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New Law Could Prevent Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports

The Safe Sport Act requires sexual abuse prevention training for youth sports organizations. (karenthomas/Twenty20)
The Safe Sport Act requires sexual abuse prevention training for youth sports organizations. (karenthomas/Twenty20)
June 25, 2018

BOISE, Idaho – A new law could help prevent child sexual abuse on youth sports teams this summer.

After hundreds of cases of abuse within the USA women's gymnastics team were revealed last year, Congress passed the Safe Sport Act in January.

Under the law, youth sports organizations are required to give sexual abuse prevention training, and report abuse allegations to local law enforcement.

With summer sports warming up, organizations are looking at how to stay in line with these new policies.

"So many good things happen in sporting organizations, and young people and adolescents blossom into these really great adults, partly because of the experience and the coaching that they get, and all those kind of things,” says David Duro, president and CEO of Treasure Valley Family YMCA. “But not everybody can be trusted with our children."

Duro adds that volunteers at his YMCA already go through sexual abuse prevention training.

There are trainers across the state that can work with youth sports organizations to comply with the Safe Sport Act.

Folks can look on the Idaho Children's Trust Fund website to find out more about these resources.

Duro says this type of crime is prevalent, perhaps even more so than the public knows.

According to Darkness to Light, an organization that provides training and resources for preventing sexual abuse, one in four girls, and one in six boys, will be abused by the time she or he is 18.

"The incidence of child sexual abuse is just so high, and this one act isn't going to flip the dial,” he states. “I mean, it's going to be constant and rigorous diligence to reverse this trend and to, at some point, eradicate child sexual abuse."

The new law also includes mandatory compensation of at least $150,000 for victims of sexual abuse, and requires that sports organizations put reasonable procedures in place to limit one-on-one interactions between minors and adults.

It also sets up an independent, nonprofit body – the U.S. Center for SafeSport – to ensure compliance and investigate abuse complaints.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID