The Delaware-based Beau Biden Foundation is teaming up with Special Olympics to better protect athletes and others with intellectual disabilities.
In light of high-profile cases of abuse — whether by college football coaches or Olympic gymnastics trainers — Special Olympics International is moving to reduce the risk of abuse for their athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“People with intellectual disabilities are amongst the most victimized people on Earth,” Olympics chairman Tim Shriver said.
With more than 5 million athletes and sports partnerships in 172 countries, the Special Olympics organization faces some challenges in protecting athletes.
“We’ve seen this around the country, organization after organization finding themselves on their heels when it comes to protecting their members … We resolve to be on our front foot, to do everything we can, to stop at nothing to put safety at the center of our mission,” Shriver said. The goal is “to be the best at protecting people with intellectual disabilities.”
The Special Olympics partnership with the Beau Biden Foundation will provide training for Special Olympics workers. The foundation will also review athlete protection procedures and help Special Olympics develop best practices to screen and educate volunteers.
The foundation was created after former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s death in 2015 with a mission to protect children. Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, chairs the foundation. Beau Biden is a son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“One in 10 children will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18, children and young adults with disabilities suffer abuse at three times that rate,” Hallie Biden said. “Six in 10 children will never report their abuse because, nine times out of 10, they’re abused by someone they know, love or trust.”
Shriver said the partnership will help the organization protect those with intellectual disabilities, continuing the transformation in the way people with intellectual disabilities are treated.