Athlete Protection Policy
In the event that any staff member or volunteer observes inappropriate behaviors (i.e., policy violations), suspected physical or sexual abuse, or misconduct, it is the personal responsibility of each staff member and volunteer to immediately report his or her observations to an immediate supervisor, a Clinton Rowing administrator or a member of Clinton Rowing’s Board of Directors or Participant Safety Committee.
Clinton Rowing 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.
Staff members and volunteers should not attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of child physical or sexual abuse allegations as a condition for reporting to appropriate law enforcement authorities. Instead, it is the responsibility of each staff member and volunteers to immediately report suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse to an immediate Clinton Rowing supervisor, Clinton Rowing administrator or a member of the Clinton Rowing Participant Safety Committee. Complaints and allegations will be addressed under Clinton Rowing's Disciplinary Rules and Procedure.
Clinton Rowing recognizes 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.
This policy applies to:
- Staff Members (Paid or Volunteer)
- All Coaches
- Program Volunteers
- Any individual who is in direct contact with or a position of authority with participants
- Program Parents
- Athletes and
Staff members, volunteers, athletes and participants shall refrain from all forms of prohibited conduct, which include:
- 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
- Bullying does not include group or team behaviors that (a) are meant to establish normative team behaviors, or (b) promote team cohesion.
- For example, bullying does not include verbal admonitions to encourage team members to train harder and to push through a difficult training regimen.
Examples of bullying prohibited by this Policy include, without limitation:
- Physical behaviors.
- hitting, pushing, punching, beating, biting, striking, kicking, choking, or slapping an athlete;
- throwing at, or hitting an athlete with, objects such as sporting equipment.
- Verbal and emotional behaviors.
- teasing, ridiculing, intimidating;
- spreading rumors or making false statements; or
- using electronic communications, social media, or other technology to harass, frighten, intimidate or humiliate (“cyber bulling”).
- A repeated pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that
- are intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance,
- offend or degrade,
- create a hostile environment or
- 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
Examples of harassment prohibited by this Policy include, without limitation:
- Physical offenses. Behaviors that include
- hitting, pushing, punching, beating, biting, striking, kicking, choking or slapping an athlete or participant;
- throwing at or hitting an athlete with objects including sporting equipment.
- Non-physical offenses. Behaviors that include
- making negative or disparaging comments about an athlete’s sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, religion, skin color, or ethnic traits;
- displaying offensive materials, gestures, or symbols;
- withholding or reducing playing time to an athlete based on his or her sexual orientation.
- Coercing, requiring, forcing or willfully tolerating any humiliating, unwelcome or dangerous activity that serves as a condition for
- joining a group or
- being socially accepted by a group’s members; or
- Any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law
Hazing does not include group or team activities that (a) are meant to establish normative team behaviors or (b) promote team cohesion.
Examples of hazing prohibited by this Policy include, without limitation:
- Requiring or forcing the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Tying, taping or otherwise physically restraining an athlete
- Sexual simulations or sexual acts of any nature
- Sleep deprivation, otherwise unnecessary schedule disruption or the withholding of water and/or food
- Social actions (e.g. grossly inappropriate or provocative clothing) or public displays (e.g. public nudity) that are illegal or meant to draw ridicule
- Beating, paddling or other forms of physical assault
- Excessive training requirements focused on individuals on a team
NOTE: Activities that fit the definition of hazing are considered to be hazing regardless of an athlete’s willingness to cooperate or participate.
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
- Acts that deny attention or support
Any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g. child abuse, child neglect).
Emotional misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, discipline or improving athletic performance.
Examples of emotional misconduct prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:
- Verbal Acts. A pattern of verbal behaviors that (a) attack an athlete personally (e.g., calling them worthless, fat or disgusting) or (b) repeatedly and excessively yelling at a particular participant or participants in a manner that serves no productive training or motivational purpose.
- Physical Acts. A pattern of physically aggressive behaviors, such as (a) throwing sport equipment, water bottles or chairs at, or in the presence of, participants; or (b) punching walls, windows or other objects.
- Acts that Deny Attention and Support. A pattern of (a) ignoring an athlete for extended periods of time or (b) routinely or arbitrarily excluding participants from practice.
Note: Bullying, harassment, and hazing often involve some form of emotional misconduct.
- Contact or non-contact conduct that results in, or reasonably threaten to, cause physical harm to an athlete or other sport participants;
- Any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g. child abuse, child neglect, assault).
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.
Examples of physical misconduct prohibited by this Policy include, without limitation:
- Contact offenses. Behaviors that include:
- Punching, beating, biting, striking, choking or slapping an athlete;
- Intentionally hitting an athlete with objects or sporting equipment;
- Providing alcohol to an athlete under the legal drinking age (under U.S. law);
- Providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications to any athlete;
- Encouraging or permitting an athlete to return to play pre-maturely following a serious injury (e.g., a concussion) and without the clearance of a medical professional;
- Prescribing dieting or other weight-control methods (e.g., weigh-ins, caliper tests) without regard for the nutritional well being/ health of athlete.
- Non-contact offenses. Behaviors that include:
- Isolating an athlete in a confined space (e.g., locking an athlete in a small space);
- Forcing an athlete to assume a painful stance or position for no athletic purpose (e.g. requiring an athlete to kneel on a harmful surface);
- Withholding, recommending against or denying adequate hydration, nutrition, medical attention or sleep.
Note: Bullying, harassment and hazing often involve some form of physical misconduct.
Any touching or non-touching sexual interaction that is (a) nonconsensual or forced, (b) coerced or manipulated, or (c) perpetrated in an aggressive, harassing, exploitative or threatening manner;
Any sexual interaction between an athlete and an individual with evaluative, direct or indirect authority. Such relationships involve an imbalance of power and are likely to impair judgment or be exploitative; or
Any act or conduct described as sexual abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, rape)
Exception. This section does not apply to a pre-existing relationship between two spouses or life partners.
Types of sexual misconduct include:
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual harassment,
- Sexual abuse, or
- Any other sexual intimacies that exploit an athlete.
Minors cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult, and all sexual interaction between an adult and a minor is strictly prohibited.
Examples of sexual misconduct prohibited under this Policy include, without limitation:
- Touching offenses are behaviors that include:
- Fondling an athlete’s breasts or buttocks
- Exchange of reward in sport (e.g., team placement, scores, feedback) for sexual favors
- Genital contact
- Sexual relations or intimacies between persons in a position of trust, authority and/or evaluative and supervisory control over athletes or other sport participants.
- Non-Touching offenses are behaviors that include:
- A coach discussing his or her # life with an athlete
- A coach asking an athlete about his or her # life
- Coach requesting or sending a nude or partial-dress photo to athlete
- Exposing athletes to pornographic material
- Sending athletes sexually explicit or suggestive electronic or written messages or photos (e.g. “sexting”)
- Deliberately exposing an athlete to sexual acts
- Deliberately exposing an athlete to nudity (except in situations where locker rooms and changing areas are shared)
- Sexual harassment; specifically, the sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, and
- Is unwelcome, offensive or creates a hostile environment, and the offending individual knows or is told this
- Is sufficiently severe or intense to be harassing to a reasonable person in the context.
Child Sexual Abuse
- Any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual contact with a child that is accomplished by deception, manipulation, force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual interactions between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity.
- Note concerning peer-to-peer child sexual abuse: Sexual contact between minors also can be abusive. 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 and/or intellectual capabilities.
- Any act or conduct described as child sexual abuse under federal or state law.
Sexually abusive acts may include physical sexual contact; sexual touching or non-contact sexual acts such as verbal acts, sexually suggestive electronic or written communications, exposure or voyeurism.
An imbalance of power is always assumed between a coach and an athlete.
- Authority and Trust. Once the unique coach-athlete relationship is established, the authority and trust on the part of the coach over the athlete shall be assumed, regardless of age. Accordingly, sexual interaction or intimacies between a coach and an athlete or other participant are prohibited, regardless of age, both during coaching and during that period following coaching if an imbalance in power could jeopardize effective decision-making.
- Imbalance of Power. Factors relevant to determining whether there is an imbalance of power include, but are not limited to:
- the nature and extent of the coach’s supervisory, evaluative or other authority over the athlete being coached;
- the actual relationship between the parties;
- the parties’ respective roles;
- the nature and duration of the sexual relations or intimacies;
- the age of the coach;
- the age of the athlete or participant;
- and whether the coach has engaged in a pattern of sexual interaction with other athletes or participants.
It is a violation of this Athlete Protection Policy if a staff member and/or volunteer knows of misconduct, but takes no action to intervene on behalf of the athlete(s), participant(s), staff member, and/or volunteer.
Although these policies are designed to reduce child sexual abuse and other misconduct, it can still occur. Staff members, volunteers and participants of Clinton Rowing shall follow the reporting procedures set forth in the Clinton Rowing Safety Committee Reporting Policy.
Clinton Rowing 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 of reporting suspicions or allegations to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Violations of the Athlete Protection Policy shall be reported pursuant to our Reporting Policy and will be addressed under our Disciplinary Rules and Procedure.