MAKE SPORT SAFE FOR ATHLETES

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Safe4Athletes

 Starr's drive to create a climate in which athletes feel safe reporting incidents of abuse is the result of her own experience. “I was told that I needed to do 'what the coach said.' I felt hopeless and alone. After years of addressing this issue head on, I realized that the heartache was still with me. It occurred to me that the only healing would come from changing the culture in the amateur sports community,” Starr said

Until now, sports federations, teams and private clubs have attempted to police themselves. A team of former Olympic and national athletes has been working to create the first organization dedicated to advocating for the safety of young athletes.

Based in Los Angeles, Safe4Athletes was founded by former British Olympian Katherine Starr with a diverse board of directors and advisory councils comprised of world-class athletes, sports psychologists, the assistance of the Women's Sports Foundation and youth advocates.

Safe4Athletes' mission is to ensure a safe environment for young athletes in all sports, free from the sexual abuse and harassment that have made headlines of late. Safe4Athletes is noteworthy for shifting the paradigm from efforts focused on a single sport to protecting athletes across sports.

Starr's drive to create a climate in which athletes feel safe reporting incidents of abuse is the result of her own experience. “I was told that I needed to do 'what the coach said.' I felt hopeless and alone. After years of addressing this issue head on, I realized that the heartache was still with me. It occurred to me that the only healing would come from changing the culture in the amateur sports community,” Starr said.

It's often difficult for young athletes to report cases of abuse. Coaches command the respect of institutions, media, parents and teammates. Advocates can only provide statistics from documented cases, but believe the problem is far more widespread than what's been reported:
  • 82 coaches are listed by USA Gymnastics as permanently ineligible for membership due to misconduct.
  • 59 coaches have been penalized by USA Swimming and received a lifetime ban or have been declared ineligible for membership

"We understand the importance of making an informed decision when putting a child in the hands of a coach," says Starr. "Safe4Athletes wants to give the athlete a voice and the parents peace of mind."

Safe4Athletes recommends that every sports organization adopt codes of conduct and establish policies for athlete welfare. The nonprofit's website provides model policies for ethical conduct, promotes appropriate avenues for reporting incidents and offers educational materials targeted to young athletes, parents, coaches and sports organizations. Safe4Athletes also lists the clubs that are dedicated to keeping athletes safe.

 

http://www.examiner.com/sports-world-in-national/olympians-call-for-end-to-sexual-abuse-bullying-and-harassment-of-young-athlet

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Every athlete deserves a safe and positive sports environment. SPEAK UP if the way you are being treated feels wrong. 
If you need advice in sorting through a situation or concern. SAFE4ATHLETES is here to help.

Safe4Athletes: PO Box 650, Santa Monica, CA 90406 - Tax ID-46-2290559