Safe4Athletes is a passionate advocate and non-profit organization started by Kathleen Starr. She wishes to push for athlete welfare where every athlete is provided a safe and positive environment free of sexual abuse, bullying and harassment.

And she knows the pain and embarrassment that comes with training in an environment that is not free of sexual abuse. As a two-time Olympian in 1984 and 1988, she had been raped and repeatedly sexually abused by her Olympic swim coach. But she has channeled those emotions and experiences to create a comprehensive organization fueled by a powerful board of directors, advisers, members and consultants.

The mission of Safe4Athletes is to:

1. Advocate for and help sports organizations adopt effective policies, procedures and educational programs that are designed to prevent coach, volunteer and peer misconduct whether it be sexual, bullying, harassment or other forms of inappropriate behaviors.

2. Assist sports organizations faced with situations involving sexual misconduct, bullying, harassment and other forms of inappropriate conduct on how to handle these situations appropriately and act quickly to restore safe environments for athletes.

3. Provide a safe and confidential place where abused athletes, their parents or others concerned about the impact of coach/volunteer/peer misconduct can call to:

talk to other athletes who have been through similar situations;
be referred to professional counselors who can provide psychological or other assistance;
get advice on how to communicate with their local sports organization and national sports governing body so appropriate proceedings can be initiated to investigate, adjudicate and, if necessary, remove the offending coach or sport leader from his or her position before others can be hurt; and/or
help their sports organization find model policies, procedures, educational programs and advice on how to prevent and to deal with such situations.

4. Encourage and help educate all parents and athletes to be more aware of what they can do to recognize inappropriate coach/volunteer/peer behavior and understand how traumatic the effects of such experiences can be for athletes.

5. Partner with state, regional, and national sports governing associations and other national sports organizations to encourage the adoption of legislation mandating that their members adopt strong policies, procedures and educational programs regarding this issue.

For more information, visit Safe4Athletes.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source