US SafeSport center asks for $10M more due to rising number of sex-abuse reports

The U.S. Center for SafeSport released its 2023 annual report Thursday, pointing to an ever-growing surge in abuse reports and the impact of inflation in claiming it needed a 40% increase in funding.

CEO Ju’Riese Colón said the center needed an additional $10 million each year on top of its $24.8 million in revenues from 2023.

The center, which opened in 2017 to manage sex-abuse cases in Olympic sports, said it received 7,533 reports last year. That marked a 32% increase over 2022 and a 100% increase since 2020, while its spending power declined by 17% over the same 2020-23 timeline.

In 2020, Congress drafted the law that forced the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and its satellite sports organizations to fund the center to the tune of $20 million a year.

“Regardless of whether additional funding continues to come through the USOPC as required by federal law, or directly from federal appropriations, Congressional action is needed to maintain existing funding,” Colón said in a statement that accompanied the annual report and asked for the additional $10 million.

The center has been under scrutiny for what some have portrayed as an opaque reporting and resolution process that leaves both victims and the accused in limbo for months, sometimes years. Earlier this year, the center responded to critics by reworking some of its reporting processes and increasing training of its employees.

The center has also greatly improved its education offerings. As one example of that, the report said more than 1.5 million people completed an online training course in 2023 compared to less than half that in 2020.

“Together, we are establishing a culture where people are compelled to throw open the curtains on abuse rather than sweep it under the rug,” Colon said.

One concrete idea proposed for funding the center came from a Congressionally appointed commission that has offered a complete rewrite of the law governing the Olympics in the U.S. As part of that rewrite, it proposed doing away with the USOPC's $20 million contribution and placing the center on a year-to-year public funding model similar to how the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency receives its money.


AP Summer Olympics: