Safe Sport Act of 2017
Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017
On February 14, 2018, S. 534 was signed into law and became effective immediately.
The bill amends two federal statutes: (1) the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and (2) the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
(1) Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990
(a) Extended reporting duties
The bill amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to extend the duty to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours to certain adults who are authorized to interact with minor or amateur athletes at a facility under the jurisdiction of a national governing body. A “national governing body” means an amateur sports organization that is recognized by the United States Olympic Committee.
An individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child sexual abuse is subject to criminal Penalties.
(b) Civil remedies
Additionally, the bill amends the federal criminal code to revise civil remedy provisions. Among other things, it changes the civil statute of limitation to 10 years from the date the victim discovers the violation or injury (currently, 10 years from the date the cause of action arose). The bill also extends the statute of limitations for a minor victim of a federal sex offense to file a civil action to 10 years (currently, 3 years) from the date such individual reaches age 18.
(2) Amateur Sports Act of 1978
The bill also amends the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
(a) Designation of United States Center for SafeSport
It designates the United States Center for SafeSport to serve as the independent national safe sport organization, with the responsibility for developing policies and procedures to prevent the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of amateur athletes. These policies and procedures developed by the Center must include:
A requirement that (a) all adult members of a national governing body or a facility under the jurisdiction of a national governing body or at any event sanctioned by a national governing body, and (b) all adults authorized by such members to interact with an amateur athlete, immediately report an allegation of child abuse of an amateur athlete who is a minor to: (i) the Center, and (ii) to law enforcement
A mechanism that allows a complainant to easily report child abuse
Reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between a minor and an adult
Procedures to prohibit retaliation
Oversight procedures, including:
Audits, to ensure the policies and procedures are followed correctly
Consistent training is offered
A mechanism for national governing bodies to share reports of suspected child abuse
(b) General requirements for youth-serving amateur athletic organizations
The bill also modifies the obligations of amateur athletic organizations – a not-for-profit corporation, association, or other group organized in the United States that sponsors or arranges an amateur athletic Competition.
Amateur sports organizations seeking a sanction for amateur athletic competitions must implement and abide by the policies and procedures to prevent emotional, physical, and child abuse of amateur athletes.
Amateur sports organizations, which participate in an interstate or international amateur athletic competition and whose membership includes any adult who is in regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor, must:
Comply with the reporting requirements of the Victims of Child Abuse Act
Establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between an amateur athlete who is a minor and an adult
Offer and provide consistent training to adult members who are in contact with amateur athletes who are minors