HRRC Supports SafeSport
We applaud USRowing and the United States Olympic Committee SafeSport campaign “… aimed at raising awareness, stopping child abuse in sport and creating a safe culture in sports programs across the country.”
- Training and Education
Training and Education
Our policies and procedures require coaches and members to report abuse, misconduct and violations of its member safety standards. Misconduct in sport includes: bullying, harassment, hazing, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, and sexual misconduct.
- Applicant Screening
New coaches must consent to, and pass, a formal applicant screening process before performing services for HRRC.
Elements of our screening process include successful completion of an application, interview, reference check and criminal background check.
Appropriate staff will interview applicants whose experience and credentials are considered a fit for available positions. During this interview, HRRC will ask questions to encourage discussion, clarify responses and expand on the applicant’s answers to questions from the written application.
References of applicants will be contacted (either by phone or in writing) and asked specific questions regarding the applicant’s professional experiences, demeanor and appropriateness for involvement with minor athletes and participants.
Each applicant will also provide a signed release, consistent with federal, state and local laws regulating employment practices, that allows references to speak freely about the applicant’s qualifications without fear of reprisal and authorizing HRRC to obtain information concerning an applicant’s past employment, volunteer experience and information provided by the applicant during the screening process (i.e., written application and personal interview).
Criminal Background Check Policy
All applicants will be asked to undergo a criminal background check that complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act before providing services for HRRC. Through this criminal background check, HRRC will utilize reasonable efforts to ascertain past criminal history of an applicant.
- Athlete Protection Policy
Athlete Protection Policy
Commitment to Safety
In the event that any member or coach observes inappropriate behaviors (i.e., policy violations), suspected physical or sexual abuse, or misconduct, it is the personal responsibility of each coach or member to immediately report his or her observations to a HRRC officer or board member.
Members should not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of the misconduct. Complaints and allegations will be addressed by the HRRC board. We recognize that the process for training and motivating athletes will vary with each coach and athlete, but it is nevertheless important for everyone involved in sport to support the use of motivational and training methods that avoid misconduct.
HRRC is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free of misconduct. Club members, coaching staff, and athletes shall refrain from all forms of misconduct, which include bullying, harassment, hazing, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, and sexual misconduct.
HRRC defines emotional misconduct as a pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to an athlete. Non-contact behaviors include: verbal acts, physical acts, and/or acts that deny attention or support. Any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law will also not be tolerated.
Emotional misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, discipline or improving athletic performance.
HRRC defines physical misconduct as contact or non-contact conduct that results in, or reasonably threaten to, cause physical harm to an athlete or other sport participants; or any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law.
Physical misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athlete performance. For example, hitting, punching, and kicking are well-regulated forms of contact in combat sports, but have no place in swimming.
Note: Bullying, harassment and hazing, defined below, often involve some form of physical misconduct.
Bullying ia an intentional, persistent and repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical and non-physical behaviors that are intended, or have the reasonable potential, to cause fear, humiliation or physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish or isolate the targeted athlete(s), as a condition of membership. Any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law will also not be tolerated.
Bullying does not include group or team behaviors that (a) are meant to establish normative team behaviors, or (b) promote team cohesion.
A repeated pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (a) are intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance, (b) offend or degrade, (c) create a hostile environment or (d) reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression or mental or physical disability; or any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law is will not be tolerated.
Willfully Tolerating Misconduct
It is a violation of this Athlete Protection Policy if any member or coach knows of misconduct, but takes no action to intervene on behalf of the athlete(s), member, or coach.
Every HRRC member and/or coach must report violations of the guidelines, misconduct as defined in this Athlete Protection Policy, and suspicions or allegations of sexual abuse.
As a matter of policy, HRRC does not investigate suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of such allegations as a condition for reporting to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Violations of the Athlete Protection Policy shall be reported pursuant to our Reporting Procedures and will be addressed under our Disciplinary Rules and Procedure.
Travel will be a standard aspect of our competitive season and HRRC has established policies to guide our travel, minimize one-on-one interactions and reduce the risk of misconduct. Adherence to these travel guidelines will increase athlete safety and improve the competitive experience while keeping travel a fun and enjoyable experience.
Team travel is overnight travel that occurs when HRRC sponsors, coordinates or arranges for travel so that our teams can compete locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. Because of the greater distances, coaches will often travel with the athletes. However, no coach or club member will engage in team travel without the proper safety requirements in place, including valid drivers’ licenses, proper insurance, well-maintained vehicles and compliance with all state laws.
- Reporting Policy
Every HRRC member and/or coach must report:
1. violations of the guidelines,
2. misconduct as defined in this Athlete Protection Policy, and
3. suspicions or allegations of sexual abuse.
HRRC does not investigate suspicions or allegations of sexual abuse, or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of such allegations, as a condition of reporting suspicions or allegations to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
To Whom to Report
Members and coaches may report to club officers, club board members, and where applicable, appropriate law enforcement authorities.
How to Report
HRRC will take a report in the way that is most comfortable for the person initiating a report including an anonymous, in-person, verbal or written report. Regardless of how you choose to report, it is helpful to HRRC for individuals to provide, at a minimum, (1) the name of the complainant(s); (2) the type of misconduct alleged and the name(s) of the individual(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct.
Confidentiality, Anonymous Reporting, and Bad-faith Allegations
To the extent permitted by law, and as appropriate, HRRC 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 physical and sexual abuse to the authorities.
HRRC recognizes it can be difficult for an athlete, teammate, friend or family member to report an allegation of misconduct and strives to remove as many barriers to reporting as possible. Anonymous reports may be made without the formality of completing an Incident Report Form:
• by completing the Reporting Form without including their name
• by expressing concerns verbally, electronically, or in writing to a HRRC board member
However, anonymous reporting may make it difficult for HRRC to investigate or properly address allegations.
Regardless of outcome, HRRC will support the complainant(s) and his or her right to express concerns in good faith. HRRC will not encourage, allow or tolerate attempts from any individual 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 our Participant Safety Handbook and grounds for disciplinary action.
A report of abuse, misconduct or policy violations that is malicious, frivolous or made in bad faith is prohibited. Such reports will be considered a violation of our Participant Safety Handbook 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.
How Reports are Handled
Misconduct and Policy Violations
HRRC addresses internally alleged policy violations and misconduct – bullying, harassment, hazing, emotional, physical and sexual – that are not reportable under relevant state or federal law. Members and coaches must report policy violations and misconduct to an officer or board member.
Following HRRC’s notice of a credible allegation that results in the removal of a coach or member, HRRC may consider the circumstances in which it will notify other athletes with whom the accused individual may have had contact. At HRRC’s discretion, as appropriate, and after consultation with counsel, HRRC may notify its coaches, members, volunteers, and/or athletes of any allegation of abuse or other criminal behavior that (1) law enforcement authorities are actively investigating; or (2) that HRRC is investigating internally. Advising others of an allegation may lead to additional reports of abuse and other misconduct.
- Disciplinary Rules and Procedure
Disciplinary Rules and Procedure
While HRRC endeavors to provide support and guidance to participants on a day-to-day basis, it is also important for HRRC to have a formal procedure for disciplinary action to address alleged violations of its policies and other inappropriate behaviors.
HRRC recognizes that there are varying levels of misconduct. For example, physical and sexual misconduct are serious violations that may result in immediate dismissal. Less serious misconduct might be dealt with more appropriately through dialogue and a verbal warning. In all cases, HRRC’s disciplinary procedures and actions will be proportionate, reasonable and applied fairly and equally.
On receipt of an allegation, HRRC will determine in its discretion the appropriate steps to address the conduct based on several factors, including the nature, scope, and extent of the allegations.
HRRC’s disciplinary response will depend on the nature and seriousness of the incident and in extreme cases, misconduct will result in immediate summary dismissal.
Sanctions for violations of our guidelines will be proportionate and reasonable under the circumstances. In addition to day-to-day guidance, HRRC may take the following disciplinary actions, without limitation:
- Provide the individual with guidance, redirection and instruction
- Temporary suspension from competition
- File a formal incident report
- Issue a verbal warning
- Issue a written and/or final written warning
- Implement a limited access agreement
- Engage in restorative practices, i.e., creation of a respectful and safe dialogue when a misunderstanding or harm has occurred
- Suspend or terminate employment or membership
Regardless of outcome, HRRC will support the complainant(s) and his or her right to express concerns in good faith. HRRC will not encourage or tolerate attempts to retaliate, punish or in any way harm any individual(s) who report(s) a concern in good faith. Such actions will be grounds for disciplinary action.
For more information on the SafeSport campaign, please visit the SafeSport.org website.