Prevention

Katherine Starr: Safe4Athletes' Founder Fighting To Keep Kids Safe From Sexual Abuse, Harassment, and Bullying

In recognition of April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, MomsTeam asked our friends in the medical, health, fitness, nutrition and athletic training communities to write blogs answering two questions: first, how or why did they get into their field, and second, how have they made a difference in the life of a youth athlete in the past year.

Today, as the month draws to a close, we hear from Katherine Starr, a former two-time Olympic swimmer and founder of Safe4Athletes, an advocacy and educational non-profit fighting to keep athletes safe from sexual abuse, harassment and bullying.

A former two-time Olympic swimmer talks about why she founded Safe4Athletes, an advocacy and educational non-profit fighting to keep athletes safe from sexual abuse, harassment and bullying.

Ending Sexual Abuse of Youth Athletes: Is It A “Sports Welfare” Issue?

Though the wheels on Capitol Hill don't turn as fast as Missy Franklin's arms in the water, the months are ticking down to a full-blown congressional investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by coaches in swimming and other amateur sports which fall under the umbrella of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Alleged Cover-Up of Sex Abuse By Former Olympic Coach Fuels Federal Investigation of USA Swimming

Allegations that USA Swimming helped cover up charges of sexual abuse of swimmers by former coach Everett Uchiyama, the national team director who was allowed to secretly resign in 2006, are fueling investigations by a California congressman and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Here's the latest on the continuing scandal from investigative journalist Irv Muchnick.

The Truth About Sexual Abuse Of Athletes By Coaches: It's All About Power

Since the Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. We show videos of adolescent aged girls and boys being targeted and abused. Without a doubt, we react emotionally and with revulsion to something so horrific as the taking the innocence of a young child.Girl swimming butterfly

Yet, that isn't the whole truth when discussing coach-athlete sexual abuse. If you look at the list of banned swim coaches on the USA Swimming website, there isn't one coached banned for sexual abuse who was accused of having a relationship with a swimmer under the age of 13.

Since the Jerry Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. The problem is that we are still not seeing the issue as the abuse of power that it is, says the founder of Safe4Athletes, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting sexual abuse of athletes.

Reducing Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports Requires A Team Effort


Earlier this spring  I had the honor of being invited to speak at the "Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse" summit in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.  

The summit brought together over fifty of the nation's largest youth-serving and youth-sports organizations, as well as child development, youth sports and prevention experts, to discuss strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse while playing sports.

The need to redouble efforts to prevent sexual abuse of athletes by their coaches was driven home to Brooke de Lench over the past couple of weeks, which has seen a sharp spike in reports in the media about youth sports coaches accused and convicted of, and sentenced to probation or jail for sex crimes against young athletes.

U.S.O.C. Launches Safe Sport Program

The U.S. Olympic Committee has announced the launch of Safe Sport, a welfare training program aimed at improving the safety of athletes. The program is the latest step taken by the USOC to implement the recommendations of its Working Group for Safe Training Environments.

Preventing Sexual Abuse By Youth Coaches: Criminal Background Checks Not Enough

Protecting youth athletes from becoming victims of sexual predators involves much more than criminal background checks of coaches before they are hired, says a longtime interscholastic sports administrator.

Child Sexual Abuse: The Dark Underbelly Of Youth Sports Culture

The Penn State scandal didn’t occur in youth sports.  Yet, it is one of the rare occasions that sex abuse by coaches, which is a major problem in youth sports, got the type of national publicity that allowed the problem to penetrate the public consciousness.  The big question is whether we as a sports society are up to the task of doing to more to prevent future abuse.

 

Should Annual Background Checks Be Required For All Adults in Youth Sports?

All adults involved in youth sports over the age of seventeen, including volunteers and paid employees, should pass an annual background check, with no "grandfathering"  or exceptions.

Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal: What Happens When Media Spotlight Fades?

The alleged sexual abuse of boys by a longtime coach at Penn State* has focused media attention once again on the issue.  For the parents of the alleged victims, of course, their worst nightmares have come true. But what could have been done to prevent it? And is the culture of male sports itself at least partially to blame?

The sad fact, as noted in an article by Michael Hartill, a lecturer in the Department of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England who has studied sexual abuse of boys in sports extensively, is that "the largely unregulated world of children's sport has typically been slow to address the issue of sexual abuse of youth athletes." 

The alleged sexual abuse of boys by a longtime coach at Penn State has focused media attention once again on the issue.  For the parents of the alleged victims, of course, one their worst nightmares has come true. But what could have been done to prevent it? And is the culture of male sports itself at least partially to blame?
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