Dear U.S. Soccer Organization Members:
This message is to flag a new piece of legislation that affects many of our members. We are sending it to our organizational member list because many of you may meet the definition of “covered individuals” in this new legislation, and could, therefore, impact your organization. Please read it carefully, and watch for additional updates, including at the upcoming April Member Meetings, for more information from U.S. Soccer on this important topic. This summary is not intended to supplant the need to review the statute and we urge our members to reach out with questions. In addition, you may also wish to consult your own counsel regarding how this new law will impact your organization.
On February 14, 2018, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law and became effective immediately. The legislation is available for download at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/534. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has released a fact sheet about the legislation which can be found at https://www.safesport.org/files/details/72.
In addition to the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s factsheet, which provides information regarding the entire law, we wanted to provide additional detail on the specific mandatory reporting of child abuse requirements included in the new legislation because these requirements may impact you immediately:
- The bill amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to extend the duty to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours to all adults who are authorized to interact with minor or amateur athletes by a national governing body, a member of a national governing body, or an amateur sports organization that participates in interstate or international amateur athletic competition. These individuals are called “covered individuals” in the new legislation.
- Child abuse is defined as physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment of a child.
- Per current federal regulations, reports of child abuse should be made to the local law enforcement agency or local child protective services agency that has jurisdiction to investigate reports of child abuse or to protect child abuse victims or to the FBI. These regulations have not yet been updated to reflect the recent change in the law. Until such time as the regulations are updated, U.S. Soccer will make reports to (1) local law enforcement where any alleged incident took place to the extent it can be determined and the incident occurred in the United States, (2) local law enforcement where the victim resides if different than (1), and (3) the FBI.
- An individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties including fines and up to one (1) year in jail.
- These obligations are in addition to any State law requirements that an individual may have in a particular jurisdiction.
If you make a report of child abuse to law enforcement, please also communicate this report to the U.S. Soccer integrity hotline at https://www.ussoccer.com/integrity-hotline or (312) 528-7004 and the U.S. Center for SafeSport at https://safesport.org/response-resolution/report. As a reminder, as a member or affiliate of U.S. Soccer, you may be subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport under certain circumstances. The Center serves an important investigatory and remedial function where law enforcement may choose or be unable to act.
Very Truly Yours.