As a parent, guardian, coach or adult in charge of children and young adults, safety is often one of our biggest concerns. We childproof the house, make sure the car seats are buckled right, teach the kids how to cross the street and don’t talk to strangers. But did you know that most forms of abuse and misconduct come from someone your child knows: Family, friends, coaches or other trusted adults? That’s eye opening. So now what? We educate and prevent.
The US Center for SafeSport was formed by the United States Congress in 2017 and governs all participants in the Olympic Movement. USA Volleyball, as the National Governing Body for the sport of volleyball in the United States, is part of the Movement and therefore abides by SafeSport oversight and policies.
As a member of USA Volleyball, Badger Region is proud to support SafeSport, to bring awareness, education and reporting for abuse and misconduct. While it’s not fun to talk about, or maybe even take the training on, it’s one of the most important things that an adult can do: take action to protect our children.
Not all volleyball organizations or events abide by, are governed by or participate in SafeSport, so please be aware of the child protection standards when choosing different options for clinics, camps, events and clubs.
All clubs registered with Badger Region and all events approved by Badger Region, one of the other 39 Regions and/or USA Volleyball all fall under SafeSport. That means that all adult participants have had some level of training on child protection and abuse that is consistent with what is mandated by Congress.
With the revamping of the Badger Region website, we’ve also re-worked our SafeSport page (https://badgervolleyball.org/safesport/) to include additional information and resources for all adults as well as children and young adults.
Reporting & Abuse
Training & Education
Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP)
You may have heard about MAAPP, or you had to sign some forms or sign into GroupMe at the start of the season. These are requirements under the SafeSport code that govern communication, travel and other one-on-one interactions, including meetings and individual training sessions. Click here for the full MAAPP.
I hope there are many things you take from this article, but if there’s one thing, let it be this. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD AN ADULT EVER COMMUNICATE OR BE ALONE ONE-ON-ONE WITH A CHILD. Even related individuals should have parental consent. If a coach needs to text or message a youth in some way, there should be someone else on the message, whether it’s a parent/guardian or another coach.
If there are situations where a youth and coach are having a meeting, there should be someone else in the meeting (two-deep leadership), or the meeting should happen in a public place, like a hotel or gym lobby. No closed doors, no back hallways or stairwells with no foot traffic.
The guiding principle is this: adult interactions with minors should be observable and interruptible. Someone not involved in the interaction should be able to see the interaction, and interrupt the interaction if they’re not involved.
This principle is not only for the protection of the youth, but also for the adult, in order to be protected from allegations of inappropriate behavior.
What can you do about any of this? This will never affect you, right? You’d be surprised. Educate yourself and those around you, even on the basics. In our website revamp, we’ve added definitions to help you and your family learn what makes up the different types of abuse and misconduct. There are now links to different resources for clubs, athletes/youth, coaches/adults and parents/guardians in addition to a podcast library. There is an Emotional and Physical Misconduct Toolkit to help address these situations. All of these items can be found on the Badger Region SafeSport page.
If this is all overwhelming, please reach out, either to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to Executive Director / Commissioner Jennifer Armson-Dyer, the Region’s SafeSport contact and liaison to USA Volleyball. Good faith reporting (meaning, you’re reporting something because you believe something is wrong) is protected in the Code and no one can retaliate without consequences. If you’re experiencing abuse, you know someone who is, or something just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.
Visit the Badger Region SafeSport page to educate yourself and do your part in protecting minors in sport.