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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.

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.
 

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. USYS) must provide consistent training to adult members who are in contact with amateur athletes who are minors. Commencing with 2019, and mandatory per U.S. Soccer by September 1, 2019, 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.  The course is offered online at no cost through the U.S. Center for SafeSport. 

Commencing July, 2019 adults will register with your League, Town or Club in U. S. Soccer Connect from Stack Sports via their organizations dedicated registration website by first creating an account. Once they complete their Adult Registration and the Registrar marks them as a confirmed participant, they will receive an email from US Soccer Connect containing the link to access the course; the link will also be available in their Adult Registration account.  If the Adult has already taken the course, they can upload their certificate and their organizations Risk Manager will mark them as Approved.  After they take the initial course they must take a refresher every year thereafter.

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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