Washington, D.C. – This evening, legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that will help protect amateur athletes from sexual abuse cleared a key hurdle by passing the House. The bill previously passed the Senate unanimously in November 2017.
Senators Collins and Feinstein’s bill, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, would require amateur athletics governing bodies to report sex-abuse allegations immediately to local or federal law enforcement or a child-welfare agency. The bill further authorizes the United States Center for Safe Sport to ensure that aspiring U.S. Olympic athletes can report allegations of abuse to an independent entity for investigation and resolution, and to make sure that all national governing bodies follow the strictest standards for child abuse prevention and detection.
The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act stems from allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo and follows hearings last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee on athlete safety issues.
“The young athletes who train to represent our country at the top levels of competition, and those at all levels who aspiring to compete, should not have to fear victimization by trusted coaches and sports officials,” said Senator Collins. “By requiring amateur athletic governing organizations to promptly report every allegation of sexual abuse to the proper authorities, our legislation will help survivors obtain justice and protect more people from these repugnant crimes. I am pleased that the House passed this important legislation to ensure that survivors have access to every resource and support they need.”
The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act would also:
- Make it safer and easier for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented.
- Reform the law that allows victims to sue sex-crime perpetrators by extending the statute of limitations because it’s often difficult for children to recognize that they have had crimes committed against them until much later on into adulthood.
The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), National Children’s Alliance, Rights4Girls, University of Utah Law Professor Paul Cassell, Child Sex Crime Victims’ Lawyer James Marsh, Crime Victims Expert Steve Twist, National Crime Victims Center, National Association of VOCA Administrators, Child USA, National Organization for Victim Assistance, ToPrevail, ChampionWomen, National Children Advocacy Center, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
The legislation is also supported by organizations within the Olympic movement, including the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the National Governing Body Council and the United States Center for Safe Sport.