Our athletes’ safety and well-being are our priority, which means providing support and resources wherever possible for our athletes. USA Gymnastics is expanding the information available for all of our athletes and members on our website. We wanted to ensure our athletes and their parents are aware of the resources that are available there, especially on the safe sport page, and at usagymparents.com.
Resources for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Their Loved Ones
Sexual abuse – whether the abuse happened to someone when they were a child or an adult, long ago or recently – is a traumatic life experience that can often leave a person and her/his loved ones feeling lost and confused about what to do. USA Gymnastics is committed to fostering an empowered culture where our members and their families have the information they need to speak up and report abuse if it happens and access the services they need to recover from it. The information below is to help survivors and those who care for them begin or continue on their journey of healing.

For survivors of abuse
  1. Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that affects people differently. Counseling after any trauma is highly recommended. Traditional approaches typically address the manifestations of the trauma, such as depression, anxiety or addiction; however, new research shows that “trauma-focused therapies” deal directly with the trauma itself. When seeking a therapist, asking about his/her training in trauma-focused therapies and how long he/she has been doing that type of therapy is perfectly appropriate.
  2. In addition to counseling, survivors – and quite often their loved ones – find support groups a helpful addition to their healing process.
  3. Experts highly recommend that a survivor seek medical attention, regardless of how recently or long ago the abuse occurred. If the abuse occurred recently (in the past few days), a medical exam may allow for collection of physical evidence to assist the police investigation; test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy; examine for physical injury; and provide other medical care and/or medications that might be needed. The recommendation that a survivor visit a physician is to make sure she/he receives the medical care she/he may need related to what happened.
For others who learn about the abuse
  1. Any “covered individual” who has a reasonable suspicion or knowledge of child sexual abuse must report it to local law enforcement within 24 hours. Not only is this a requirement for USA Gymnastics membership, but it is also federal law.
  2. After reporting a reasonable suspicion or knowledge of child sexual abuse to local law enforcement, a “covered individual” must also notify the U.S. Center for SafeSport at https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?SafeSport&layout_id=0. This too is a USA Gymnastics membership requirement and mandated by federal law.
The following organizations can help identify resources.
  • Athlete Assistance Fund. Established by the National Gymnastics Foundation, the Athlete Assistance Fund provides financial resources for and access to counseling and related services for any current or former gymnast who was a member of USA Gymnastics and suffered sexual abuse within the sport of gymnastics. Eligible athletes may apply for assistance by visiting www.phpaafund.org, which is administered by PHP Management Systems.
  • National Children’s Alliance. NCA represents the national network of Child Advocacy Centers (CAC). CACs host a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child protective services, victim advocates and mental health practitioners who investigate instances of child abuse and neglect. Visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org for more information.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline. This national hotline serves people affected by sexual violence. To search for local centers, visit www.rainn.org or call the hotline phone number, 800.656.HOPE.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention LifeLine provides a national network of 160 local crisis centers and provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for help.
USA Gymnastics remains committed to creating a culture that empowers and supports athletes. The organization has and will continue to take specific and concrete steps to promote athlete safety and prevent future abuse by vigorously enforcing the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy, which requires mandatory reporting, defines six types of misconduct, sets standards to prohibit grooming behavior and prevent inappropriate interaction, and establishes greater accountability.