This week we have the great honor of attending the Childhelp National Day of Hope Luncheon in Washington, D.C. April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and this event provides the opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of individuals and organizations in the on-going fight to end child abuse.
NATIONAL DAY OF HOPE LUNCHEON
This luncheon is instrumental in bringing together child abuse prevention activists and members of congress to discuss new advancements in child abuse prevention efforts. Esther Lofgren, Olympic Rower and GSD Champion Ambassador, will be joining us for the event. She will speak on the subject of child abuse, particularly in sport. Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will serve as Co-Chairs for the luncheon. 2014 Award recipients include Origami Owl, who will be presented with Childhelp’s Corporate award, and Childhelp’s“Voice of the Children” award will be presented to Cynthia G. Wright, a prosecutor for the Special Victim’s Unit of the U.S. attorney’s office.
GSD SUPPORTS CHILDHELP
We have long been a supporter of Childhelp, most notably underwriting their program “Blow the Whistle on Child Abuse.” This education initiative exists to promote the safe physical, emotional, educational and spiritual development of youth athletes. The program is also designed to aid coaches, educators and parents in providing secure environments where children can reach their ultimate potential.
Some facts and stats on child abuse in sport (taken from Childhelp’s website):
- Abuse occurs in all sports.
- Studies indicate 40% to 50% of athletes have experienced anything from mild harassment to severe abuse.
- Research suggests that sexual abuse in sports impacts between 2% to 8% of all athletes.
- 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way so coaching staff, assistants, parent helpers, other athletes and anyone who comes in contact with a victimized child must be considered.
- Indicators of possible abuse in sports include (but are not limited to): missing practices, illness, loss of interest, withdrawing and a child performing significantly below his/her abilities.
- Child abuse occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. When people think “not in our school’s athletic program; not in this religious league; not amongst my people; and not on a team in this neighborhood” they contribute to a culture of denial where predators are protected.
We believe this type of program is essential in reducing the occurrence of abuse of young athletes. “While the month of April helps spotlight the issue of child abuse, our goal in working with Childhelp is to create safe environments for children every day of the year,” says David Ulich, executive board member for GSD.
Esther, who has attended this luncheon in the past and volunteers much of her time to enhancing the sport community, agrees. “Child abuse in the U.S. and around the world is an extremely serious and growing problem, and is unfortunately far more prevalent than we think. In the sports community, abuse of young athletes is a serious issue. As an Ambassador for the Global Sports Foundation, I’m proud to stand with other Olympic athletes who support at-risk athletes in our sports, and to support the ongoing development of the USOC’s new SafeSport program. Young athletes who are sexually, physically, and mentally abused need the athletic community to be educated about the signs of abuse and to be willing to support and prevent this from happening. Childhelp’s work and the awareness created by the National Day of Hope enable discussion, education, prevention, and the hope that one day, no athlete or child will have to decide between their Olympic dream or safety.”
Photo Credit: Make a Difference Photography