Special Olympics International and the Beau Biden Foundation launch initiative to help strengthen protections of vulnerable from abuse

Panel members watching a young athlete speak behind the National Press Club podium.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 28, 2018: Special Olympics International and the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children are launching Operation Safeguard, a new initiative to advance and strengthen the protection of people with intellectual disabilities from physical and sexual abuse.

The safety and protection of Special Olympics Athletes is our number one priority—a priority that should be constantly addressed through innovation, collaboration and improvement. Operation Safeguard brings together two partners—Special Olympics International and the Beau Biden Foundation—with one vision: a world where people with intellectual disabilities can be their best—fully included, free from exclusion, fully protected, free from sexual and physical abuse.
Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics

"Together with Special Olympics, we are fighting to protect the most vulnerable among us, and we are fighting for those who so often do not have a voice to fight for themselves,” said Hallie Biden, Chairwoman of the Beau Biden Foundation. “The Beau Biden Foundation team has years of experience training and developing child safety policies and is fully prepared to help Special Olympics ensure the highest standard of protection for its athletes."

The multi-year initiative will include the review and update of policies, procedures and processes; improvement of incident reporting and tracking; the creation of new trainings for staff and volunteers; a summit on the protection of vulnerable individuals including key stakeholders; and engagement with the law enforcement community as a key partner in protecting athletes. The first phase of the initiative is expected to completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

People with intellectual disabilities, particularly children, are much more likely to be physically and sexually abused. This initiative will enhance awareness of the problem and the best-practice solutions to physical and sexual abuse of all people with ID.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Microsoft, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.

About Beau Biden Foundation

The Beau Biden Foundation for the of Children (BBF) was established after the passing of Beau Biden, Delaware’s 44th Attorney General. The Foundation proudly carries on his mission to protect children from the threat of abuse—either at the hands of a predator or a peer. The Foundation believes that child abuse can be prevented through effectively educating adults and children, developing the next generation of child welfare professionals, and strengthening child protection laws around the country. The Beau Biden Foundation’s focus on prevention education presents programming to adults in recognizing the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse and ways to react responsibly. The Foundation also works with children to educate them in good digital citizenship, Internet safety, and bully prevention. Additionally, BBF partners with youth-serving organizations to assess and improve their child protection policies, procedures, and programming. The Beau Biden Foundation runs its programming in fifteen states. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.beaubidenfoundation.org. Follow the Beau Biden Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@BeauBidenFdn).

Media Contact

Mark Daley
Special Olympics
P: (202) 824-0389
mjdaley@specialolympics.org

Dan Sanchez
Beau Biden Foundation
P: (302) 494-8984
dan@beaubidenfoundation.org