Advocates for athlete welfare where every athlete is provided a safe and positive environment free of sexual abuse, bullying and harassment
Volume 1 Number 2
March 2012
Dear Friend,
Safe4Athletes is working to make sure that sports organizations make athlete welfare their #1 concern.  But we need your help.  Speak to parents whenever you can to urge them to insist that the local sports clubs in which they enroll their children have strong policies that address coach misconduct.  Every parent needs to speak to their children about how to recognize inappropriate coach behavior.
In This Issue
Keep Our Child Athletes Safe
Safe4Athletes - A Response to Unspeakable Pain
Olympians Speak Out
In the News -- Keeping Perspective
Keep Our Child Athletes Safe
soccer players
Coaches spend more time every day with their athletes than teachers do. Coaches, unlike child health care workers, travel with their athletes. Teachers and child health care workers are held to stringent standards -- as they should be -- in regard to their behavior around children. Many schools require that doors be kept open when teachers counsel students, and parents are present for medical exams in most practices. Any suspicion of abuse is required by law to be reported. And yet there are no guidelines or laws that dictate appropriate behavior when it comes to coaches and athletes in non-school sports.  Read about it online in the Huffington Post.
Safe4Athletes - A Response to Unspeakable Pain
"We want to get people involved: volunteers, parents, third-party people the kids in that organization know are safe people to talk to," Starr said. "Part of the reason young kids take, on average, two-and-a-half years to report abuse is that they're afraid or embarrassed to come forward. And with athletes, when a coach has so much power over them, they're afraid of that person. They're afraid of anyone who has anything to do with the team or the organization, so they don't report. We need to change the pathway for reporting. Because the way things are now, most athletes feel like they can't do or say anything because it could jeopardize their position on the team."  Read more about Patricia Babcock McGraw's Daily Herald interview with Katherine Starr. 
Olympians Speak Out....
John Naber - Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimming  

"All the good of participating in sport can be negated if a young man or woman finds themselves bullied, abused or taken advantage of... especially if it's by someone in a position of authority.  Teams, clubs, leagues and sport governing bodies need to protect those unable or unwilling to speak out about the abuse they have suffered or may suffer in the future."

Margaret Hoelzer - Two Time Olympic Silver Medalist and a Bronze - Swimming

"it's empowering to know that we are finally living in a society where remaining silent after abuse is not the only option.  Education/Knowledge is power and it is imperative that we educate athletes about the realities of abuse regardless of whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual.  As athletes, we put a great deal of trust in those that coach, mentor, and train us.  While this trust is imperative, it is just as critical that we know how to distinguish between helpful and harmful behavior. The importance of knowing that there is someone that we can turn to, someone that will listen to our story can make the difference in helping bring these stories to light. Without a system in place to bring awareness about abuse most of the knowledge that someone gains from knowing the difference between helpful and harmful is lost."            ........ Click here to hear from more Olympians.   

katherineThanks for following our progress and programs.  Please consider passing this newsletter on to your friends. 

Whether you are contacting sports clubs to urge adoption of strong athlete protection policies, encouraging friends to become more informed or donating to help us make a difference, your support is greatly appreciated. 
Katherine Starr
Founder & President
Safe4Athletes in the News and An Important Note
The New York Daily News tells the Safe4Athletes story.

An Important Note
Athlete safety and welfare policies do not imply distrust and are not intended to portray coaches or others as "villains."  The appropriate analogy is to liken these policies to what we all have to endure when taking an airline trip and tolerating airport security measures.  We suffer these restrictions on our personal freedoms because we know that one terrorist can cause terrible harm.  Similarly, athlete safety and welfare policies restrict the actions and behaviors of coaches and others in order to maximize the possibility that we will be able to protect program participants from the harm caused by one person with malicious intent.  

Quick Links
Our thanks to....
Women's Sports Foundation, a founding partner
Community Partners, our fiscal sponsor

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