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Safe Sport Safe Sport: Did You Know? USA Shooting has worked

with the U.S. Olympic Com- mittee to develop a policy and online training course called Safe Sport. We have recently updated the online training course with some additional information on sexual abuse that is impor- tant for all parents, athletes and coaches. The shooting sports are

a lifelong activity. Athletes learn gun safety, goal-set- ting, self-discipline, account- ability, good citizenship/ sportsmanship, time man- agement skills, etc. Sport participation, un-

fortunately, can also be a high-risk environment for misconduct. We have identi- fi ed six types of misconduct: emotional, physical, sexual, bullying, harassment and hazing. All forms of miscon- duct are intolerable and in direct confl ict with the Olym- pic Ideals.

Misconduct may dam- age an athlete’s psychologi- cal well-being. Athletes who have been mistreated ex- perience social embarrass- ment, emotional turmoil, psychological scars and loss of self-esteem. It negatively impacts on family, friends and the sport. Misconduct often hurts an athlete’s competitive performance and may cause him or her to drop out of shooting sports entirely.

USA Shooting is commit-

ted to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes. It also emphasizes

and sets forth standards of behavior that clearly outline unacceptable behaviors, minimize opportunities for misconduct and help to pre- vent unfounded allegations.

Disturbing Facts Here are some facts

about sex abuse that you do not hear about in the media: • A male abuser usually starts when they are 13 or 14 years old.

• They have abused an average of 150 boys and/or 52 girls by the time that they are caught.

• 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested be- fore the age of 18.

• On average, an abused child has tried seven times to alert an adult to suspicious behaviors before an adult investigates.

• Peer-to-peer abuse, the hardest to detect, has grown 300% in last decade and is mainly a learned be- havior from another sex abuser (usually a family member or friend).

• 95% of abusers have not been caught or convicted. Back- ground checks are a must, but background checks alone will not fi nd them.

Individuals who sexually

abuse and exploit children come from all walks of life and cannot be easily iden-

52 USA Shooting News | March 2015

tifi ed. It is essential to pay attention to behaviors and situations that present risk, rather than to focus on an individual’s appearance, character, marital status or relationship history. A well- liked individual that contrib- utes to their community is not exempt from having the capacity to sexually exploit or harm a child.

What is the profi le of an abuser? • Abusers go where the barriers are the low- est (churches, non- profi ts, etc.).

• Abusers: 85% are men and 15% are women.

• There is no “visu- al profi le” of a sex abuser. Abusers look for what the child “needs.” Child targets may often come from a broken family, may be involved in drugs and/or alcohol, look- ing for someone to fol- low/trust, or already interested in sex at a young age.

• Single parents are at high risk for an abus- er who wants access to their child. Abus- ers try to convince the parent/coach/ teacher that they are helpful, trustworthy and kind.

• Abusers usually know their victims in some capacity.

Grooming Abusers use a process called “grooming.” Groom- ing are techniques used by an offender to access and control potential child vic- tims. This process is used to gain the child’s trust and cooperation and is also used to gain the trust of the child’s family. Abusers use a combination of attention, af- fection, kindness, privileges, recognition, gifts, alcohol, drugs, pornography and/or money. The result is to lower inhibitions, increasing the chance of sexual abuse. Abusers use the groom-

ing process to: • Reduce the likelihood of the abuse being de- tected;

• Gain prolonged ac- cess to and control of the child;

• Manipulate the per- ceptions of other adults around the child;

• Manipulate the child into becoming a coop- erative participant;

• Normalize inappropri- ate behavior;

• Reduce the likelihood of a disclosure

• Coerce the child into believing that he or she instigated the ac- tivity and is in control of the activity.

Grooming is often a slow, gradual and escalating pro- cess of building trust and comfort with a child. It usu- ally begins with subtle be- haviors that do not appear

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