Recently, some of the nation’s most celebrated and decorated women gymnasts offered their testimony about the sexual abuse they often suffered as children, at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
These brave athletes were failed by USA Gymnastics and a system that has continued to ignore the abuse of children. Reports of sexual misconduct by the USA Gymnastics former doctor Larry Nassar were known by his former employers and coworkers decades before he became a Team USA doctor. Far too many institutions knowingly harbor predators and don’t do enough to protect the children in their care.
Mandatory reporting is critical in protecting youth athletes and children. Educating and equipping those that work directly with children with the proper tools and resources to identify and report abuse is the backbone of our work at the Beau Biden Foundation.
We implore every youth-serving organization to work with us to create and institute child abuse prevention policies and procedures – and react responsibility to reports of child abuse.
We must change the system — not hide behind it. Children who are victims of abuse are rarely able to advocate for themselves at the time the abuse is going on. It is of critical importance for adults to intervene.
Public education and having child abuse prevention policies and procedures are critical in protecting children. These women reported their abuse to adults in the organization, and all those people failed them.
As we often say, the keys to protecting children from abuse are not complicated. They are not controversial, nor are they hard to implement.
Victims need to be given a voice and supported when they use that voice. No child should ever live in fear. It is our responsibility as adults to protect children.
Learn more about how youth-serving organizations can help protect children at www.BeauBidenFoundation.org/ShieldOfProtection.