Preventing Child Sex Abuse
By Jerry May - Club Services.
A flyer on Preventing Child Abuse was sent to every club in March asking them to provide copies to you at this year's registration. This flyer is a kick-off to a program to educate parents on how to recognize the signs that your child may be suffering abuse, as well as how to safeguard your children while they are at practices or games.
How prevalent is child abuse? Experts say that 50% of girls and 25% of boys will suffer some sort of abuse by the time they reach 18 years of age. The average sex offender has 77 victims.
Sex offenders know how to find children who are unhappy at home, who have one parent, who are latch-key children, and those who are looking for something. They are typically smooth talkers and look very much like anyone else in the community. They find a child's need, and then create an environment where the child will trust them to help them find it.
Oregon Youth Soccer has a Risk Management Program which includes the Kidsafe program developed by US Youth Soccer. We require every club to submit Employment/Volunteer Disclosure Statements on every coach and club administer, and background checks are run on these individuals every year. Our checks include all of the states which allow computer access to records and encompasses the Registered Child Molester and/or Pedophile lists covering 46 states. Those individuals we have found and convicted of child molestation all have had clear conviction records involving any child molestation or abusive situations. The background checks are only part of the process.
Parents are the key to the safety of their own child.
Coaches should never be in a one on one situation with any child other than their own. Coaches are taught to stay out of such situations for their own safety, as well as for that of the children. Coaches are taught to hold a pre-season meeting with the parents and inform them that some parents MUST be present at all times. No parent, no practice. When this happens, the players should stay in an area visible to the coach, and the coach stay in their vehicle or away from the group until all of the players have been picked up by their parents or guardians. Some parents must be present so that practices can take place.
Many of the children abducted at games are not the soccer players. They are the brothers and sisters who are playing, out of the parents view, while the parent's attention is on the game.
- Children should stay by their parents when not involved in the game.
- Portable bathrooms that are out of sight of the field should be moved to a visible location.
- A trusted adult should be assigned to supervise the children who are at play and away from the field.
- Parents must be aware of changes in your child.
- There are many tale tell signs that a child is being abused.
- Learn about these signs
- Follow your intuition when you think something may be wrong.
Information on these instances are being added to the Oregon Youth Soccer Website. The flyer we asked clubs to distribute is also on the website. Log onto www.oregonyouthsoccer.org and click on either the "Administration" or the "Coaching" buttons and scroll down to the "Risk Management" heading. Information is in both locations to guide parents who want to learn more or have a question. A variety of resources are listed, and a phone call Oregon Youth Soccer is always welcome.
Contact Jerry in Club Services by phone at 503 626-4625, or 800 275-7353, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help us help you keep your children safe from abuse.