Stop It Now! and USA Gymnastics Team Up to Keep Children Safe

Stop It Now! has been selected by USA Gymnastics to offer information, guidance and resources on child sexual abuse prevention to its members through the Clubs Care Campaign. In their announcement, Steve Penny, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics noted that  "Promoting a safe environment for our athletes continues to be a top priority for USA Gymnastics."

Here are steps you can take to keep athletes safe:

  1. Read why background checks and reporting are not enough
  2. Prepare to answer questions about sexual safety
  3. Get trained in prevention!
  4. Learn how to talk about concerns
  5. Use our warning sign and prevention tip sheets
  6. Buy materials to display & distribute
  7. Read our Ask Now! Advice column for help with actual situations
  8. Contact our confidential Helpline

1. Read why background checks and reporting are not enough

Criminal background checks only list people who have been prosecuted and found guilty.   Since most child sexual abuse is not reported, this is a very low bar. Learn more about backgound checks

2. Prepare to answer questions about sexual safety.

Our Tip Sheet 9 Questions Parents Need to Ask educates parents about what clubs should be doing to create safe environments for all athletes.  If you're a club owner, make sure your staff who interact with children and families can answer to these questions. If the questions identify gaps and weaknesses in your policies and practices, make a plan to improve them.  Contact Stop It Now! if you need more help to bring your policies and practices in line.

If you're a parent, take the time to ask these questions of all organizations you entrust to care for your child.  Proactively share the questions and your answers with parents. Encourage parents to hold all youth serving organizations responsible for having comprehensive policies and practices.

3. Get trained on child sexual abuse prevention!

Participate in a Stop It Now! webinar or training to learn practical steps to help you keep children safe.  See archived webinars or check into training for your organization. 

4. Learn how to talk about concerns

Purchase our “Let’s Talk” guidebook and distribute it to everyone in your organization.  Create an atmosphere where everyone is empowered to speak up if they see or hear any concerning or worrying interactions with children or youth. Also, consider signing up for our workshop series called “Creating Circles of Safety”.

5. Use our warning sign and prevention tip sheets

It is really hard for us to believe that someone we know and like can also be sexually inappropriate or abusive with children.  It can also be hard to believe that some children can be sexually inappropriate or abusive with other children.  Learn about Age-Appropriate Sexual Behaviors between children and Signs of a Child who has been Sexually Abused. Pay special attention to warning signs of what to watch out for when adults are with children so you can recognize concerning behaviors and take action early before a child is harmed.

Get tips for how to talk to children not just about child sexual abuse but also about sex and sexuality. Our Sexual Safety in Sports: Talking about Coaches who Show Inappropriate Interest in Children specifically addresses boundaries in sports.

Once you've checked these out, get in touch with us about how you can share these in your club or community.

6.Buy materials to display & distribute

Visit our Online Store to purchase posters, tip sheets, and tip cards.  Make your commitment to creating a safe environment visible by displaying tip cards or posters and distributing tip sheets. With information on how to recognize warning sign behaviors or how to create a family safety plani, these resources provide practical information that can help all adults take action to keep children safe from sexual abuse. 

7. Read our Ask Now! Advice column for help with actual situations

Read Helpline guidance on real situations in the Ask Now! advice column.  Ask Now! offers facts, guidance and resources to keep kids safe from sexual abuse.  Read this example of a question about a coach's behavior.

8. Contact our confidential Helpline

Let your staff and parents know about the Stop It Now! online and phone Help Services (1.888.PREVENT).  If you are worried about a situation but aren’t sure what to do to contact our confidential Help Services to explore options and get other resources. Our trained professionals offer the balanced information, practical resources and support needed to explore concerns and determine what actions adults can take to keep children safe. If needed, we have information about how to make a report and what you can do when you’ve made a report and nothing has happened.