require assistance making a report to the appropriate law enforcement authority, he or she should consult with the WYSA State Office.
A report to law enforcement may be made anonymously. There is no fee or cost associated with making a report.
In addition to the obligation to report cases of suspected child abuse to law enforcement pursuant to the SafeSport Act, Covered Personnel must also make a report to the WYSA State Office.
Without limiting the foregoing, it is also WYSA’s Mandatory Reporting Policy that Covered Personnel must report any suspected violation of the WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Program to the WYSA Executive Director. Furthermore, WYSA prohibits retaliation against individuals making good faith reports of any suspected violation of the WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Program. The SafeSport Act also includes qualified immunity for good faith reports.
Importantly, civil or criminal statutes of limitations do not affect or negate the obligation of a Covered Personnel to report possible sexual misconduct. Misconduct should be reported, regardless of when it occurred.
Please read WYSA Athlete and Participant Safety Program for full Mandatory Reporting Policy