Workshop: How to Create and Update your SafeSport Policy

summarized by David DeWinter
YouTube player



Cynthia Mejia Colin – Training Manager, US Center for SafeSport
Pamela Adler – Director of Talent, Operations & SafeSport, USRowing

The 3-Sentence Summary

Unfortunately, youth sports can create opportunities for physical, emotional, sexual abuse of children, so SafeSport policies are in place to educate and guide adults, youth athletes, and parents on how best to prevent and respond to abuse. The US Center for Safe Sport has changed some parts of its Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) in 2021, and USRowing has now published its updated requirements for its member organizations to follow these policies. Organizations are required to offer training to their athletes, employees, and parents; adopt required MAAPP policies; outline the reporting procedure for violations; and investigate and resolve these reports.



0:29 Introductions

1:44 Goal: cover what SafeSport policies contain, specifically in MAAPPs and the revisions that came in 2021.

2:46 The US Center for SafeSport is a separate entity responsible for responding to and preventing sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in the US Olympic and Paralympic movement. Funding comes from the USOPC. Focus:

  • Response and Resolutions: Responds to reports of abuse/misconduct. Maintains list of individuals sanctioned from participating.
  • Compliance to athlete safety policies
  • Training and education.

“Every athlete will be safe, supported, and strengthened through sport.”

6:49 Differences between US Center for SafeSport and USRowing SafeSport:

  • Sexual misconduct reported to US Center for SafeSport
  • Other forms of misconduct are handled at local level; USRowing is a backup

Policy Update

7:22 New USRowing Safe Sport policy rolling out Jan 1, 2022 in response to MAAPP changes:

  • Dual Relationship Exception: when a child and an In-Program Contact have a pre-existing relationship outside of the team
  • Partial or Full Jurisdiction: Policies apply to everything related to USRowing, including activity at or near USRowing events.
  • Personal Care Assistant/Regular Contact: New definitions.

Safe Sport Policies

9:13 Two guiding documents.

1) SafeSport Code: guides the response and resolutions process

  • Defines who has jurisdiction where
  • Defines prohibited conduct
  • Outlines mandatory reporting process
  • Outlines procedures for resolution

12:12 2) Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) define the parameters of appropriate and inappropriate one-on-one communication.

13:06 Why have these policies?

  • Sports environments are high-risk for abuse due to one-on-one interactions and activities where minors are unsupervised. One-on-one interactions can be beneficial for athlete development, but we want to make sure both coach and athlete are protected.
  • Abuse can happen virtually
  • Peer abuse often occurs when minors are unsupervised

Changes for 2022

17:34 Top 8 Changes to the MAAPP for 2022

  • Regular Contact: having ongoing interactions during a 12-month period where an adult participant is in a role of direct and active engagement with any minor athlete.
  • Organization vs Individual Requirements (Creating clarity)
  • Consistency e.g. timeframes for consent (every year), similar terminology
  • Personal Care Assistant Exceptions for para sports
  • Dual Relationship Exception
  • Close-in-Age Exceptions
  • In-Program contact: clarifies that Safe Sport policies apply to all contact related to the program, not just in organization facilities
  • Increased Resources (consent forms, MAAPP Manuals)

Requirements for MAAPP

23:22 MAAPP Mandatory Sections:

  • Education & Training Policy: Adult requirements for training
  • Organizational Requirements for Education and Training and Prevention Policies
  • Required Prevention Policies for One-on-One Interactions

27:00 All adult rowers need to take SafeSport training: either as a coach/administrator/board member/employee or as an athlete.

27:49 Training at SafeSportTrained.org: see presentation for detailed instructions on how to sign in.

28:51 Organizations are required to…

  1. Identify who needs training and offer it.
  2. Offer minor athlete and parent training annually.
  3. Adopt Required Prevention Policies
  4. Have a reporting mechanism for MAAPP violations
  5. Investigate and resolve reports

30:55 MAAPPs now apply to In-Program Contact: when an adult participant and a minor athlete are interacting in some activity related to sport.

34:36 Access to Internet and English-only training are barriers for some community rowing programs. What alternatives exist?

Some training is available in Spanish; we are in process of upgrading MAAPP training to Spanish. COVID has restricted us from doing in-person training. Keep an eye out for training info in newsletters from USRowing.

35:59 Required Policies:

  • One-on-one interactions: observable and interruptible
  • Meeting and Training Sessions
  • Athletic Training Modalities: Massages and Rubdowns
  • Locker Rooms and Changing Areas
  • Electronic Communications: open and transparent. Aim to always have another adult on the communicated thread, even if the athlete only reached out to you directly. Professional only.
  • Transportation
  • Lodging

More detailed MAAPP policy info

USRowing Policy Templates

42:47 USRowing has a template to create your own policy.

Other MAAPP resources are available here.

44:29 Speaker contact info


44:58 Does SafeSport jurisdiction extend to events outside the US?

Yes. SafeSport covers youth abuse in anything related to USRowing, regardless of location.

46:41 Is there training specifically for junior athletes?

No MAAPP training for junior athletes, but there is SafeSport training for minors.

48:03 Is the volunteer training live yet?

No. Target is spring 2022. Parent training is similar and available today.

49:22 Advice on locker room monitoring?

Assign a volunteer or staff event person to monitor. That could mean standing outside the locker room. If you do locker room checks, make sure another adult is present. Make sure athletes know there are no photos or recording allowed in locker rooms.

50:39 We’re looking more into specific youth training–we know that when youths are educated about abuse, they’re less likely to do it. We’re working to make our resources more accessible to different populations (different languages, screen readers, etc.)

52:56 USRowing will have a zero-cost volunteer membership so volunteers can access SafeSport training.

53:28 Do coaches who are public school employees trained under SafeSport need to do your training?

Right now, yes. We’re investigating making this easier.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

More to explore

Train Boat Movers This Winter

Coaches, athletes, it’s been too long! We’re starting 2024 off with a bang by upgrading RowHero in a major way. With these

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ready to be a rowhero?

Fill out the form below, and we'll be in touch within 24 hours on getting your team setup!