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What You Need to Know About the Safe Sport Act

Published on Jan 30, 2020 at 3:03 pm in Title IX.

Three soccer balls on a field

While abuse of minors reporting laws have already been in place for some time now, new legislation expands those laws to prevent child abuse from going unreported in youth sports. These laws also prevent the abuse from continuing when it is suspected or discovered.

Our children need to be kept safe, especially when we are trusting other adults with their care. Thankfully, the Safe Sport Act takes steps to ensure the safety of our children in youth sports. Let’s take a look at what specific aspects this act covers.

Important Points of the Safe Sport Act

In February 2018, the Protecting Youth Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was passed. The legislation expands child abuse reporting laws and abuse awareness training that is required of adults in youth sports by ensuring that sports organizations as big as national governing bodies and as small as a local team will follow the protocol. Any time an adult is working with youth athletes, this act comes into play.

Here’s what you need to know about the Safe Sport Act:

  • Mandated reporters. Any adult affiliated with a sports team, whether it be a private or public organization, is required to report any physical or sexual abuse of a minor to law enforcement and their association promptly, which is defined in the act as within 24 hours. Organizations also need to have a way for an adult to confidentially report any suspected child or sexual abuse with their organization as well.
  • Abuse prevention training. Any adult who wishes to coach or help minors in sports must go through training to be able to recognize and report child abuse, as well as to inform them of who to report any suspected abuse to. Training options include programs through the S. Center for Safe Sport, Darkness to Light, and Abuse Prevention Systems.
  • Records and reports. The Center for Safe Sport must keep records of any reported account, and they also must submit an annual report to Congress about their operations.
  • Background checks. Although these were already used for coaches and other adults involved with youth sports, and have been for a long time, the Safe Sport Act recommends that organizations perform background screenings as a preventative measure. Though these are not federally required yet, there are some states that do require background checks, like Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
  • Binding Arbitration. The Center for Safe Sport can utilize a neutral arbitration body to resolve allegations if they deem the situation fit. This means that the dispute would be resolved out of court where a neutral party makes a decision on the case, and the results are usually private.

When it comes to sports teams at schools, instances of sexual assault and harassment also fall under Title IX. If any school employee, student, or non-employee third party sexually harasses a student, then the student can make a Title IX complaint with the school’s Title IX coordinator, which is a required position at any federally funded school.

How the Safe Sport Act Affects You

If you are involved in coaching or volunteering with youth sports, then this act will affect your authorization process. Though extensive background checks and extensive training for reporting child abuse might seem like a lot of steps to coach children, they are necessary to ensure that the children are safe in your presence and that you can be trusted with sensitive information.

The most important takeaway is that you need to report any physical or sexual abuse of a child within 24 hours of knowing about the abuse. With the training you’ll receive, you’ll know exactly what to do, and will be able to help a child if they come to you about being abused.

When a child, or any person, becomes a victim of sexual assault, they can easily become confused and think that they have nobody to go to. At Thomas Law Offices, we want to make victims feel comfortable with and supported by us because we know how hard it can be to trust again. Coming forward with a claim can be difficult, but we will handle your case with great care. Our experienced lawyers will seek justice for you and make your abuser answer for their crimes. Reach out to us today for a free consultation of your case.