SafeSport - It's Mandatory, It's The Law
Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017
On February 14th, 2018, the President signed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 which is aimed at protecting amateur athletes* from sexual abuse. What exactly does the Law state?
The Law has a three-pronged approach:
- Any adult interacting with amateur athletes in the program has a duty to report abuse and or suspected abuse within a 24 hour period. EVERY adult is a mandatory reporter.
- The statute of limitations is extended for up to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused.
- Limits an athlete under the age of 18 from being alone with an adult who is not their parent.
*What is an amateur athlete? Any child or minor under the age of 18. Legislation is available for download (click here).
What are the requirements for NGB’s and NGB-Affiliated?
Reporting: A mechanism that allows a complaint to be easily reported for a reasonable suspicion of Sexual or Physical abuse/neglect, within a 24 hour period of awareness. Federal regulations state that reports should be made to a) local law enforcement and b) local/state child protective services c) US Soccer, and d) the US Center for SafeSport. EVERYONE is a MANDATORY REPORTER.
Mechanism for Reporting: Everyone listed below MUST be contacted when physical or sexual abuse is suspected
- Call 911 and talk to local law enforcement.
- Call Child Welfare Department: 918-581-2401
- Call BASC Risk Manager, Barbara Wilson: 918-258-5770
Mechanism for Reporting (cont.): Other forms of misconduct such as emotional abuse, bullying, hazing, or harassment.
- BASC Risk Manager Contact Information: Barbara Wilson 918-258-5770, email@example.com.
- Club or BOD Review/Hearing – There is a process in place to document and address this other misconduct. The decision of the Club or BOD will be sent to the State Association’s State Office (Sid Goodrich, 918-727-0143, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reasonable Procedures: Policies and procedures aimed at PREVENTING one-on-one interactions between an amateur athlete who is a minor and an adult.
An individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties including fines and up to one (1) year in jail.
What are the requirements for NGB’s and NGB-Affiliated?
Prevention Training: OSA will offer and provide consistent training to adult members who are in contact with amateur athletes who are minors through the US Center for SafeSport.
To enroll in the SafeSport program for the first time.
- Login to your Coach Account
- Follow the step-by-step instructions found here
- Access Code: YC3E-6P5G-YYIL-CS2M
- If you have already completed the course outside of your coaches account, you will need to login directly to SafeSport, print off your completion certificate, and then email it to email@example.com.
Prohibit Retaliation: It is a BASC policy that there will be no retaliation from the club toward those who are reporting.
What is being done next?
Both US Soccer and US Youth Soccer are developing a strategy to help all State Associations understand, communicate and manage their abuse prevention programs.
This communication, which follows up on previous communications from both US Soccer and US Youth Soccer, provides a summary of the new law and the requirements for mandatory reporting. The new law states that The Center for Safe Sports shall develop training, oversight practices, policies and procedures for implementation by a NGB. This work is in progress and will be communicated when available.
What else is important to know about this Law? How might my club be impacted?
There are additional and more specific requirements for several categories of youth sports providers listed as ‘Applicable Entity’ within the Bill. Those listed under this category include:
- National Governing Body (NGB) – Such as the United States Soccer Federation
- Amateur Sports Organization (sanctioned by NGB) – Such as your local State Association and Member Affiliates (town programs, clubs and leagues)
- Amateur Sports Organizations (NOT sanctioned by NGB) – Such as YMCA, Church Leagues, Municipal Leagues, Independent Recreation Leagues, Camps, all others
U.S. Center for SafeSport fact sheet: https://www.safesport.org/files/details/78
Communication from U.S. Soccer to our Members:
This is to flag a new piece of legislation that affects many of our members. We are sending it to our organizational member list because many of you may meet the definition of “covered individuals” in this new legislation, and could, therefore, impact your organization. Please read it carefully, and watch for additional updates, including at the upcoming April Member Meetings, for more information from U.S. Soccer on this important topic. This summary is not intended to supplant the need to review the statute and we urge our members to reach out with questions. In addition, you may also wish to consult your own counsel regarding how this new law will impact your organization.
On February 14, 2018, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law and became effective immediately. The legislation is available for download HERE. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has released a fact sheet about the legislation which can be found HERE.
In addition to the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s factsheet, which provides information regarding the entire law, we wanted to provide additional detail on the specific mandatory reporting of child abuse requirements included in the new legislation because these requirements may impact you immediately:
- The bill amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to extend the duty to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours to all adults who are authorized to interact with minor or amateur athletes by a national governing body, a member of a national governing body, or an amateur sports organization that participates in interstate or international amateur athletic competition. These individuals are called “covered individuals” in the new legislation.
- Child abuse is defined as physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment of a child.
- Per current federal regulations, reports of child abuse should be made to the local law enforcement agency or local child protective services agency that has jurisdiction to investigate reports of child abuse or to protect child abuse victims or to the FBI. These regulations have not yet been updated to reflect the recent change in the law. Until such time as the regulations are updated, U.S. Soccer will make reports to (1) local law enforcement where any alleged incident took place to the extent it can be determined and the incident occurred in the United States, (2) local law enforcement where the victim resides if different than (1), and (3) the FBI.
- An individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties including fines and up to one (1) year in jail.
- These obligations are in addition to any State law requirements that an individual may have in a particular jurisdiction.
If you make a report of child abuse to law enforcement, please also communicate this report to the U.S. Soccer integrity hotline at https://www.ussoccer.com/integrity-hotline or (312) 528-7004 and the U.S. Center for SafeSport at https://safesport.org/response-resolution/report. As a reminder, as a member or affiliate of U.S. Soccer, you may be subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport under certain circumstances. The Center serves an important investigatory and remedial function where law enforcement may choose or be unable to act.