In a continuing effort to make participant protection central to the mission of our organization, the WGI Board of Directors today announced an additional requirement for groups active in any WGI events to have effective internal policies and procedures for the protection and safety of its participants.
This step is the latest in a continuing multi-layered strategy to prevent, identify, and respond to misconduct. In partnership with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, Participant Abuse Prevention Policy (PAPP) Requirements were adopted recently by the board of directors as best practices for WGI and all groups participating in events and activities. Scholastic groups can fulfill this requirement by existing policies of a school district or educational institution; however, if the school district or education institution does not have such policies in place, the scholastic group must comply with the WGI requirement similar to independent groups.
The WGI Participant Abuse Prevention Policy (PAPP) Requirements include four subjects with required model policies that participating groups must incorporate into their organization’s internal policies and practices for adults in regular contact with or authority over participants:
- One-On-One Interactions
- Locker Rooms and Changing Areas
- Social Media and Electronic Communications
Evolution of WGI’s Participant Protection Policy
Participant protection continues to be a primary focus for the board of directors by a comprehensive approach of training and required policies for all groups. Three years ago, a strengthened WGI Code of Conduct and Reporting Policy was launched.
In 2019, required national criminal background checks were the next step in developing a broad approach to internal policies for WGI employees, contractors, and volunteers, and all groups active in our activities. That same year, a strategic partnership was launched with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, focusing on training and developing policies to safeguard those participating in WGI from bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional and sexual abuse. WGI is the first marching arts organization and one of the first outside the Olympic movement to align with this organization to emphasize participant protection outlined in the WGI Code of Conduct.
Last month WGI announced required abuse prevention training as a prerequisite for all adults who have regular contact with or authority over participants.
About the U.S. Center for SafeSport
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport through abuse prevention, education, and accountability.
The Center opened its doors in Denver, Colorado, in March 2017, and soon after became federally authorized under the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (which became Public Law No: 115-126 on February 14, 2018). The law entrusts the Center as the exclusive authority to respond to reports of allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct within the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their recognized National Governing Bodies (NGBs).
The Center is a trusted educational resource for all sports entities, from grassroots amateur sports organizations to professional leagues.