SafeSport: Five Tips for Parents

By SafeSport | March 29, 2018, 3:47 p.m. (ET)
USA Volleyball is committed to fostering a fun, healthy and safe environment for all its members. We must recognize the safety of our minors lies with all those involved in the sport and is not the sole responsibility of any one person at a club, regional or national level. Learn more on our SafeSport website.

  1. Education is the most important tool for combating misconduct. Look for resources that can help you understand how abuse occurs and what you can do about it. You should be able to recognize signs of grooming behavior and boundary violations, and what to do when you suspect a child’s safety is at risk.

  2. It is important to establish healthy boundaries between athletes and coaches, and have clear expectations about the coach’s role. A coach can often serve as a teacher, a mentor or a role model for a young person. A coach is not an athlete’s friend, peer or romantic partner. Teams and youth sport organizations should spell out prohibited behaviors to ensure strong and safe boundaries between adults and athletes.

  3. For misconduct to take place, an offender needs privacy, access and control. One way to reduce the risk for abuse is to design strategies for addressing these high-risk areas, which include travel, locker rooms and electronic communications. Teams should adopt policies that spell out expectations and create boundaries.

  4. If you recognize questionable behaviors, say something! Your youth sports organization should designate someone – a coach, the team administration or a parent advocate – who is there to hear your concerns or take a report of inappropriate behavior. Make sure that everyone knows that person.

  5. Physical and sexual misconduct can be a hard topic for parents to talk about with their children. Having these conversations is extremely important in helping prevent your child from becoming a victim of abuse. Having ongoing and open conversations with children about their bodies and appropriate boundaries will make it easier for them to talk to you if anyone is making them feel uncomfortable.