Safe Sport Policy
SafeSport Policy and Participant Safety Handbook
Approved August 2022
AB CREW SAFE SPORT POLICY
AB Crew is an Organizational Member of US Rowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. All coaches, athletes, Board members and “Adult Participants” must join USRowing at usrowing.org before participating in any AB Crew activity. Our US Rowing Athlete Access Code is SDAQ9. Membership is free for volunteer Board members and other non-athlete volunteer Adult Participants.
The term “Adult Participants” means: any individual 18 years of age or older who is a Coach, Board member, athlete or has regular contact with or authority over AB Crew athletes. Certain exceptions may apply to Adult Participants who are athletes on the AB Crew Team who do not have authority over, and are not more than four years older than, minor athletes competing for AB Crew (e.g., athletes on the team who are under 20). Polices with which close-in-age Adult Participants are required to comply will expressly reference “athlete and non-athlete Adult Participants,” or may say “all athletes” or “all rowers and coxswains.” Adult Participants who do not fit within the close-in-age exception are referred to as “non-athlete Adult Participants.” The term “regular contact” includes non-athlete Adult Participants who chaperone overnight trips.
AB Crew has established policies and procedures to better assure all members of our rowing community are protected from instances of misconduct. The US Rowing SafeSport Policy specifically defines six areas of misconduct: Bullying, Hazing, Harassment (including sexual or gender harassment), Emotional Misconduct, Physical Misconduct, and Sexual Misconduct (including child sexual abuse and/or grooming behaviors). US Rowing’s definitions of prohibited conduct can be found in Part IV of their Safe Sport Manual.
AB Crew is also subject to the state law definition of hazing (see Appendix A).
In addition to misconduct as defined in the USRowing SafeSport policy, AB Crew defines prohibited conduct to include: (i) possession or use of tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances (including marijuana) at or in connection with any AB Crew activity or function; (ii) theft or vandalism at or in connection with any AB Crew activities, (iii) written, verbal or electronic expression that contains discriminatory content, creates a hostile environment between or among members of and participants in AB Crew, causes or threatens physical or emotional harm to an individual or a class of individuals, is motivated by bigotry or bias including, by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap or sexual orientation prejudice, or otherwise, in the discretion of the Board, impinges on, interferes with or disrupts the activities and participation of participants in, or tarnishes the reputation of, AB Crew.
AB Crew will not tolerate any participant (adult or minor) who engages in prohibited conduct. If, after investigation, any participant is found to have engaged in prohibited conduct, that participant may be subject to discipline, suspension or termination from AB Crew or, if appropriate or required by state law, referral to the state or local authorities for further consideration.
Our SafeSport policies will further include:
- Background Checks – All Coaches, Board members and other non-athlete Adult Participants who have regular contact with student athletes, if any, will undergo a National Center for Safety Initiative background check every two years. Registration for the NCSI background check can be found at: https://arlington-belmontcrew.quickapp.pro/positions.
- SafeSport Training – All athlete and non-athlete Adult Participants must complete the on-line SafeSport “core” training within 45 days of becoming a Coach, Board member or Adult Participant, followed by annual refresher courses (while they remain Adult Participants in AB Crew). Every four years, required Adult Participants are to retake the core training. You can access the SafeSport training site at: https://safesporttrained.org/#/public-dashboard.
- Minor athletes (with parental consent) and other adults involved in AB Crew who may not qualify as Adult Participants may also take training on the prevention and reporting of child abuse. If interested, the parent should contact the President (which term includes any Co-President) of AB Crew or one of the Coaches.
- Anti-Hazing Law (Mass.) – All athletes and all non-athlete Adult Participants must be familiar with the Massachusetts Hazing Law. The text of the statute is attached as Appendix A.
- MAAPP - All coaches, athletes, their parents/guardians, and all non-athlete Adult Participants must be familiar with AB Crew’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy attached as Appendix B, as well as the procedures we have adopted for reporting instances of misconduct, investigation, mediation, and hearings attached as Appendix C.
- Reporting – attached as Appendix C is AB Crew’s policies with respect to reporting suspected inappropriate or prohibited conduct.
While these policies will help AB Crew improve athlete safety, in no way can they guarantee athlete safety in all circumstances. These policies are not comprehensive of all prevention strategies, nor are they intended to be. They remain subject to periodic review and modification by the Board. We invite parents and athletes to contact any member of the Board with suggested changes or updates to the policies.
- Massachusetts Hazing Law Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Laws: Part IV: Title I: Chapter 269: Sections 17, 18, 19
Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term ''hazing'' as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
Section 18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
- Section 19: Copy of Secs. 17 to 19; issuance to students and student groups, teams and organizations; report
Section 19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution's compliance with this section's requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution's recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.
Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the board of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution's policies to its students. The board of higher education and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.
Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAP)
AB Crew is committed to creating and supporting an environment and a culture free from misconduct. The welfare of all individuals involved with our organization is paramount. Behavior and actions that constitute misconduct will not be tolerated.
In the event that one observes inappropriate or suspected behaviors such as bullying, hazing, harassment (including sexual harassment), stalking, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, and sexual misconduct (including child sexual abuse and/or grooming behaviors), it is the personal responsibility of each individual to immediately report their observations to the President or another member of the Board. Where possible and appropriate, everyone should be prepared to respond immediately to inappropriate or harmful behavior, potential risk situations and potential boundary violations by redirecting inappropriate behaviors to promote positive behaviors, confront inappropriate or harmful behaviors, and report behaviors when necessary.
This policy applies to Coaches, non-athlete Adult Participants, as well as all athletes. Policy violations, misconduct, hazing, discrimination and physical and sexual abuse must be reported consistent with the Reporting Policy as described in the attached appendix.
To access the complete US Rowing Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy, go to: https://uscenterforsafesport.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FINAL-2022-MAAPP-9.21.pdf.
Definitions of inappropriate conduct and harmful behaviors prohibited under the US Rowing MAAP policy (and by extension, the AB Crew MAAP Policy) can be found at: https://usrowing.org/documents/2021/11/18//FINAL_Rowing_MAAPP_111021_APPROVED.pdf?id=2800 (starting at p. 23).
Exceptions to the AB Crew MAAP policy must be approved by the Board. Current exceptions with respect to the meaning and scope of Adult Participant as used in this AB Crew MAAP policy are:
- A Close-in-Age Exception if a) the adult participant has no authority over the minor athlete; and b) the adult participant is not more than four years older than the minor athlete.
- Exceptions for dual relationships (e.g., parent/Adult Participant interacting with own minor child).
It is recommended parents take training on child abuse prevention before providing consent under these policies. A free parent course is available at www.athletesafety.org.
One-On-One Interactions – All one-on-one in-program contact between a non-athlete Adult Participant and an athlete must be observable and interruptible, except in emergency circumstances.
Meetings and Training Sessions – All non-athlete Adult Participants must follow the one-on-one interaction policy in all meetings and training sessions where athletes(s) are present. Individual training sessions must be observable and interruptible. Parents/guardians must be allowed to observe individual training sessions. Parents/guardians must provide consent for any one-on-one individual training sessions.
Massages and Rubdowns – AB Crew programs do not include massages and rubdowns (however, Coaches or an Adult Participant may apply first aid when necessary).
Areas Where Athletes Change Clothes – AB Crew does not have any locker rooms. However, in the event locker rooms or enclosed changing rooms or restrooms are made available:
- Non-athlete Adult Participants must ensure that all in-program contact with athlete(s) in a locker room, changing area, or similar space where athlete(s) are present is observable and interruptible.
- No Adult Participant or athlete can use the photographic or recording capabilities of any device in locker rooms, changing areas, or any other area designated as a place for changing clothes or undressing.
- Adult Participants and athletes must not change clothes or behave in a manner that intentionally or recklessly exposes their breasts, buttocks, groins, or genitals to an athlete.
- Non-athlete Adult Participants must not shower with athletes.
Social Media and Electronic Communications – All one-on-one electronic communications between a non-athlete Adult Participant and an athlete must be open and transparent; additionally, all such communications must be professional in nature and relevant to AB Crew activities, participation, practices, training or races.
- Open and transparent means that the non-athlete Adult Participant copies or includes on any communication the athlete’s parent/guardian, another adult family member of the athlete, or another Adult Participant.
- If an athlete communicates with the non-athlete Adult Participant first, the non-athlete Adult Participant must follow this policy for any reply(ies).
- Only platforms that allow for open and transparent communication may be used by non-athlete Adult Participants to communicate with athletes.
- Non-athlete Adult Participants are not permitted to maintain private social media connections with athletes.
- When a non-athlete Adult Participant communicates electronically to the entire team, squad or any number of athletes on the team, the non-athlete Adult Participant must copy or include on any such communication another Adult Participant or the athlete’s parents/guardians.
- A parent/guardian may request in writing that non-athlete Adult Participants not contact their child through any form of electronic communication. However, in those cases, AB Crew will require that the parent/guardian provide AB Crew with such parent/guardian’s contact information for any and all team-related electronic communications (e.g., practice schedules, races, cancellations, time changes, fundraisers, etc.) and you will be responsible for your child’s compliance with rules governing attendance at practices and races.
Transportation – A non-athlete Adult Participant cannot transport an athlete one-on-one during in-program travel except in case of emergency or unless accompanied by another Adult Participant or two other athletes.
Lodging – All in-program contact at a hotel or lodging site between a non-athlete Adult Participant and an athlete must be observable and interruptible, and a non-athlete Adult Participant cannot share a hotel room or otherwise sleep in the same room with an athlete(s) (other than a non-athlete Adult Participant that is a parent or guardian of the athlete).
- Parents/guardians must provide consent for all in-program lodging.
- If AB Crew performs room checks during in-program lodging, the one-on-one interaction policy must be followed and at least two Adult Participants must be present for the room checks.
Out-of-Program Contact – Non-athlete Adult Participants shall not have contact with athlete(s) without legal/parent guardian consent other than contact that is relevant or related to AB Crew activities, participation, practices, training or races (for clarification, permitted contact includes the summer learn to row program, sculling clinics and practices, and February vacation week activities overseen by a coach) and such contact should take place in locations that are observable and interruptible, except in emergency circumstances.
Gifting – Non-athlete Adult Participants may not give personal gifts or prizes to athlete(s) unless all eligible athletes have the same opportunity to earn the gift or prize and it serves a motivational, athletic achievement or educational purpose.
Photography/Video - Photographs or videos of athletes may only be taken in public view and must observe generally accepted standards of decency. Adult Participants should not publicly share or post photos or videos of athlete(s) if the Adult Participant or AB Crew has not obtained the Parent/Guardian and athlete’s consent (to clarify, AB Crew registration includes this consent).
Reporting Form and Process
You should report prohibited conduct of any member of the AB Crew community including, but not limited to, athletes, coaches, employees, volunteers, race officials and other Adult Participants to any member of the Board or a coach. Any report or complaint of misconduct is referred to in this policy as a report or complaint.
A report or complaint can be made in any way that is most comfortable for the person initiating the report including – written, oral, in-person, telephonically, by electronic mail or text. A complaint or report can be made anonymously. However, AB Crew encourages the reporting party to provide enough detail to allow for a proper investigation, if required. You do not have to be the target of the misconduct to report such suspected misconduct. Anyone witnessing or hearing about suspected misconduct should report it. As a convenience, a form of report is attached to this Appendix for use by any complainant. Use of this form is not required.
Upon receipt, reports or complaints will be initially provided to the President(s) (if a President is the subject of the report or complaint, it will be shared with the other co-President, if any, or if the co-President is also named in the report, it will be shared with the Treasurer or if also named, shared with at least one other member of the Board). In all cases, the report will not be shared outside of the Board until the subject of the report who was harmed by the alleged misconduct expressly chooses that the report become a formal complaint. However, if the Board member or coach receiving the report is required by applicable law or organization rules to report the complaint to local or state law enforcement, US Rowing or U.S. Center for SafeSport, then such Board member or coach receiving the report or complaint, , after consulting with the President(s) (one co-President if the other is conflicted, Treasurer if both co-Presidents are conflicted, or one other Board member if the Treasurer is conflicted), may report the incident accordingly.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the Board member or coach in receipt of the complaint, in consultation with the President(s) (one co-President if the other is conflicted, Treasurer if both co-Presidents are conflicted, or one other Board member if the Treasurer is conflicted), will determine if the complaint should be processed, remanded back to the reporter, or in the case of sexual misconduct or aggravated assault, submitted to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and local and/or state authorities, as required.
Complaints determined by the AB Crew Board will generally be of a lesser nature. They will not include sexual misconduct issues, issues involving a felony, or issues to be prosecuted under local or state laws. Sexual misconduct will be immediately referred to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. AB Crew will not investigate suspicions or allegations of physical or sexual misconduct, or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of such allegations other than to ask clarifying questions of the person making the report in order to adequately report the suspicions or allegations to law enforcement.
Investigation and Transparency
If AB Crew retains jurisdiction over a complaint, it will be investigated by one or more disinterested members of the Board or a Coach designated by the President (which could include the President) who does not have a conflict of interest with respect to that complaint. If a President has a conflict of interest with respect to the complaint, then the other co-President or, if both Presidents have a conflict, the Treasurer will designate one or more disinterested members of the Board or Coach (or both) to investigate the complaint, unless both Presidents and Treasurer have a conflict of interest, in which case a majority of disinterested members of the Board will designate one or more disinterested individuals (including themselves) to investigate allegations or suspicions made in the complaint. Investigation of a complaint shall include a review of relevant documents made available to the individuals investigating the complaint and interviews (or attempted interviews) with the complainant, the person(s) named in the complaint and other persons known to the investigators as having information related directly to the complaint.
The investigator(s) will prepare a written report, including any recommended penalties or proposed resolutions to the complaint and submit the written report to the disinterested members of the Board for their consideration and determination. Among the alternatives that the Board can consider with respect to a complaint are informal or formal mediation, termination or suspension from continued participation in or employment by AB Crew or other discipline of the individual(s) involved, in each case in the discretion of the majority of the disinterested members of the Board.
Upon receipt of a credible and specific allegation of misconduct or any other violation of the AB Crew MAAP Policy, and pending the outcome of any investigation (internal or external) AB Crew, by a vote of the majority of the disinterested members of the Board, may immediately suspend or terminate (with or without pay) the membership, participation or employment of the individual(s) named in a complaint as a means to ensure participant safety.
AB Crew will not encourage or tolerate attempts from any individual to retaliate, punish, or in any way harm any individual who reports a concern in good faith. Any allegation of misconduct under the AB Crew MAAP Policy that is determined to be frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise made in bad faith, will be considered a violation of the Policy itself. Such conduct may also be subject to criminal prosecution and/or civil proceedings.
Recommended SafeSport Reporting Form
AB Crew strongly encourages the reporting of misconduct. AB Crew appreciates your willingness to report inappropriate behavior.
Date of Submission:
Section I: This section is about the individual alleged to have acted inappropriately. Please provide as much information as possible.
- Name of individual you are reporting (First & Last):
- Age (or approximate age):
- Gender: ____________
- Address (City, State required): _________________________________
- Position(s) this individual holds or held (please circle all that apply) at AB Crew:
Coach / Assistant Coach / Volunteer / Racing Official / Board Member / Captain/ Rower/ Coxswain/ Other / Not Sure
Section II: This section asks questions about the incident or incidents you are reporting. Please provide as much specific information as you are able.
- What happened (i.e. describe what happened including who, what, when, where):
- 8. Where did the incident or incidents take place? (City, State and any other available location information):
Section III: This section is about the individuals harmed by the alleged inappropriate conduct. If you are the victim and wish to remain anonymous, you may do so. In that case, please enter only your age and club affiliation.
- 10. Name: _______________
- 11. Age (or approximate age): _______________
- 12. Club affiliation or position (if any): _______________
- 13. Contact phone number (Note, if this person is under 18, please provide contact information for parent or guardian): _______________
- 14. Contact e-mail address (Note, if this person is under 18, please provide contact information for parent or guardian): _______________
- 15. Gender: _______________
Section IV: Your Information (if reporting party is the victim, please state “same as above”)
You may remain anonymous if you wish. However, providing your information is vastly helpful to a swift and effective investigation. A person reporting alleged inappropriate conduct should not fear any retribution and/or consequences when filing a report in good faith (that is not frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise made in bad faith).
- 16. Name: ______________________________
- 17. Phone number (Note, if this person is under 18, please provide contact information for parent or guardian): ______________________________
- 18. E-mail address (Note, if this person is under 18, please provide contact information for parent or guardian): ______________________________
- 19. Club affiliation or position (if any): ______________________________
- 20. Relationship to victim (please circle all that apply): ______________________________
- Self Volunteer
- Parent/Guardian of victim Other or prefer not to say
- Parent/Guardian of another athlete Coach
- Other family member
- Friend or acquaintance
- Fellow athlete
Section V: Other Information
- If you have any other information that would be helpful to an investigation of the alleged or suspected misconduct you have reported, please enter it here: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________