The SafeSport Act of 2017 is the most important piece of legislation passed in youth sports this year – it protects young athletes from all kinds of abuse, having sprung up from the massive sexual abuse case at USA Gymnastics. Despite it’s landmark importance, it requires big changes from youth sports organizations, but does not offer any of the tools to accomplish these changes. We broke down those requirements into a simple 5-Step Checklist so you can make sure your sports organization meets the new standards without hassle.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Set Up a Reporting System to comply with the 24 hour reporting requirements of section 226 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 (34 U.S.C. 20341) & the requirement to “allow a complainant to report easily an incident of child abuse to appropriate persons”. We recommend using our free system, Player’s Health Protect [sign up here].
- Awareness Training for Administrators, Staff, and Parents (this satisfies the legal requirement “offer and provide consistent training [regarding prevention and reporting of child abuse] to all adult members who are in regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors”)
- Awareness Training for Minors, with Parental Consent (this satisfies the requirement to “[offer and provide consistent training regarding prevention and reporting of child abuse], subject to parental consent, to members who are minors”)
- Publish Policies and Materials on Website, and distribute to staff, administrators, and parents [satisfies requirement to create “establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between an amateur athlete who is a minor and an adult”]
- Run Background Checks on all adults that could come into contact with kids [recommended if you aren’t doing it already]
That’s it! With these 5 items in place, you have met the requirements of the SafeSport Act and handled your duty of care to your athletes. Keep in mind, we are creating free templates for items on this checklist to be released to our subscribers (sign up here), and our free platform Player’s Health Protect will help you manage all of these steps, available here.
Next, here’s what you should know:
Who is covered by the law?
The law applies differently depending on your sports organization. If you consider your organization to be a typical club, league, or tournament, then this checklist is for you. If you operate a National Governing Body [NGB], or are otherwise sanctioned by the National Olympic Committee, then you should visit that website for your information, or visit SafeSport.
For non-NGB organizations [most of youth sports], the law applies only to you if you compete in “interstate or international competitions”. That’s right! If your sports entity does not travel out of state or compete against out-of-state teams, then none of the regulations apply directly to you. That said, if an incident happened, the law will likely be the measuring stick to decide duty of care in any litigation to come. Therefore, we recommend that all sports organizations meet these requirements to be on the safe side. Besides, they are good practices to protect your athletes from harm.
Why does it matter?
We work with sports organization to improve their risk management policies on a daily basis. One of the most common questions is some version of, “I have never had a case, and no one I know has ever had a case, so why change?”.
It is a reasonable question! Why would anyone feel the need to change something that doesn’t appear to be broken, or protect themselves from parents and coaches that they consider friends?
The truth is, there are plenty of cases that go unheard, and youth sports are some of the most ill-prepared for risk management policies.
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Safe Sport Act Amendment, Congress Website – https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/534/text
Child Abuse Law, House Website – http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?hl=false&edition=prelim&req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title34-section20341&num=0&saved=%7CKHRpdGxlOjM0IHNlY3Rpb246MjAzNDEgZWRpdGlvbjpwcmVsaW0p%7C%7C%7C0%7Cfalse%7Cprelim
Excellent White Paper on The Safe Sport Act, Abusepreventionsystems.com – https://abusepreventionsystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/New-Legislation-Sexual-Abuse-in-Youth-Sport-2-9-2018.pdf
Brief Overview, Praesidium – https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/wp/everything-need-know-safe-sport-act/
USA Gymnastics Incident, NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/silent-no-more-inside-usa-gymnastics-sex-abuse-scandal-n868221