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The Safe Sport Act

On February 14th, 2018, the President signed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act which is aimed at protecting amateur athletes* from sexual abuse. 

What exactly does the Law state?

The Law has a three-pronged approach:

  1. 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.
  2. The statute of limitations is extended for up to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused. 
  3. 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 by clicking the link below: 

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 Mass Youth Soccer 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

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.

Note:  Any allegation of sexual misconduct, regardless of the age of the parties involved, must also be reported to the Center for SafeSport.

Mass Youth Soccer's Mechanism for Reporting 
(Everyone listed below MUST be contacted when physical or sexual abuse is suspected)
  1. Local Law Enforcement Number (posted on club website and given to athletes and parents)
  2. Local Child Protective Services Number (posted on club website and given to athletes and parents)
  3. State of Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF)
    • Massachusetts Mandatory Reporting Guidelines:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dcf/can-mandated-reporters-guide.pdf

  1. Club Risk Manager Contact Information (every club should have a point person for reporting)
  1. State Risk Manager –Mary Relic, mrelic@mayouthsoccer.org, 978-598-3613.
  2. National Governing Body (NGB)
US Soccer Integrity Hotline Number – (312) 528- 7004
US Center for SafeSport – https://www.safesport.org/report-a-concern
 
Other forms of misconduct such as emotional abuse, bullying, hazing, or harassment.
  1. Club Risk Manager Contact Information (every club should have a point person for reporting)
  2. Club or BOD Review/Hearing – There should be a process in policy to document and address this other misconduct.  The decision of the Club or BOD should be sent to the State Risk Manager.

 

NOTE:  Any allegation of sexual misconduct, regardless of the age of the parties involved, must also be reported to the Center.  Reports can be made to the Center for SafeSport at 833-587-7233 or online here:  https://safesport.i-sight.com/portal. 

 

State Risk Manager – Mary Relic, mrelic@mayouthsoccer.org, 978-598-3613

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?

1. Prevention Training Under US Soccer's SafeSoccer Framework, all Amateur Sports Associations (i.e. Mass Youth Soccer) sanctioned by an NGB (i.e. U.S. Soccer) must provide consistent training to adult members who are in contact with amateur athletes who are minors. All adults involved in youth soccer must take an initial Abuse Prevention Training course and then within the next calendar year, an annual refresher each year of participation for three years, then the cycle starts over, thus on the fifth year the adult will take a core training again.

The course is offered online at no cost through the U.S. Center for SafeSport. 

Currently, adults will register online annually with Mass Youth Soccer and choose their Town Program, Club or League (if not affiliated with a Town or Club) via the U.S. Soccer Connect registration system from Stack Sports.  Once the adults completes their Adult Registration, the link to access the SafeSport course will be available in their Adult Registration account under their "Certificates" tab.  Once the adult takes the training course, their Adult Registration account will be updated within 48 hours to reflect this status; should auto verification fail, their organization's Risk Manager is responsible for marking them as Approved/Verified.

More information about the course can be found on the Mass Youth Soccer website under MA Safe Soccer.

2. Prohibit Retaliation – Include in your club policy that there can be no retaliation from the club toward those who are reporting.


US YOUTH SOCCER COMMUNICATIONS

Please click on the links below to view US Youth Soccer communications regarding the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. 

May 16th 2018 Member Update

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