On March 3, 2017, several U.S. senators proudly introduced legislation detailing requirements of amateur athletic organizations to report any suspicion or evidence of sexual abuse to local and/or federal authorities. This bill, called the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017, is expressly a response to recent allegations of sexual abuse on the U.S. amateur gymnastics team and the inadequate responses of many athletic organizations regarding sexual assault and abuse claims.
While this Act has not been signed into law as of the writing of this post, this is an important first step in addressing the lag time between allegations and official reporting, as well as cultures on some athletic teams of being permissive in regard to sexual abuse. You can read the full text of the Act here.
CANRA specifies the current California reporting regulations
In California, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, or CANRA, is the current statute that mandates reporting by any official that comes into contact with minors regularly. This means that “mandated reporters,” such as teachers, clergy, and others must notify the appropriate authorities if they become aware that a child is being abused sexually or otherwise, or is genuinely neglected. CANRA was signed into law as California Penal Code §§ 11164-11174.3 in 1980, and has been revised since. In 2014, CANRA was amended to include a more specific definition of sexual abuse that included sexual exploitation of a minor.
According to CANRA, “mandated reporters” are those that come into contact with minors regularly. Coaches and athletic directors are not always required to report, although educators are. If you are concerned about sexual abuse of minors or other types of mistreatment of children in California athletic organizations, it is best to contact a Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney.
Title IX is about more than proliferation of women’s sports teams
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 mandates that no sex discrimination exist at institutions receiving federal funds. Typically, Title IX is associated with the uptick in women’s sports, especially at the college level. But there are other important pieces of Title IX, as well. The NCAA interprets it as a mandate to athletics staff that they are required to report incidences of sexual assault.
According to the NCAA’s Handbook on Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence, “athletics staff members are required to report any suspected or alleged sexual violence or harassment immediately to appropriate campus offices for resolution; the athletics department is not the appropriate staff to adjudicate a reported case of sexual assault.”
The scope of the problem is great; there have been, and continue to be, lawsuits surrounding reporting, as in the cases of Baylor University and Penn State. While new legislation seeks to protect minors participating in athletics, there remain issues at the college and university level.
If you have been sexually abused or assaulted in California by a person in an athletic organization, you deserve justice. In the Los Angeles area, the law firm of Taylor & Ring has an excellent reputation for discreetly handling sexual abuse and assault cases. Call our offices at 310-776-6390 or use our contact form.
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