It is the policy of USA Hockey that every adult Participant of any USA Hockey Member Program must report (1) actual or perceived violations of the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook, (2) any violations of the Sexual Misconduct, Physical Misconduct, Emotional Misconduct, Bullying, Threats or Harassment, or Hazing Policies, and (3) suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse as set forth below.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse
Pursuant to the SafeSport Authorization Act, any adult that is authorized by USA Hockey, a member of USA Hockey, or any Member Program, to interact with a Minor or amateur athlete at a Facility or at any event sanctioned USA Hockey or a Member Program, is considered a mandatory reporter. If an Adult Participant reasonably suspects that an Incident(s) of Sexual Misconduct has occurred, they must immediately report the incident(s) to the USCSS and to applicable law enforcement authorities.
Any report of misconduct or suspicion of child physical or sexual abuse received by USA Hockey will be taken seriously and handled appropriately. If USA Hockey receives a report of physical or sexual misconduct involving a minor, USA Hockey will make a report to the proper authorities.
Further, in addition to any legal obligation to report Child Abuse or Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement authorities and the USCSS, all adult Participants are requested and strongly encouraged to promptly report any alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to USA Hockey so that USA Hockey is aware of the allegations and can take immediate action when appropriate. An adult Participant’s failure to report as set forth above may subject such person to disciplinary action by the USCSS and/or USA Hockey.
In some cases, an employee or volunteer may be hesitant about reporting suspected abuse because they are unsure about the credibility of the person making the allegation, are unsure about the credibility or validity of the facts on which the allegations are based, or are concerned about the potential consequences of a false report. It is critical that adult Participants and others considering reporting should not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of child physical or sexual abuse allegations as a condition for or prior to reporting their concerns.
Concerns About Potential “Grooming” Behaviors
Because sexual abusers “groom” children for abuse – the process used by offenders to select a child, to win thechild’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 sexual grooming behavior should be directed to USA Hockey, the Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator and/or appropriate law enforcement authorities, and if appropriate or required, to the USCSS.
USA Hockey also strongly encourages parents, players and other hockey Participants to communicate violations of the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook and/or allegations and suspicions of Child Abuse and Sexual Misconduct to USA Hockey or the Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator immediately.
Peer-to-Peer Sexual Abuse
Approximately 1/3 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 Hockey or the Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator immediately, and if appropriate or required, to the USCSS.
Reporting Other Misconduct and Policy Violations
If any staff member, volunteer or other Participant of USA Hockey, an Affiliate or Member Program receives an allegation or observes misconduct or other inappropriate behavior that may violate SafeSport Policies other than Sexual Misconduct or Child Abuse, reports of such allegations should be made immediately to USA Hockey as set forth below or to the applicable Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator. Reports that are required to be made to USA Hockey and/or the applicable Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator include allegations of violations of:
USA Hockey will address such reports as provided in this USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook and any requirements of the USCSS or applicable law.