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Sexual abuse is a tragic &
life-changing ordeal to go through. But it does not define the victim.

How 'banned' are banned coaches?

Coaches can play a significant role in the lives of young athletes. Unfortunately, instances sometimes arise of coaches using this trusted position to prey on the very people they are supposed to be helping. Athletes are sometimes subjected to sexual abuse by coaches.

There are various routes for bringing justice for victims and protection for athletes when it comes to coach abuse. In the criminal justice system, abusive coaches can face penalties for the harm they cause. Meanwhile, the civil justice system can provide victims of coach abuse with routes for compensation.

Also, sports organizations can take steps towards preventing abusive coaches from being in a position where they could abuse more athletes. One action sports organizations can take on this front is banning coaches. But how effective are these bans? A recent USA Today investigation suggests that the current effectiveness of such bans leaves a lot to be desired.

The investigation looked at coaching bans within the Olympic movement here in the United States. Among the things the investigation found were:

  • Multiple instances of coaches banned in connection to sexual misconduct continuing to coach in their respective sport
  • Lack of a cohesive warning system for parents regarding coaches who had been banned
  • That the USOC had historically taken a hand-off approach to tracking banned coaches, instead leaving it to the individual sports governing bodies
  • It being common for sports governing bodies to lack the expertise, resources and tools to properly track and follow up on banned coaches and respond to potential violations
  • It being rare for there to be much in the way of repercussions for violating bans
  • Continued shortcomings when it comes to lists of banned coaches
  • Lack of coordination among sports organizations when it comes to the issue of banned coaches

One wonders what types of steps the USOC, its various governing bodies and other U.S. sport organizations will take in the future to try to make coaching bans more effective. What would you like to see done in this regard?

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