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Local sports clubs say they're left on their own to protect young athletes from abuse

This story is the second of a three-part series by CBC News and Sports on abuse in amateur sport in Canada. Read the first story here. Brian Jessup hasn't put on his figure skates in years. They belong to a chapter in his life that he has desperately tried to forget."I was robbed of being able to have a normal life and being successful," he said. "That opportunity was taken away from me."Jessup, 48, came to figure skating relatively late, at age 10, but picked up the sport easily, and in the 1980s, was one of Ontario's up-and-coming stars. "I had huge aspirations and goals. I wanted to be the best in the world," he said.Things changed when Jessup was just 12 years old, and he said his coach, Kevin Hicks, a former top Canadian skater himself, began to sexually abuse him.It continued for six years.Brian Jessup started figure skating at age 10, and was once touted as an up-and-coming star in Ontario. (Brian Jessup)"He was in complete control of not only my skating career but my life as well," said Jessup. He made Jessup feel "that I would be nothing if he wasn't part of my life. And he was quick to remind me of that, often."A joint investigation by CBC News and Sports has revealed Jessup was one of more than 600 minors in Canada who had been a victim of a sexual offence by a coach, and whose abuser was charged in the last 20 years.Jessup left skating when he was 19, without telling anybody what had happened. Tormented by his experience, Jessup ended up abusing drugs and alcohol for two decades, until he found the strength to tell his family and, ultimately, the police.Hicks was arrested in 2012 and later convicted of one count of sexual assault on Jessup and three additional counts of sexual assault on another skater (whose name is protected by a publication ban). Jessup said back in the 1980s and '90s, nobody talked openly about sexual abuse, and there were certainly no resources in place in his local club for vulnerable athletes. More than two decades after Jessup was victimized, local sports clubs and associations across Canada are largely left on their own to develop and implement policies to root out problem coaches and protect athletes.In some case, local cubs and leagues may have different rules and policies that vary across the country, with little guidance from their national sports bodies.And that means some young athletes are left in precarious situations. Watch Brian Jessup share his story on The National : Brian Jessup is one of the victims of predatory coaches in Canada's amateur sports system. An investigation by CBC News and Sports has revealed hundreds of coaches have been charged with a sexual offence against a minor in the last 20 years. 6:23'National level has limited oversight'Sexual abuse in sports has been on the federal government's radar recently. A number of high-profile sexual assault complaints involving national team coaches prompted federal sports minister Kirsty Duncan to announce new rules. Beginning in 2020, sport organizations that receive federal funding must have a policy in place to address abuse and provide mandatory training to their members. They must also report incidents of abuse directly to the minister, and will be required to make an independent third party available to hear athlete-abuse allegations. It's something athletes from a number of national teams have been pushing for.These are good ideas that will help athletes competing at a national level, experts say, but they question what they will do for the hundreds of thousands of Canadian athletes who don't compete in sport at the elite level.Noni Classen, the director of education at the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection, has been asked by many clubs and sport organizations to advise on best practices for child safety. She is concerned by the "chaotic" hierarchy in sport, where "no one has authority over anything." * If you would like to access victim support services, click here for a directory of resources in your area​ Classen said national sport organizations (NSOs) may have great policies on paper, but have little way of effectively communicating rules and codes of conduct about the way a coach should interact with ...Read more

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