From the JVA Office: Making Safety a Priority


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JVA Mission: To promote the growth of youth and junior volleyball through program and resource development, education and events.

JVA Guiding Principles
Member Driven
Player Welfare
Affordability and Financial Responsibility
Transparency
Best Practices

JVA focuses its effort 100% on juniors 100% of the time: to provide resources to help club directors and coaches run their business and manage their teams with the athletes' best interests in mind.

Safety of our youth is an extremely important focus in the news, in political discussions, among school meetings, and at the dinner table. The JVA is also prioritizing the safety of the junior volleyball athletes to provide the proper resources and have specific guidelines in place regarding this issue. Here is how the JVA is addressing the safety of the junior athletes participating, training, and competing in volleyball this season.

Safe Sport Act S.534

The Safe Sport Act passed in February 2017, and expands existing mandated youth abuse reporting laws and requires abuse awareness training for youth sports organizations. It comes in response to the recent abuse scandals that have shaken the youth sports world. 

With the new law, it's important to educate coaches, directors, players and parents that it exists. Some youth sports organizations may not be aware of its passing. Others are, understandably, confused as to what it means to them or how they should proceed to be in compliance.

We address answers to many of the questions associated with the passing of the Safe Sport Act below and explain how JVA is taking action.

S.534 - Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, amended the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, federal criminal code, and Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

How does this relate to the Junior Volleyball Association?
Under section 220530, "Other amateur sports organizations", the JVA and our member clubs must do the following:

  1. Comply with reporting procedures of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990
  2. Establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between an athlete who is a minor and an adult.
  3. Offer and provide training to all adult members

Read through the entire ruling HERE.

Q&A below is taken from recent article by Josh Opiola, SportsEngine's Director of Risk Management:

What about local clubs that don't compete against international or out-of-state teams, does the SafeSport Authorization Act still apply to them?
It does. Because you have adults working with youth. And even though you do not have an affiliation with a national governing body or do not have any international or interstate travel, the law still requires you to follow the Safe Sport act requirements, which include abuse awareness training and, the biggest change, which now declares that coaches are mandated reporters.

What does being a Mandated Reporter mean?
According to what the Safe Sport Act says, if you see or hear a report of any form of abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, mental or any other type of abuse you are required to report that abuse within a 24-hour period.

Who in an organization is considered a Mandated Reporter?
The Safe Sport Act expands the list of individuals required to report child sexual abuse. Now, it is likely any adult who is authorized to interact with youth athletes will be required to report suspicions of abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agencies within 24 hours.

What does the "Confidential Notifications" component of this mean?
The Act requires organizations to provide a "mechanism for communication" for all participants and volunteers where they can confidentially report incidents of abuse, or suspicion of abuse.

What happens if suspected abuse isn't reported?
They are not in adherence to the mandatory reporting requirements of the Act, and there could be criminal or civil charges.

Are youth organizations now required by law to have staff members undergo certain types of training?
Yes. You are now required to go through abuse prevention training of some sort. 

What other preventative measures can organizations take?
You still need to do a comprehensive background check. It is an absolute must at all levels – the bare minimum of due diligence. It is part of this safety package, if you will, that is going to help ensure that your organization is doing a couple of things. One, you are ensuring that you are getting the right coaches, the ones who should be there, with the right character. Once they get in there, you are now going to train those individuals to be on the lookout for these other incidents. That combination is going to be a very comprehensive abuse prevention strategy, as opposed to a safety strategy. That's the goal, to prevent the incidents that we have all heard in the news from happening again.

What is JVA doing to abide by this law?
The JVA is now REQUIRING all members, and anyone on rosters at JVA sanctioned events, to complete the National Center of Safety Initiatives (NCSI) background screen, and Abuse Prevention Systems (APS) training, if you have not completed the USAV background screen and Safe Sport training.

It is important to the JVA that our members and their athletes are in a safe environment, and educated on how to create this safe environment.

National Center for Safety Initiative (NCSI)

NCSI is the official background screening of the JVA. NCSI has long been trusted by our nation's premiere sport governing bodies, the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) and thousands of other grass roots sports programs. These organizations trust NCSI because of their history of pioneering national standards and advancing the quality of background screenings in the youth and sports community (as stated on NCSI's website).

The NCSI screen is $20. It is good for 2 years and there is an automatic re-check after the 1st yr. NCSI screen includes the following:

  • SSN Validation
  • National Criminal Database Searches
  • OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) Database Search
  • SOR (Sex Offender Registry)
  • Real Time County Records Search for the longest county of residence in the last 5 years.

Abuse Prevention Systems (APS)

The cost for the APS training is $5 and, along with the NCSI background screen, needs to be repeated every two years.

The requirement for consistent training related to prevention of sexual abuse may be the most significant element of the Safe Sport Act. If 20 million American adults are trained to understand the offender's grooming process through the training requirements of the Safe Sport Act, 20 million sets of eyes will be better equipped to recognize predatory behaviors before a child is victimized.

Not only do adults need to be educated and know what is right and wrong, but it's important for the athletes to understand how to avoid being vulnerable in uncomfortable situations. It is imperative for both coaches and athletes to be informed. APS also has a safe sport training for athletes and their parents. This training will be made available to all our member clubs to share with their families. The cost is very minimal and is a small price to pay to bring awareness and education to our athletes. JVA will be sharing information on this important program in the next few months.

JVA is in consultation with our legal advisor and NCSI to develop information for member clubs on how to put a reporting mechanism in place in each club and to JVA as an association.

Related reading on the Safe Sport Act - Click HERE. Q&A from this article was referenced above.

To begin the JVA Background Screen application and APS training, CLICK HERE. This will fulfill your JVA requirements. Note: The APS training is still under-going some minor improvements and it is recommended that directors and coaches wait until 10/22 to begin.


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