IMPACT Boston is thrilled to announce that we are headed into the exciting world of adaptive sports. We were recently one of 11 programs in the country to be awarded a grant from Raliance, a national organization dedicated to preventing sexual violence. IMPACT will develop sexual abuse prevention programming and model policies for adaptive sports organizations that address the unique realities of athletic organizations for people with disabilities. We will be partnering with Spaulding Adaptive Sports and AccesSportAmerica to develop this curriculum, which we hope will have a measurable impact in athlete safety from abuse in adaptive sports around the country.
Founded in 2015 through a multimillion dollar seed investment by the National Football League, Raliance is a national collaborative committed to ending sexual violence in one generation. Its collaborators include the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)–PreventConnect. This grant program is, according to Raliance, “the third round of an ongoing grant program seeking to advance projects, strategies or policies that improve responses to victims, reduce the likelihood of perpetration of sexual violence and strengthen communities’ capacity to create safe environments.”1
More information about the other grantees and their inspiring projects can be found here.
IMPACT’s vision is to create a multi-session sexual abuse prevention curriculum geared toward coaches, volunteers, and staff of adaptive sports programs. The curriculum will be created by the IMPACT team using input from adaptive sports coaches, staff, and athletes from Spaulding and AccesSportAmerica, whom we are thrilled to collaborate with on this project. By drawing from our existing curriculum that addresses topics ranging from understanding trauma to engaging in challenging conversations, and integrating the ideas/feedback of adaptive sports staff and athletes, we aspire to develop a curriculum that will be engaging, impactful, and relevant across adaptive sports.
When IMPACT developed our IMPACT:Ability curriculum in 2010, we were looking to address the prevalence of sexual abuse perpetrated against people with intellectual disabilities, which research shows is up to 10 times higher than the rates among people without disabilities. And since the power dynamic that exists in athletics between the coach and athlete combined with other factors puts athletes at risk of abuse and in a difficult position to challenge it (as we’ve seen time and again in the news), it follows that adaptive sports would have its own unique risk factors to address. Prevention efforts aimed specifically at adaptive sports, however, appear to be lacking—which is why IMPACT is excited to create a curriculum designed to address the specific challenges and risk factors faced by adaptive sports athletes in preventing sexual abuse.
We’ll be jumping into this this month—be sure to read our newsletter for updates as the year progresses!