Bipartisan legislation that U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped introduce and pass in the Senate last fall to protect amateur athletes from sexual abuse passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act would require amateur athletics governing bodies to report sex-abuse allegations immediately to law enforcement or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department.
Donnelly said, “We have heard from countless athletes about the horrible abuse they have endured. We have a responsibility to ensure that these abuses never happen again. This bipartisan bill would help prevent the sexual abuse of athletes and require prompt reporting of abuse to authorities. I’m proud to have helped introduce and move this legislation forward and am pleased it has passed the House.”
The bill would amend the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented.
The bill also would reform the law that allows victims to sue sex-crime perpetrators by extending the statute of limitations because it’s often difficult for children to recognize that they have had crimes committed against them until much later on into adulthood.
The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), National Children’s Alliance, Rights4Girls, University of Utah Law Professor Paul Cassell, Child Sex Crime Victims’ Lawyer James Marsh, Crime Victims Expert Steve Twist, National Crime Victims Center, National Association of VOCA Administrators, Child USA, National Organization for Victim Assistance, ToPrevail, ChampionWomen, National Children Advocacy Center, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
The legislation is also supported by organizations within the Olympic movement, including the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the National Governing Body Council and the United States Center for Safe Sport.