March 15, 2018
Dear District Administrators and Local League Officials,
Protecting every Little Leaguer® in each division of our program is the highest priority. To this end, Little League® International strives to provide tools and share information that will educate all of our volunteers on Little League's best practices; and the extended legal obligations set forth by law.
To this end, we bring to your attention Senate Bill 534, known as the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. This bill has been signed into law and is currently in effect.
In short, the law makes it the duty and responsibility of all U.S. amateur sports organizations, which participate in an interstate or international amateur competition, including Little League Baseball and Softball, to report suspected sex-abuse to local or federal law enforcement, or to a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department, within 24 hours. Failure to report is subject to criminal penalties. Volunteers of youth sports programs are required to file such a report, and those who fail to report any suspected sexual abuse are subject to criminal penalties. Additionally, the law extends the statute of limitations for victims to bring a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator and allows a claim for punitive damages.
The law designates the U.S. Center for SafeSport as the independent national safe sport organization. This designation includes the responsibility for developing policies and procedures to prevent emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of amateur athletes. The new law also modifies the obligations of both U.S. Olympic Committee National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and amateur athletic organizations, such Little League Baseball and Softball.
Amateur Athletic Organizations must:
1) comply with the reporting requirements of the Victims of Child Abuse Act,
2) establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between athletes who are minors and an adult,
3) offer and provide consistent training to members who are in contact with minors,
4) prohibit retaliation against the victim or reporting party.
Little League International has maintained a child protection program for many years. The specifics of this program can be found within the Little League Rule Book within the Operating Policies section. This program addresses the same principles outlined in the new law but are currently being reviewed to determine how best to strengthen them and further support the goal of keeping our children safe.
View the Senate Bill and SafeSport Fact Sheet for more information on Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. For more information about the U.S. Center for SafeSport or to file a report, visit SafeSport.org.
Little League International will continue to keep all its volunteers apprised of developments regarding SafeSport and any future changes to our program to provide additional training and education, so that all Little League programs can offer a safe, welcoming atmosphere for families.
Complete information about the Little League Child Protection Program, including the updated background check regulation - I (c) 8 and 9 - and J.D. Palatine (JDP) online background resources for local league volunteers, are available at LittleLeague.org.
As always, thank you for your volunteer service to the families of your district and leagues.
Stephen D. Keener
President and Chief Executive Officer
This email was sent by: Little League International
539 US Highway 15 S. Williamsport, PA, 17702, US