All youth sports organizations should be committed to providing their young athletes with the safest and healthiest environment.
The terrifying sex abuse statistics should not be ignored:
- 90% of abusers are people that children knew and trusted
- 1 in 10 children will be victims of sexual abuse by the time they are 18
- Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States; more than 20-percent of these reports involve sexual abuse
While the topic of sexual abuse is an uncomfortable conversation to have, ignoring its reality and existence can lead to horrible outcomes. This is why youth sports organizations prepare for the worst by implementing a screening process for all their volunteers and coaches.
Running background checks on volunteers is necessary to avoid the potential consequences. For many youth activities, those in charge are volunteers. And while the intentions of the majority of them are good, it’s also questionable to an extent why these adults would be willing to give up their time to spend with kids.
One of the best tools that youth sports leaders have to protect their young athletes is a background check that involves the adult’s criminal record, driving record, a record for substance abuse, and any cases against them. While these criminal background checks are not 100% guaranteed to weed out predators, they can dramatically reduce the risk of someone getting involved in your youth league that shouldn’t be.
By making background checks mandatory, you’re already scaring off any predators who have a prior record. And those who refuse to undergo a background check will raise red flags. Those who have nothing to hide should have no problems with their backgrounds being checked. These checks will reveal if they are on the “sex offenders” list and if they’ve ever had issues such as assault, theft, drug offenses, and other criminal offenses.
Background checks are not just performed on coaches and volunteers but on all people involved in the organization, including managers and other hired workers who will be working in proximity to the children.
Some youth sports organizations may argue that they have limited budgets to run full background checks. However, as proven, it’s better to invest in a background check than run the risk of inviting a predator into your environment. The children’s safety should always be the top priority.