Sharing by CEO of US Center for Safe Sport
At the recent Global Coach Conference hosted by CoachSG at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay, held from 30 November 2023 to 3 December 2023, the Safe Sport team was honoured to have Ms Ju’Riese Colon, the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Centre for SafeSport (“Centre”), as one of its invited guests. Ms Colon gave a talk on Friday, 1 December 2023 on her experience of the position she has held since July 2019.
The attendees consisted of the Safe Sport Disciplinary Panel, Safe Sport Commission and the Safe Support Network. Ms Colon shared how the Center, which was established in 2017, is independent, has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and decide on matters of physical, emotional and sexual, abuse and misconduct, within the parameters of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movement.
Ms Colon further spoke of the focus areas of the Center, which include, accountability in terms of individual and organisation, prevention and education, as well as the Center’s vision. To date, more than 17,000 reports of abuse have been made to the Center. While the Center’s investigations team has increased by four times since it was established, Ms Colon spoke of the struggles the team faces with the ever-growing number of reports.
Focus was also drawn to the Center’s disciplinary database, which is a resource designed to keep the public informed of individuals (connected with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements) who have either been subjected to temporary restrictions, pending investigation by the Center, or are subjected to sanctions after investigations have found them to be in violation of the Center's Safe Sport Code. Eligibility decisions made by the NGB, their Local Affiliated Organizations (LAO), or the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), including those rendered prior to the establishment of the Center, can also be found on the database.
Ms Colon spoke of the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (“Act”), which is a law in U.S.A that establishes protection for young athletes. This Act established the Center the U.S.’s safe sport organization which gave it scope and authority to resolve reports for more than 11 million individuals throughout the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement. The Act also directed the Center to develop and enforce policies, procedures, and training to prevent abuse and misconduct. The Centre’s SafeSport Code governs all participants in the Movement, and its oversight authority aids in ensuring that all Olympic & Paralympic NGBs adhere to Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) that support athlete safety.
Guests got a chance to interact with Ms Colon over finger food and drinks during the networking session, which was held after the talk. The Safe Sport team was happy to arrange this opportunity with Ms Colon as feedback received from the guests was that it was an extremely informative session on how the Centre operates and its challenges faced.