The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has announced the formation of an independent Advisory Council to guide the launch of the United States Center for Safe Sport.
The USOC's Board of Directors unanimously approved the creation of the US Center for Safe Sport, an independent entity that will oversee education programmes for safe sport, and investigate and adjudicate claims of misconduct in sports that are managed by USOC-sanctioned National Governing Bodies (NGBs).
The initiative is based on recommendations from the USOC's Safe Sport Working Group in June of last year.
The Advisory Council is charged with providing industry expertise to support and inform the US Center for Safe Sport during its start-up phase through to June of this year.
"There is no national agency today that is responsible for the safety and well-being of young athletes and we're in position to lead this important effort," said USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.
"The National Center for Safe Sport will help fill that vacuum by providing training and resources, promoting open dialogue and conducting investigations on a national level."
The Advisory Council's expertise includes a strong working knowledge of mandatory reporting laws, prevention policies, behavioural intervention, sexual assault and harassment, hazing prevention, investigation, athlete advocacy and outreach, and developing evidence-based models for addressing misconduct.
The Council will focus primarily on delivering an understanding of industry trends and best practices at the intersection of abuse and sport as well as reviewing and providing feedback concerning key operational documents, including complaint and investigation protocols, behavioural definitions, and policies and procedures.
It will also provide unbiased insight as an outside, third-party source.
The Board also approved $5.2 million (£3.4 million/€4.6 million) of funding for the new entity over a five-year period beginning in 2015.
Collectively, NGBs will match the USOC's contribution, providing $1.04 million (£680,000/€920,000) per year.
"One of the greatest challenges many NGBs face is limited resources and expertise to investigate claims of misconduct," said Malia Arrington, USOC director of ethics and safe sport.
"With this independent entity, we have the ability for the first time to provide that resource to them so we can create and sustain safe environments for young athletes."
The seven-member Council consists of external experts and industry leaders in abuse prevention, including Tony Foreman of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Angelo Giardino of the Texas Children's Hospital and W. Scott Lewis of the National Centre for Higher Risk Management Group.
The others members comprise of Laurie Nathan of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Stephanie Smith of the Child Protection Training Services, Katherine Starr of Safe4Athletes and Dr Jeffery Wilkins of Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.
Participation in the new entity will be a condition of continued membership in the USOC, consistent with the Working Group's original recommendation and as unanimously endorsed by the NGB Council in 2013.
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July 2013: USOC announces establishmen of SafeSport Working Group