Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. One in Four Girls and One in Six Boys Are Sexually Abused Before the Age of 18 – and with 44 million kids under the age of 18 participating in sports, WE have an opportunity to change the odds. Known Fact.
One in Four Girls and One in Six Boys Are Sexually Abused Before the Age of 18 – and with 44 million kids under the age of 18 participating in sports, WE have an opportunity to change the odds.
Known Fact Athletes will perform better, soar higher, and get more from volleyball if they feel safe.
What is SafeSport? The Arizona Region has teamed up with SafeSport seeking to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants.
Through education, resources, and training, our goal is help members of the volleyball community recognize, reduce, and respond to misconduct in our sport.
We all have a role to play in creating a healthy setting for volleyball. SafeSport helps raise awareness about misconduct in volleyball, promote open dialogue, and provide training and resources. When we work as a team, we can build a game plan to make volleyball safe―for everyone.
OUR GOAL Recognize:Learn the different types of misconduct in volleyball. Reduce: Develop a strategy to ensure athlete well being. Respond: Know how to take action before there’s a problem.
Step One: RECOGNIZE What is Abuse & Misconduct?
What makes this challenge so complex is that the human element in volleyball – the bonds that exist between coaches and athletes, and among teammates – can sometimes cause confusion about what actions are acceptable and what cross the line.
That’s why recognizing and addressing misconduct in volleyball requires a team effort.
Six Areas of Misconduct & Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Bullying Hazing Harassment Emotional Misconduct Physical & Sexual Misconduct
What are the Guidelines Established for Each?
What Exactly Do These Terms Mean?
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE Child sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This category includes all sexual contact between an adult and a child as well as sexual contact that occurs through force or threat of force. A child is any participant under the age of 18. Sexual contact between an older child and a younger child can also be abusive when a significant disparity in age, development or size makes the younger child incapable of offering consent.
Preconceived notions about child sexual abuse can be an obstacle to recognizing potential offenders. Here are some common misconceptions: Abuse doesn’t happen in a team setting – Offenders can target children in both individual or group settings, and some of the early grooming behavior can occur around other people Offenders are males only – Although the majority of coaches are male, female coaches and administrators can be offenders Offenders are always adults – Older children commit one-third of child sexual abuse Married individuals aren’t offenders – Many men and women who commit child sexual abuse are married, often with children
CHARACTERISTICS OF SEX ABUSERS Offenders don’t fit any single profile; they can be any age and come from any background. Because volleyball offers easy access to potential targets, it’s important to be informed about the common characteristics of sex abusers.
In general, there are two categories of offenders: PREFERENTIAL SITUATIONAL
PREFERENTIAL Individuals in this category may be easier to identify because they follow a pattern: they typically pursue children of a specific age group or gender. Many child sex offenders have a spotty work history and create bonds with their targets through photography, pornography, or other materials not associated with a sport environment.
SITUATIONAL The behavior of situational offenders doesn’t follow a common pattern. Instead, these individuals often develop romantic and sexual relationships with children, who serve as a surrogate for adults. Situational offenders are drawn to younger victims, as they may be easier to manipulate or coerce than adults.
GROOMING PROCESS Offenders typically control their victims through a systematic process called “grooming” or seduction. Many offenders exploit a child’s vulnerabilities, using a combination of tactics to gain the victim’s trust, lower inhibitions, and gain cooperation and “consent.” Since the initial stages of the grooming process can occur in public or group settings, offenders also take care to groom the community, which makes it easier to gain the trust of staff and administrators.
The GROOMING PROCESS has SIX STEPS
Targeting the victim – An offender will identify a child and determine his or her vulnerabilities. Gaining trust – Through watching and gathering information about the child, an offender will become acquainted with a child’s needs. Filling a need – Offenders will often lavish gifts, extra attention, and affection to forge a bond with their victims. Isolating the child – By developing special relationship with the child, an offender creates situations in which her or she is alone with the child.
5.) Sexualizing the relationship – An offender will desensitize a child by talking to, taking photos of and even creating situations in which both the offender and victim are touching or naked. The adult then uses a child’s curiosity and feelings of stimulation to engage in sexual activity. 6.) Maintaining control – To ensure the child’s continued participation and silence, offenders can use secrecy and blame as well as other tactics; victims sometimes continue the relationship out of fear or shame at the thought of having to tell someone about the abuse.
GROOMING BEHAVIOR Since interactions between a predator and child can occur in sport settings around other people, coaches, staff members or volunteers are well positioned to witness grooming behavior. Therefore, it’s critical for all members of the sport community to be on the alert for policy violations, suspicious behavior, or other signals that an individual might be a sexual predator. Offenders will use tickling, wrestling, horseplay, photography and giving gifts to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable and form connections with their victims.
PEER-TO-PEER SEXUAL ABUSE Approximately 1/3 of all child sexual abuse occurs at the hands of other children, and the obligation to report extends to peer-to-peer child sexual abuse. Whether or not a sexual interaction between children constitutes child sexual abuse turns on the existence of an aggressor, the age difference between children, and or whether there is an imbalance of power or intellectual capabilities.
EFFECTS OF ABUSE In the short term, victims of child sexual abuse can experience sudden behavioral changes and withdrawal; they may also avoid the things they used to love. Victims may begin to have problems in school, develop eating disorders and react negatively to any kind of touching. In the years that follow abuse, victims may battle depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s common for victims to blame themselves for what occurred, and the incidence of substance abuse and suicide may increase.
What is Bullying, Hazing and Harassment?
Certain types of misconduct can occur among peers when coaches or staff isn’t present. What begins as harmless activity can quickly escalate to more serious incidents. The desire of individuals, especially younger athletes, to conform and belong to a team can be a contributing factor in these incidents.
BULLYING One of the greatest lessons athletes take away from volleyball is the experience of being on a team whereby coaches and individuals support one another. Actions that demean or intimidate athletes, either physically or emotionally, may affect performance and team cohesion. Although bullying often occurs among peers, coaches can set an example by implementing a zero-tolerance policy and emphasizing teamwork and mutual support. Giving athletes a way to report behavior without fear of reprisal is also important.
HAZING Being part of a team shouldn’t come with additional requirements that get in the way of enjoying volleyball. Hazing often starts as seemingly benign behavior but can become an issue if allowed to continue. Since hazing often occurs among peers, coaches and staff can send a strong anti-hazing message by promoting conditions that allow individuals to raise concerns or share information. In addition, most states have enacted legislation to discourage hazing and hold those who participate accountable, and these laws can provide additional structure to anti-hazing efforts.
HARASSMENT Volleyball is an incredibly constructive outlet for individuals, in part because athletes are judged solely on their abilities and performance. In this environment, hard work, persistence and improvement are the important characteristics. Harassment based on race, gender or sexual orientation affects team cohesion, performance and an individual’s ability to focus on building skills and enjoying competition. As with bullying and hazing, coaches and staff can create a supportive environment for volleyball by establishing a zero-tolerance policy.
EMOTIONAL MISCONDUCT Volleyball can help individuals build skills, making them stronger and more equipped to manage challenges. The wide range of emotions athletes experience in practice and competition is a normal and healthy component of volleyball. However, a coach’s or athlete’s repeated pattern of behavior that can inflict psychological or emotional harm has no place in volleyball. By gaining a complete understanding of the conduct that qualify as emotional misconduct, participants can be in a stronger position to take action.
PHYSICAL MISCONDUCT Almost all volleyball involves strenuous physical activity: in practices and competition, athletes regularly push themselves to the point of exhaustion. While these efforts are a necessary part of improving performance, any activity that physically harms an athlete – such as direct contact with coaches or teammates, disciplinary actions or punishment – is unacceptable. Physical misconduct can extend to areas such as inadequate recovery times for injuries and diet. One of the best ways to promote safe conditions is to understand exactly where the boundaries lie and take a team approach to monitoring athletes.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT The ability of volleyball to teach lessons that reach beyond the field of play depends on maintaining the bonds of trust, mentorship and mutual respect among teammates. All of these elements are undermined when sexual misconduct occurs in volleyball settings. Sexual misconduct includes sexual abuse, sexual harassment and rape. Every member of the volleyball community, especially adult staff in positions of authority, can contribute to a volleyball environment free from sexual misconduct by working together and being informed.
TAKE THE TRAINING! SafeSport offers a 90 minute online training course regarding misconduct in sport and the measures we can all take to protect athletes. Learning about the six types of misconduct is an important step to recognize, reduce and respond effectively to inappropriate and potential harmful behavior.
Why Take the Training? Addressing misconduct in volleyball depends on being prepared; educating yourself is an important step. The online training provides additional information and insight into the six areas of misconduct. Through SafeSport training, you can learn more about these types of behavior and the actions you can take to address misconduct in volleyball.
SAFESPORT TRAINING http://safesport.org/take-the-training/ IT IS THE POLICY of USA Volleyball that those participants who have direct contact to or supervision over minor participants, are responsible for enforcing child abuse and misconduct policies, are in managerial or supervisory roles of a USA Volleyball Member Program, and are new and current employees and/or volunteers of USA Volleyball Member Programs, are advised to complete the appropriate training about child physical and sexual abuse and other types of misconduct before having contact with youth participants.
How do I take the Training? It’s easy. Just go to www.safesport.org. Then click on the training link and you’ll be taken directly to the training registration page. By providing your information, you can start the training immediately. When you have completed the training, you will be issued a certificate of completion to give to your Club Director.
What Does the Online Training Cover? The online courses will educate you on the common risk factors in volleyball and suggest ways to protect athletes. By gaining a better understanding of the dynamics involved in certain situations, you can join the team of clubs, coaches, administrators and parents committed to creating safe conditions for sport.
Existing laws that govern employment, hazing and child abuse and neglect, among others, extend to sport settings, and Club Directors should factor this into their strategy. With this information, you can begin to craft and implement a strategy that creates a safe space for athletes. By empowering our members with effective tools and resources, we can work together to reduce misconduct in volleyball. Step Two: REDUCE BUILD YOUR PLAN An effective game plan starts with a thorough understanding of the risks your club must address.
IDENTIFY YOUR RISK One of the challenges of addressing misconduct in volleyball is the multitude of variables and components that contribute to a healthy setting. But before a club can develop an effective strategy, it needs to define the risks it faces across at least two areas:
1.) VOLLEYBALL SPECIFIC FACTORS The amount of physical handling required for coaching Volleyball’s professionally accepted training methods The extent of youth involvement (including youth athletes, referees, officials, and support staff) Where training and competition take place Travel away How the athletes and/or team travels The ages of the athletes and other volleyball participants Whether there is mixed-gender participation Whether there are mixed-age groupings
2.) JUNIOR CLUB FACTORS Club resources, including money, time, personnel, expertise, and qualifications The demographics of the club’s membership The size of the club’s membership The club’s governance documents The club’s strategy for implementing a safe sport program, including who will be responsible for setting and implementing policies and procedures.
CREATE YOUR STRATEGY An effective strategy for addressing misconduct in volleyball includes six components such as educating participants, implementing the necessary policies and procedures, and working together to practice and enforce them. The result is an approach that combines common-sense preventative measures with clear guidelines for coaches, staff, and volunteers. By dedicating the necessary time and resources, volleyball clubs can be prepared to deal with misconduct in a responsible manner.
If individuals are unaware or misinformed on the policies, they could fail to take actions that could prevent further abuse from occurring. A misconduct reporting policy provides direction to all participants and reinforces that the organization understands its duty and responsibility to create a safe and positive environment for athletes. Step Three: RESPOND It’s critical for volleyball clubs to provide clear direction to coaches, staff, and volunteers on how to respond to disclosures or reports of misconduct.
Participant Safety Handbooks Parents & Players Being committed to creating a safe & positive environment, each Club has established guidelines and policies for every adult member or volunteer of the club. A general overview of the Club’s safety strategies to reduce misconduct in volleyball & identifies the Club’s expectations. Coaches, Staff & Volunteers
THE BIGGIE! Implement Social Media & Electronic Communications Policy
PURPOSE We recognize the prevalence of electronic communication and social media in today’s world. Many of our student-athletes use these means as their primary method of communication. While the Club acknowledges the value of these methods of communication, the Club also realizes that there are associated risks that must be considered when adults use these methods to communicate with minors.
General Content All communications between a coach or other adult and an athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. The content and intent of all electronic communications must adhere to the USA Volleyball Code of Conduct regarding Athlete Protection.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND ELECTRONICCOMMUNICATIONS POLICY Policy All content between adult and player should be readily available to share with the public or families of the adult or player. If the player is under the age of 18, any email, text, social media or similar communication must also copy or include the player’s parents.
For example, as with any communication with an athlete, electronic communication should not contain or relate to any of the following: Drugs or alcohol use; Sexually-oriented conversation; sexually explicit language, sexual activity The adult’s personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues, or personal problems; and Inappropriate or sexually explicit pictures. Note: Any communication concerning an athlete’s personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues or personal problems must be transparent, accessible and professional.
Whether one is an athlete, coach, board member or parent, the guiding principle to always use in communication is to ask: “Is this communication something that someone else would find appropriate or acceptable in a face-to-face meeting?” or “Is this something you would be comfortable saying out loud to the intended recipient of your communication in front of the intended recipient’s parents, the coaching staff, the board or other athletes?”
FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, BLOGS AND SIMILAR SITES Coaches may have personal Facebook (or other social media site) pages, but they are not permitted to have any athlete member of the Club join their personal page as a “friend.” A coach should not accept any “friend” request from any athlete. In addition, the coach should remind the athlete that this is not permitted. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “private message” each other through Facebook. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “instant message” each other through Facebook chat or other IM methods. The club has an official Facebook page that athletes and their parents can “like” or “friend” for information and updates on team-related matters. Coaches are encouraged to set their pages to “private” to prevent athletes from accessing the coach’s personal information.
TWITTER Best Practice: The club has an official Twitter page that coaches, athletes and parents can follow for information and updates on team-related matters. Coaches are not permitted to follow athletes on Twitter. Likewise, athletes are not permitted to follow coaches on Twitter. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter. Alternative Option: Coaches and athletes may follow each other on Twitter. Coaches cannot retweet an athlete message post. Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter.
TEXTING Subject to the general guidelines mentioned above, texting is allowed between coaches and athletes during the hours from 7am until 10pm. Texting only shall be used for the purpose of communicating information directly related to team activities.
EMAIL Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate. When communicating with an athlete through email, a parent, another coach or a board member must also be copied.
REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that their child not be contacted by coaches through any form of electronic communications. Immediate compliance without repercussion must be granted.
Implement Club Travel Policy
Athletes are most vulnerable to misconduct during travel, particularly overnight stays. this includes a high risk of athlete-to-athletemisconduct.
Some travel involves only local travel to and from local practices and events while other travel involves overnight stays. Different policies should apply to these types of travel.
Local Travel A policy on local travel has been established and shared with all parents, athletes, coaches, staff members, and volunteers. The employees, coaches and/or volunteers of a club or one of its teams, who are also not acting as a parent, should not drive alone with an unrelated minor.
Local Travel It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure the person transporting the minor player maintains the proper safety and legal requirements, including but not limited to: a valid driver’s license, automobile liability insurance, a vehicle in safe working order, and compliance with applicable state laws.
Team Travel CLUB VB JRS Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangements with a minor player (unless the coach is the parent or relative of the player). At no time should only one adult be present in a room with minor players, regardless of gender. Individual meetings between a coach and a player may not occur in hotel sleeping rooms and must be held in public settings or with additional adults present, with at least one of those adults being the same gender as the player.
Team Travel The team will make every effort to accommodate reasonable parental requests when a child is away from home without a parent. No coach or chaperone shall at any time be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while performing their coaching and/or chaperoning duties. Prior to any travel, the club and/or coaches will endeavor to make players and parents aware of all expectations and rules. If disciplinary action against a player is required while the player is traveling without his/her parents, then except where immediate action is necessary, parents will be notified before any action is taken, or immediately after.
Supervision of Athletes & Participants During training and competition, the club should strive to create two-deep leadership and to minimize private one-on-one interactions to create a safe training environment.
Individual Training Sessions An individual training session(s) with an athlete or participant may also be desired or necessary. Under these circumstances, written permission of a minor athlete’s parents or guardians is required in advance of the individual training session(s), and the Club should encourage parents and guardians to attend the training session.
Individual Meetings: An individual meeting may be necessary to address an athlete’s concerns, training program, or competition. Under these circumstances, coaches, staff members and/or volunteers are to observe the following guidelines: Any individual meeting should occur when others are present and where interactions can be easily observed Where possible, an individual meeting should take place in a publicly visible and open area, such as the corner of a gym or pool deck If an individual meeting is to take place in an office, the door should remain unlocked and open If a closed-door meeting is necessary, the coach, staff member and/or volunteer must inform another coach, staff member and/or volunteer and ensure the door remains unlocked
Prohibited One-on One Interactions with Athlete or Participant Minor athletes and participants will not be left unattended or unsupervised during the Club’s activities. Except as set forth above, coaches, staff members, and volunteers are prohibited from being alone with an individual athlete or participant in any room or building.
Physical Contact with Athletes and Participants Appropriate physical contact – for safety, consolation and celebration – is a productive and inevitable part of sport. However, rules and boundaries for physical contact must be set to reduce the potential for misconduct in sport. Physical contact with athletes has multiple criteria in common which make them both safe and appropriate. These criteria include: the physical contact takes place in public no potential for physical or sexual intimacies during the physical contact the physical contact is for the benefit of the athlete, not to meet an emotional or other need of an adult
APPROPRIATE PHYSICAL CONTACT Physical contact is appropriate for safety, celebration and consolation. Examples of contact that may be appropriate include: Spotting an athlete or positioning an athlete’s body to more quickly acquire a skill Short hugs, pats on the back, or high-fives Arms around a shoulder (side hug).
PROHIBITEDPHYSICAL CONTACT WE NEVER… Physically discipline participants Ask athletes to sit on our laps “Cuddle” or maintain prolonged physical contact during any aspect of training, travel or overnight stay Touch athletes or participants in a sexual manner Touch an athlete’s or participant’s private parts.
Communicate Your Plan! Once a club has engaged in the hard work of developing and implementing its plan, the next step is for all participants to understand the policies and know what actions to take.
Reporting Responsibilities Coaches, staff members and volunteers are required to report suspicions of child physical and sexual abuse or any inappropriate behavior of a colleague or coworker. All questions or concerns related to inappropriate, suspicious or suspected grooming behavior should be directed to the Club’s administrators. If members of the volleyball community believe that a sexual interaction between a coach and child or among children has occurred, it should be reported it immediately.
Responding to Interactions While the Club has a formal reporting policy, staff members and volunteers should be prepared to respond immediately to inappropriate or harmful behavior, potential risk situations and potential boundary violations. Staff members and volunteers will redirect inappropriate behaviors to promote positive behaviors, confront inappropriate or harmful behaviors, and report behaviors if necessary.
Reporting Responsibilities You do not investigate suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of such allegations as a condition for reporting to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Reporting Responsibilities Club’s require every coach, staff member and volunteer to report: Violations of the Club’s Participant Safety Handbook, Misconduct as defined in the Club’s Athlete Protection Policy, Suspicions or allegations of child physical or sexual abuse.
What to do if a child reports? When a child makes allegations of sexual abuse, responding in an appropriate, constructive way can help achieve the best outcome. When a child takes the difficult step of reporting abuse, it’s critical not to judge the victim. Instead, getting professionals involved early and making counseling resources available, can support the healing process.
To Report Abuse USA Volleyball National Office CALL: 1-855-306-7775 Website Form: http://www.volleyballreftraining.com/SafeSport/safesport_report_abuse.html
Reporting Conduct & Policy Violations If any staff member and/or volunteer receives an allegation or observes misconduct or other inappropriate behavior, such as a policy violation that is not reportable to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, it is the responsibility of each staff member and/or volunteer to report their observations to: The Club Director, A Club Coach The Club’s SafeSport Representative The Region’s SafeSport Representative
SAFESPORT AMBASSADORS The Arizona Region Commissioner is appointing a representative to work along side region clubs to assist in developing a SafeSport Plan and to help communicate the importance of the SafeSport
SAFESPORT AMBASSADORS The Arizona Region SafeSport Ambassador shall serve as a local contact for SafeSport issues, communicating directly with the Arizona Region Volleyball SafeSport Chair and having access to all support services as provided by USA Volleyball. The Ambassador shall be the main point of contact for all Club communication regarding the SafeSport mission, including coordinating and facilitating educational materials and guidelines to local clubs and members, and other activities and functions that directly relate to the Arizona Region’s efforts to provide its members with safe, healthy and positive sport participation environments.
The Arizona Region’s SafeSport Ambassador Harold Cranswickwill serve as the direct contact with USA Volleyball & Chair the Arizona Region’s SafeSportProgram until the hiring of the Region’s SafeSport Ambassador Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 602-579-7590
MONITOR YOUR CLUB POLICIES Through reviews and discussions with participants, let your Club Director or SafeSport Ambassador determine what’s working and what can be improved.
Monitoring Methods Each Club should utilize multiple monitoring methods to observe how individuals are interacting, including without limitation Formal supervision, including regular evaluations; Informal supervision, including regular and random observation (e.g., roving and checking interactions throughout practices) Maintaining frequent contact with staff members, volunteer and athletes who interact off-site.
Head Coach Shall be Responsible for Monitoring His/Her Team That the team is being properly supervised That the team’s travel is conducted in accordance with the Club Travel Policy That all team electronic communications are in accordance with the Social Media and Mobile and Electronic Communications Policy
Club Directors Shall Monitor Their Personnel That the program’s coaches, officials, program administrators, support staff and other program volunteers and employees who will have routine access to minor participants, have completed the training in accordance with USA Volleyball guidelines prior to such persons beginning in their position or otherwise having access to youth/junior participants.
Statement of Acknowledgement and Agreement Club Directors are to make SafeSport Handbooks available for all coaches, staff, volunteers, players and parents for their review (either in print or posted on Club’s website). A signed statement of Acknowledgement & Agreement from participants should be maintained throughout the playing season.
The Arizona Region has a role to play in providing a healthy setting for our sport. We will treat all allegations of abuse or concerns regarding athlete safety seriously and will respond appropriately and as prescribed by the USA Volleyball policies. The Arizona Region has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for abuse and misconduct!
Want to make sport safer? Then join Make the Commitment: Stop Abuse in Sport, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s safe sport campaign.
Through free monthly newsletters, supporting resources and webinars, learn how clubs, coaches and parents can work together to stop child sexual abuse. Go to www.teamusa.org/stopabuse
MAKE THE COMMITMENT HOW ABOUT YOU? THE ARIZONA REGION OF USA VOLLEYBALL
WHERE YOUR GAME PLAN STARTS! www.safesport.org. ADDITIONAL INFO FOR CLUBS; COACHES; PARENTS; ATHLETES