LOS ANGELES, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Global Sports Development and Childhelp announced the Blow the Whistle on Child Abuse campaign to educate the public about what they can do to prevent child abuse in sports and protect young athletes. Olympic medalist Kathy Johnson Clarke, who discovered that two of her fellow elite gymnasts had been abused by their coaches, will spearhead the national education campaign that will provide educators, parents and kids with tips and information to ensure children are in a secure environment that will allow them to reach their ultimate potential.
"It is time for the youth sports community to once and for all take action to ensure the safety of every child," said Kathy Johnson Clarke. "The Blow the Whistle on Child Abuse campaign can help parents, coaches, educators and kids stop abuse in sports and I am so pleased to team up with Childhelp and Global Sports Development because every child deserves a secure and safe environment in which to dream big and reach their full potential."
The campaign, which will promote the safe physical, emotional educational and spiritual development of youth athletes, will include a curriculum for parents, coaches and teachers featuring key safety techniques; posters for locker rooms and classrooms with tips on what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior; brochures explaining signs of abuse and how to report abuse to the proper authorities; advocacy tools to communicate with elected officials; materials for parents to send to school districts to persuade them to get involved; and worksheets and activities for educators to use with kids.
Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Executive Board Member of Global Sports Development, said "Sports and play have the power to prepare the next generation to be successful, responsible, global citizens, but only if kids are in a safe environment. We are extremely proud to partner with Childhelp on this campaign to end child abuse in sports. Through education and action, we can provide parents and educators with the tools they need to provide kids with the protection they deserve."
According to research and studies, coaches are second only to teachers in their frequency of sexual misconduct and those coaches who perpetrate are often highly qualified and well respected in their sport. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator. A recent Notre Dame study found that 8% of coaches acknowledged encouraging their athletes to hurt opponents, 33% yelled at players for making mistakes, and 20% made fun of a team member with limited skills.
Sara O'Meara, Chairman & CEO of Childhelp, said "Recent stories about abuse in youth athletics are just scratching the surface of this worldwide problem and the Blow the Whistle on Child Abuse campaign will spur action that can help the world end the problem. The sound of a whistle breaks through the silence and sends a signal that it is time to get off the sidelines and eliminate abuse in sports for good."
For more information on the Blow the Whistle on Child Abuse campaign or to set up an interview with Kathy Johnson Clarke, please contact Lisa Cohen at 310-395-2544 or [email protected].
For 53 years, Childhelp has brought the light of hope and healing into the lives of countless children. CEO and Co-Founder Sara O'Meara and President and Co-Founder Yvonne Fedderson started Childhelp in 1959, establishing it as a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect and at-risk children. Childhelp's approach focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD®, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and receives calls from throughout the United States, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Childhelp's programs and services also include residential treatment services; children's advocacy centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes and child abuse prevention, education and training. Childhelp also created the Childhelp National Day of Hope®, held each April during National Child Abuse Prevention Month that mobilizes people across America to join the fight against child abuse. For more information about Childhelp, please call 480-922-8212 or visit www.childhelp.org.
About Global Sports Development
Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development supports programs that promote sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world's youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth in areas where the risk of delinquency is particularly high. Visit www.globalsportsdevelopment.org to learn more.
SOURCE Global Sports Development