Darkness to Light has a great educational resource called “The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children”;
Step 1: Learn The Facts: Realities, Not Trust, Should Influence Your Decisions Regarding Children
Step 2: Minimize Opportunity: If you eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations between children and adults, and children and other youth, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
Step 3: Talk About It: Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by (parents) talking openly about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.
Step 4: Recognize The Signs: Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for.
Step 5: React Responsibly: DISCLOSURE of sexual abuse means a child has chosen you as the person he or she trusts enough to tell. It is the moment when children learn whether others can be trusted to stand up for them.
One more point. Clubs should not discourage parents from watching practice. The more transparency the better.
Our competitive gymnasts are amongst the best protected children. But we could do even better.
On a related topic Nicole Bard has advice for parents in a post titled …
1. Open Floor Plan
3. Proper Conduct Training and Policies