COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- USA Swimming, based in Colorado Springs, is being sued by former athletes who alleged they weren't protected when it came to reporting abuse. In response, USA Swimming is partnering with a platform called RealResponse that will make it easier to communicate with victims.
The sports organization hopes that RealResponse will make its 350,000 athletes feel protected. With a simple text, USA Swimming members can anonymously submit a report of abuse. RealResponse offers a space for athletes to use their voice and allows for the person receiving the information to ask questions.
USA Swimming has always allowed anonymous reporting, but previous technology didn't allow for gathering facts.
USA Swimming's senior director of legal and membership affairs spoke with our news partners in Denver.
"This way we’ll be able to hopefully act more nimbly on reports that we get, where as previously if we didn’t have enough information we may have to close a case or not be able to report further because we didn’t have enough information to do so," said Abby Howard.
The use of real response comes after more than 100 coaches were banned from USA Swimming by the US Center for SAFESPORT. Many of them are accused of sexually abusing minors.
"I think there’s just been a lot more light shed on the issues and the athlete experience," said Howard.
USA Swimming can't comment on pending litigation, but wants members to know they will investigate claims to the best of its ability. It's also adding two additional SAFESPORT members who will focus on the new reporting system.
"For us it’s important that everybody knows that if they send information to USA swimming that we will do what we are required to do with the information that is given," said Howard.
All USA Swimming members are able to use RealResponse starting on September 1, 2022. The new reporting tool is already being used by USA Gymnastics and USA Track & Field.