• Archives

  • Former Olympians Aim to Protect Young Athletes From Abuse

    Our children mean everything to us and their safety is always a major concern. Today, with many children living in a household where both parents work, a lot of time is spent without parental supervision; we trust that afterschool activities and sports programs can keep our children safe from predators that may wish to do them harm. Young athletes spend many hours away from home and much of that time is spent with coaches or directors of sport programs. It is very important to establish a relationship with children that makes them feel comfortable to come to us or another adult if they think they are being subjected to inappropriate behavior by an adult. If your child has expressed incidents of bulling or sexual harassment by an adult mentor, seek legal counsel with a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County.

    Recent media coverage of sexual abuse has prompted organizations to find better ways of protecting our children; Safe4Athletes has been created by former Olympic athletes to ensure children can practice their sport in a safe environment free from sexual mistreatment. Until now, no such organization was in place to help create a code of conduct for sports related activities. Safe4Athletes’s website allows for anyone to report areas of misconduct or sexual abuse and offers educational information to coaches, parents, and young people.

    Katherine Starr, a former British Olympic athlete, heads up Safe4Athletes; the program was created out of her own experience with sexual abuse. Katherine became a victim of her sexual predator coach at a young age, her reluctance to report the abusive behavior stemmed from her belief that she should do what her coach tells her. Many parents put so much trust in sports officials that children stop feeling the need to be suspicious or to question their coach’s motives or actions; in essence, they becomes a respected familial figure and expected be valued and listened to like a parent. This close relationship makes it more difficult for children to report abuse or refuse their inappropriate sexual requests.

    Safe4Athletes hopes their organization will make it easier for victims who otherwise would not have come forward to be able to report incidents of sexual abuse. A sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County can help to answer questions regarding specific situations, contact an office if you feel your child is a victim of sexual inappropriateness.

    Unfortunately, incidents of sexual abuse by a trusted coach are not a new occurrence; the USA Gymnastics League has listed more than eighty former coaches who are banned from membership and fifty-nine swim coaches who are ineligible from further association due to inappropriate behavior with a minor. These staggering numbers do not begin to express the incidents of abuse that children may be subjected to on a daily basis, not all children feel comfortable to report misconduct so the official number may never be realized.

    The best method for protecting children from sexual predators is education and an open dialogue; children should feel at ease telling their parents if the actions of a trusted adult make them uneasy. Ask your child about their day and encourage them to talk about their feelings toward their coaches or mentors, take any claims of abuse or any change in your child’s behavior seriously and report any sexual abuse to your local police department. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect children from predators. Contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Orange County to find out what legal action can be made against sexual misconduct.