Page 21

Special Article



mchiIa sfral[ enjoy special protection, ami sfral[ be gWen opportunities amifaci!ities, by raw ami by otmr means, to ena6{e him to c£evefop

physica£[y, menta£[y, moral[y, spiritual[y anasocia£[y in a healthy ana norma{ manner ana in conaitions of freeaom ana aignity. In the enactment of raws for this purpose the best interests of the chiM shal[ be the paramount consicferation. Principle 2 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, November 20, 1959

CHILD ABUSE IN YOUTH SPORTS This document has been prepared and compiled by the United States Gymnastics Federation staff, its volunteers, committee members and athletes, under the guidance and supervision of numerous professionals who are directly involved with children and the sexual abuse issue. It is the hope of the USGF that this document will help assist our coaches, athletes, clubs and members to deal with one of the most sensitive social issues of today. Special thanks to the Baltimore County Dept. of Social Services for their pre-publication review.

HHS Part 1340.2, defines the term "sexual abuse" as including the follOwing activities under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm: • the employment, use, persuasion, ind ucement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct (or any simulation of such conduct) for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or • the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children. With respect to the definition of sexual abuse, the term "child" or "children" means any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen.

Elements Involved in Child Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse Situations 1. The major characteristics of sexual abuse are:

SEXUAL ABUSE IN YOUTH SPORTS Sexual abuse is emerging as one of the major forms of child abuse. Throughout the late 1970's, official reports of sexual abuse began to increase at a rate much more rapidly than that experienced with reports of any other form of abuse. The number of reported cases each year in the United States continues to increase. However, for each case of sexual abuse that is reported, it is estimated that ten cases go unreported. Sexual abuse of children, in the broadest sense, encompasses a wide range of behavior including fondling, forcible and statutory rape/sexual intercourse with a minor, oral sex, genital exposure and exhibitionism, inappropriate kissing, sexual assault, commercial exploitation of children in pornography, pedophilia, and incest. In the Code of Federal Regulations, Public Welfare, the Office of Human Development Services, TECHNIQUE May 1992


3. 4.


a. The acts involve children and are of a sexual nature in that they give the perpetrator a sense of sexual stimulation and/ or gratification. b. The acts are considered inappropriate by society. c. The adults have a substantial advantage in authority, power and sexual sophistication over their child partners. These advantages usually grow out of a preexisting relationship the offender has with the child. For the most part, sexual abusers have an easy access to their victims. A sexual abuser is a person usually in a position of authority. The abuser uses that authority to take advantage and to control an individual markedly younger and less powerful. In a sexual abuse situation, the child does not have the freedom to say yes or no. There is no such thing as a consenting child in matters of sexual abuse. The child lacks the capacity to decide matters of long range consequence. The financial cost society bears to deal with the results of child abuse is enormous. The cost in human suffering and wasted individual potential is immeasurable.


Technique Magazine - May 1992