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to be inappropriate, and that may, in fact, suggest that the individual is very good with children. Many people who have experienced child sex- ual abuse do not recognize the grooming process as it is happening, nor do they realize that this process of manipulation is part of the overall abuse. Abusers are “grooming” the victim by: • testing barriers (how far can they get each time they meet).


• sexual discussions and joking.


• “playful” touching and “accidental” nudity.


• cultivating when nu- dity is acceptable.


• providing magazines/ movies depicting nu- dity and sex.


What can you do? As parents, coaches, club


staff and volunteers, when approached by a child: • It’s important to close- ly examine any com- ments children may make about an un- usual experience with an adult. Although these comments may sound silly or strange to you initially, keep in mind that children don’t always know the adult terms to ac- curately describe new experiences.


• If you are approached by a child and they ask, ”Can you keep a secret?” Your answer


should be ”Not if it hurts a child.” This tells the child that you want to protect them and you are not violat- ing their trust. If they pull back, then you need to investigate.


• Be careful how you respond to a victim who may have expe- rienced sex abuse. Reminding the victim that you believe him/ her and that it is not his/her fault is an ap- propriate way to re- spond.


• Never respond with “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” This makes the victim feel like the abuse was his or her fault and it’s not.


• Child sex abusers often target youth whose parents ap- pear uninvolved. Help protect your child by being an active par- ticipant in his or her athletic experience.


• Go to practices and games. You’ll be able to get to know the staff and moni- tor their treatment of children.


• Talk to your child about being on the team. If he or she does not like it, fi nd out why. It may indi- cate a more serious problem or concern.


• Help children set boundaries. Teach them they have the right to be treated with respect, even by adults.


• Empower youth to say “no.” Let them know it’s okay to stand up to anyone who makes them feel confused or uncomfortable. Use role-playing scenarios to practice this skill.


• Speak up. Address suspicious behaviors by speaking with the team’s coach. If the issue remains unre- solved, discuss your concerns with the organization’s admin- istration, even if your child is not the one being affected.


• Report it. Contact lo- cal law enforcement with suspicions of child sexual abuse im- mediately.


In Olympic-style shoot-


ing sports, we have not ex- perienced the multi-million dollar lawsuits that other sports have. This does not mean that abuse is not hap- pening in our sport. Be pro- active, create a policy and procedure, provide training and let the public know that your club has raised the bar to protect your kids from abuse. Abusers will look elsewhere for easier targets.


*Statistics provided by


Love & Norris, Attorneys at Law, Fort Worth, Texas. www.AbusePreventionSys- tems.com


For more information on USA Shooting’s Safe Sport policy and training, visit: http://www.brainshark.com/usashooting/SafeSportTrngPublic


March 2015 | USA Shooting News 53


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