Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse

Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse:
Mandatory Reporting and the 2018 Federal Law

In February 2018, Congress enacted The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act. This law has direct impact on both clubs and our national federation. Key points:

  • Any adult, who is authorized by OUSA, or by an amateur athletic club that engages in interstate competition, to interact with a minor or amateur athlete in the course of orienteering-related activities, is a mandated reporter of child abuse.
  • OUSA must offer training to all members who are in regular contact with minors, about recognizing and reporting child abuse. This training must also be available to minors, with parental consent.
  • OUSA clubs must limit one-on-one interactions between children and adults who are not their legal guardian.
  • OUSA must establish policies and procedures to keep children safe. Our policies are laid out in our Abuse and Misconduct Policy, as well as in the Junior Safety Handbook. These policies address background checks, selecting coaches, and issues that arise when traveling with minors. The Handbook was published in June, 2015 and is currently undergoing revision, in part in response to the new law.

You can read the full text of the law here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/534

OUSA offers training that meets the law’s requirements. For instructions on how to take the training, please see the OUSA SafeSport page. The training will be free for OUSA members through 2018. For club members who are not OUSA members, the cost is $10. We do not offer the training outside of OUSA or club members, as it is a product that OUSA purchases from SafeSport for the benefit of our members and clubs.

We want a safe and healthy environment for our children. It would be wonderful if all members of our community were well-educated about the how to recognize and report different types of abuse, including emotional, physical, and sexual, as well as harassment. OSUA recommends that all club board members take the SafeSport training, even if they are not in regular contact with minors. It is important for club leadership to understand the definitions of abuse and how to report it, in order to better support their club members. In addition, any coaches, teachers, and trainers should take the course, along with parents and minors, with their parents’ permission.

Reports of suspected child abuse should be made within 24 hours. Reports of other misconduct should go to a member of the OUSA Executive Committee or to a designated Safe Sport Compliance Officer. You should not try and investigate the situation yourself. 

posted 16 October 2018

updated 26 December 2018