Are Athletic Organizations Required to Report Sexual Abuse?

July 10, 2022

Yes. Athletic organizations have a legal duty to report sexual abuse. Many coaches and professional athletes have been accused and convicted of sexual assault or abuse in recent years. According to studies, between 14% and 29% of amateur and pro athletes have experienced some form of sexual abuse before 18.

Unfortunately, schools, sports leagues, and athletic organizations have frequently failed to investigate and report credible sexual abuse allegations, and sports programs have covered up or intentionally ignored sex crimes by athletes, who normally receive preferential treatment from teams, schools, and even the police. 

Are There Laws in Place for Reporting Sexual Abuse in Sports?

Under the California Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), which passed in 1980, mandated reporters are legally obligated to report reasonably suspected or known cases of child neglect or abuse. These mandated reporters include people who regularly work with minors under 18 years old, such as:

Besides CANRA, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Sport Authorization Act (Safe Sport Act), which passed in 2018, is also designed to protect athletes from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. The Safe Sport Act also created new training and reporting requirements for sports organizations.

Under this act, if a school’s athletic team has minor children and conducts interstate activities requiring traveling, the team’s personnel are considered mandatory reporters. It states that all mandatory reporters who have reason to suspect any kind of child abuse must comply with the reporting requirements of their state and report it to the police within 24 hours.

How Sexual Abuse in Sports Occur

Various studies regarding sexual abuse in sports found that abusers utilize a wide variety of tactics to achieve their malicious goals. These devious tactics are used to gradually establish a relationship based on “trust” between the abuser, which is often an individual in a position of authority, and a minor athlete.

Over time, the boundaries of this relationship are crossed, resulting in sexual abuse. The tactics used by sexual abusers are intended to force or persuade young athletes to have sexual relations with them. They will do everything in their power to intimidate and scare the young athlete into cooperating with them and ensuring that the situation is kept secret. This strategy reflects how much power a coach can have over child athletes.

Connect with an Experienced Ventura Sexual Abuse Injury Lawyer Now

Many different negative consequences result from young athletes being sexually abused. They commonly experience shame, isolation, social embarrassment, self-esteem issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and various mental disorders. They may even lose focus on training, a decline in performance, or abandon their sport altogether.

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse, please do not hesitate to reach out to Bamieh & De Smeth. Get in touch with our Ventura sexual abuse lawyer and schedule your free case review by calling our office at 805-643-5555 or reaching us online.