Child/sexual abuse prevention (SafeSport)

Below is related information from the U.S. Soccer Federation that was shared with US Club Soccer. It applies to, among others, all US Club Soccer members. Please read and share this information with your members, parents and all other relevant parties.

This summary is not intended to supplant the need for every member to review the statute and we urge our members to contact us should you have any questions. In addition, you may also wish to consult your own counsel regarding how this new law will impact your organization. This web page is not intended to provide legal advice to our members.

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On Feb. 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, and here is a video PSA about the Center.

In addition to the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s fact sheet, which provides information regarding the entire law, here is additional detail on the specific mandatory reporting of child abuse requirements included in the new legislation:

  • 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 year in jail.
  • These obligations are in addition to any state law requirements that an individual may have in a particular jurisdiction.

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As stated above, you are required to report suspected child abuse within 24 hours 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.

Additionally, 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/report-a-concern. Reporting to the U.S. Soccer integrity hotline and the U.S. Center for SafeSport is not a substitute for reporting to law enforcement, child protective services, and/or the FBI.

Definition of Child Abuse:

  • Sexual abuse includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children or incest with children.
  • Mental injury means harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning which may be exhibited by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or outward aggressive behavior, or a combination of those behaviors, which may be demonstrated by a change in behavior, emotional response or cognition.

SafeSport Online Training:

The U.S. Center for SafeSport online training covers the following subjects: sexual abuse, hazing, bullying, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, harassment (non-sexual) as well as reporting obligations. There are three modules required to become “SafeSport Trained”: a) Mandatory Reporting: Understanding Your Responsibilities; b) Sexual Misconduct Awareness Education; and c) Emotional and Physical Misconduct.

This training is available to all US Club Soccer members at no cost and is required of all coaches and staff members registering with US Club Soccer beginning with the 2018-19 registration year. Details are contained on the Staff Registration web page.

To receive an auto-reply with instructions to become SafeSport Trained, please email [email protected].

For technical support, please contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport Technical Support Help Desk at (720) 676-6417 or complete the contact form on this web page.

Resources to review:

  • SafeSport.org is not only a medium to make a child abuse report, but it also has numerous fact sheets, articles, downloadable graphics, and resources.

Miscellaneous / Helpful links:

  • “Safer, Smarter Kids” – of Lauren’s Kids – creates abuse prevention education for elementary-aged children. Here is a parent toolkit that encourages conversations between parents and children by leading families through sample scenarios.
  • ChildHelp.org operates a 24-hour national child abuse hotline, as well as programs for prevention, intervention and treatment.