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USA Swimming Holds Inaugural Safe Sport Leadership Conference

1/30/2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Swimming’s Inaugural Safe Sport Leadership Conference concluded Tuesday following a successful program of speakers and discussion related to abuse prevention in sport. More than 165 attendees, including representatives from 35 Local Swim Committees around the U.S., 20 National Governing Bodies, the United States Olympic Committee and other youth serving organizations, attended the three-day conference held at the Marriott in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The program featured six accomplished speakers, including Dr. Anna Salter, Dr. Sandra Kirby and Dr. Sandy Wurtele. The speakers discussed topics ranging from “Abuse in Sport: What Makes Athletes Vulnerable?” to “Creating a Culture of Safety.” Filmmaker Chris Gavagan delivered the keynote address Monday evening, speaking about his own abuse at the hands of his roller hockey coach.

“The Safe Sport Leadership Conference was a unique way to bring together other organizations, both in and outside of the Olympic movement, to talk about abuse prevention in sport,” said Susan Woessner, Director of Safe Sport at USA Swimming. “We are thrilled with the turnout we had at the conference and we are excited to continue the on-going dialogue about this important topic.”

The conference was structured in a way to first examine the scope of the issue – the incidence of child sexual abuse. From there, attendees took a closer look at the type of individuals that commit sexual abuse as well as what makes athletes vulnerable. Additional sessions focused on how to create a culture of safety and the conference concluded with a presentation from Anne Tiivas, the Director of the Child Protection in Sport Unit in the United Kingdom. Tiivas spoke to the crowd about ways to safeguard children in and through sport, looking at the past, present and future.

Two panel discussions were also held to engage with conference attendees and increase discussion on ways to spread awareness and grow Safe Sport programming throughout the country.

USA Swimming has developed one of the most comprehensive safe sport programs in Olympic Sport. Its abuse prevention initiative is rooted in six core areas: Policies & Guidelines, Screening & Selection, Training & Education, Monitoring & Supervision, Recognizing, Reporting & Responding, and Grassroots Engagement & Feedback. For more information about USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program, visit www.usaswimming.org/protect.