New deal to help USA Track & Field simplify abuse reporting

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USA Track and Field has signed on to use technology that will give athletes an additional method to anonymously report sexual abuse and other forms of misconduct.

The Indianapolis-based organization announced a deal Thursday with RealResponse, a company that serves around 100,000 athletes in nearly 1,500 pro, college, Olympic and grassroots sports organizations. USATF is one of four national governing bodies in the U.S. Olympic domain to sign on; Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics also has a deal with RealResponse.

“We prioritized an additional reporting system that is seamless, simple and safe,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a statement.

RealResponse allows users to report misconduct anonymously with a text and then allows organizations to easily follow up on reports without compromising the anonymity of the reporter. It skips intake forms and drop-down menus that populate many reporting apps.

Even since the creation five years ago of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, many Olympic organizations have had difficulty creating systems for simple reporting, the likes of which RealResponse offers.

Last year, the company, founded by former Rice basketball player David Chadwick, signed on the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which incorporates that company’s technology with its own as a way of making it easier for whistleblowers to report doping.

Chadwick described the new deal as a way of giving USATF members “that safe and confidential and accessible way to come forward and communicate the issues that they’re dealing with.”

“And it positions USATF to be extremely responsive in a timely matter, to gather information, point to resources and to help prevent these types of tragedies from ever happening again,” Chadwick said.

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