Kempe Innovative Designs was recently awarded the opportunity to assist the athletic programs of the United States Olympic Committee. The Kempe Center’s Kasey Matz, MA and her team will be designing, developing and testing new training materials for sexual, physical and emotional abuse identification, investigation and prevention in amateur athletic programs.
This effort will be supported by funding through the SMART FY 2018 Keep Young Athletes Safe grant program developed under direction of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). This program furthers the Department’s mission of reducing sexual violence by supporting an entity to provide oversight of the United States Olympic Committee, each national governing body, and each Paralympic sports organization with regard to safeguarding amateur athletes against abuse, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse in sports.
In January 2018, a U.S. House of Representatives committee opened an investigation into sexual abuse in organized sports in response to the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar. His abuse of more than 150 women and girls, as well as reports of sexual misconduct allegations in the Taekwondo community and allegations of sexual abuse from former U.S. swimmers, led to the commitment for action. In its announcement, the committee noted the “abhorrent abuses” associated with Nassar’s case, the U.S. Taekwondo athletes and U.S. swimmer allegations, and raised concerns about whether the United States Olympic Committee had sufficient oversight mechanisms to protect its athletes from abuse and mistreatment.
In February 2018, Congress passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, designed to extend the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities. There are 47 U.S. Olympic organizations across the country that require oversight on these fronts provided by an outside organization with expertise in preventing and investigating all forms of abuse.
The award to Kempe will support developing necessary educational materials, investigatory tools, training programs and policies that can prevent abuse, and work to address abuse, once identified.