An online resource for parents provided by USA Gymnastics
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  • We Care Campaign

    USA Gymnastics is proud to announce the We Care Campaign, an educational program designed specifically for parents and concerned adults that focuses on establishing and maintaining a safe gymnastics environment in your club.

    The We Care Campaign is created to help individuals be more aware of the issue of child sexual abuse, and then suggest ways one can turn that awareness into action.

    Visit this page often for updated information and resources. Send questions or comments to WeCare@usagym.org

    As part of the “We Care Campaign,” USA Gymnastics is providing information and ideas to parents on how they can talk to their children about this topic. “Think First & Stay Safe” will go to the parents of 9-year-old athletes, with “Let’s Talk Teens” sent to parents of 13-year-old athletes. A four-page summary that highlights USA Gymnastics’ abuse and misconduct prevention efforts is also included and may be used as a resource and shared with parents and concerned adults. Click, download and share the four page summary with other parents and concerned adults. As part of the “Clubs Care Campaign,” Member Clubs will receive a courtesy copy of the below items, plus a poster to display in their gyms staff areas to complement their efforts to promote a safe environment for all participants.


    Download color or black and white version of posters/flyers that can displayed in your staff area.

    Click here
    to learn what steps and policies USA Gymnastics has put into place to protect children and athletes.

    Features
    USA Gymnastics has joined the U.S. Olympic Committee’s “Make the Commitment: Stop Abuse in Sport” initiative, which is part of the USOC’s SafeSport program, and is encouraging its clubs, coaches, judges, club owners, volunteers and parents to become active participants in the effort to stop child abuse. The goal of “Make the Commitment” is to help reduce child sexual abuse through identifying practical steps that can be taken at every level of sport. Click here to learn how as a coach, judge, parent and club owner, you can make the commitment.
    Meet Travel Safety Parent Safety tips for overnight and local travel. Click here for the article.
    Positive Coaching Alliance USA Gymnastics partner organization, Positive Coaching Alliance has created new, free online videos to protect children from sexual abuse in youth sports. These short videos provide specific, practical tips that help you, your children and others prevent sexual abuse. Click here to view now.
    GymnastCare Parents, click here to listen to a podcast with Dr. Joshua Eldridge and USA Gymnastics on ways to protect children.
    questions to ask Questions to ask Youth Serving Organizations. Click here to read the article.
    groomingprocess USA Gymnastics educational partner has prepared an educational piece building awareness on the grooming process for predators. This piece has been published in USA Gymnastics magazine November/December issue. Click here to read the article.
    darknesstolight 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children” provided by Darkness to Light. Click the following for one page flyers that clubs can redistribute to parents and concerned individuals regarding action steps one can do in order to protect our children – Color | Black & WhiteClick here to download the Complete 7 Steps for Protecting our Children.
    feature_grooming Understanding the Grooming Process: Preventing Inappropriate Behavior and Sexual Misconduct with Children. Click here for the article.
    feature_amazonbooks Suggested reading – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention for Parents and their Children. Click here to view the publications.
    feature_parentsguide A parent’s guide to selecting youth-serving organizations. Click here for the article.
    Learn the Facts

    Did you know?

    It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.

    • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before turning 18
    • More than 90% of abusers are people that children know, love or trust
    • There are more than 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America
    • More than 20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8
    • 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the Internet.
    • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
    • Most child victims never report the abuse.
    • Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family.
    • 30-40% of children are abused by family members.
    • As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts- abusers frequently try to form a trusting relationship with parents.
    • People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children.
    • Those who sexually abuse children are drawn to settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.

    CONSEQUENCES to children and to our society begin immediately. Child sexual abuse is a direct source of a number of problems facing us.

    • 70-80% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use.
    • One study showed that among male survivors, 50% have suicidal thoughts and more than 20% attempt suicide.
    • Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop eating disorders as adolescents.
    • More than 60% of teen first pregnancies are preceded by experiences of molestation, rape or attempted rape. The average age of the offenders is 27 years old.
    • Approximately 40% of sex offenders report sexual abuse as children.
    • Both males and females who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in prostitution.
    • Approximately 70% of sexual offenders of children have between 1 and 9 victims; 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims.
    • Serial child molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes.

    Source: www.d2l.org. Click here to learn more facts.

    USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Strategies

    The We Care education-focused efforts complement the steps USA Gymnastics already has taken to promote a safe environment for its athletes through policy and guideline changes implemented in the last few years. Here’s a quick overview of what is currently in place.

    • Clubs Care Campaign – on a monthly basis the Clubs Care Campaign will deliver information, strategies, templates, toolkits, checklists, action steps, posters, etc., directly to gymnastics clubs through a variety of avenues, including email, Technique magazine, www.usagym.org/ClubsCare, and the U.S. Postal Service. Clubs can use these materials to develop or refine policies and procedures geared toward eliminating the opportunity for inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct to occur.
    • Participant Welfare Policy – provides guidance on how clubs, coaches and parents can work together to provide a safe environment, as well as requirements and expectations of USA Gymnastics’ members. The topics covered in the policy include: definitions of abuse used by USA Gymnastics for both physical and sexual abuse; reporting procedures and requirements for suspected abuse; misconduct/grievance procedures; member obligations and recommendations, as well as staff; standards of behavior; and education and communication about the policy to members and the general public.
    • Mandatory criminal background screening and safety/risk management certification for professional members – background screening is renewed every two years; safety/risk management certification is renewed every four years.
    • Code of Ethical Conduct – offers general principles to guide the conduct, and the judicious appraisal of conduct, of all USA Gymnastics’ members (including employees and agents of USA Gymnastics) in situations that have ethical implications.
    • Published list of individuals banned from membership in USA Gymnastics – posted on the website and printed in both magazines. This lifetime ban means the individual does not have any of the rights or privileges associated with membership in USA Gymnastics, including but not limited to participation in any event conducted or sanctioned by USA Gymnastics. Beginning in 2012, once a final decision has been rendered to bar an individual from membership, not only will the person’s name and state be posted on the permanently ineligible for membership list, but also which of the Corporation’s Bylaws, rules, regulations or policies was violated. (The expanded listing only applies to matters investigated after the adoption of this policy.).
    • Bylaw changes – Changes to the Bylaws, including Articles 9 and 10 that deal with Member Misconduct and Disciplinary Proceedings and Grievances, improve policies and avoid any ambiguity in the procedures. The most significant changes included an expanded definition of misconduct; delineated types of complaints; clarification of who can file a grievance; and providing additional information on the permanently ineligible list.
    • Member Clubs - To become a USA Gymnastics Member Club, the organization must have a policy consistent with USA Gymnastics’ Participant Welfare Policy; certify that no persons permanently ineligible for USA Gymnastics membership – which includes convicted sex offenders and/or persons on the permanently ineligible for membership list – are or will be associated with the organization or its activities in any way during the membership/registration term; and employ at least one staff member who holds a current professional or safety-certified instructor membership.
    • Sanctioning policy – USA Gymnastics expanded its sanction policy to ensure that the club(s), independent organization(s), and/or committee(s) that hosts a sanctioned event is either a Member Club or Registered Business of USA Gymnastics.
    • Only Member Clubs may apply for membership in USA Gymnastics on behalf of an athlete and/or register a team of athletes into sanctioned events – If an athlete who is not affiliated with a Member Club wants to apply for membership in USA Gymnastics, he/she (or his/her parent/guardian if the athlete is under the age of 18) must apply directly to USA Gymnastics for such membership. His/her status will be “unaffiliated athlete.”
    Educational Partners
    SafeSport seeks to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants. Through education, resources, and training, it helps members of the sport community recognize, reduce, and respond to misconduct in sport. It will provide tools, templates and other resources clubs can use to adopt policies and procedures or refine their current efforts.
    CLP’s mission is to help ensure the personal safety of children and youth through increased awareness, education, advocacy and action. Its initial focus will include educating clubs about grooming behaviors and signs of abuse.
    D2L exists to empower adults through awareness and educational programs to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. It will concentrate on building awareness among the adults in the clubs about what they can and should do to prevent harmful situations from developing.
    The mission of Stop It Now! is to prevent the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed. Because of its belief that adults are in the best position to keep children safe from sexual abuse, it will focus on turning awareness into action.
    National Helplines

    Darkness to Light 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (866-367-5444)

    Stop It Now! 1-888-PREVENT (888-773-2362)

    The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

    National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)

    National Resources Related to Child Sexual Abuse

    Parents, Take the Training!

    Stewards of Children Online Prevention Training

    This prevention training program teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for individuals concerned about the safety of children as well as organizations that serve youth.

    Sign up for E-Newsletters
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