Sexual Abuse Prevention
THE RISK OF SEXUAL ABUSE IS REAL
Many organizations make use of background checks to help ensure their employees and volunteers are fit to serve children and youth.
While background checks are helpful, Church Mutual recommends that they not serve as the sole means of applicant screening.
The solution? A comprehensive system that meets legal standards of care and reduces the risk of sexual abuse through preventative measures tailored to your organization's unique needs. We have partnered with MinistrySafe® | Abuse Prevention Systems® and Trusted Employees to help you take proactive steps in reducing the risk of child sexual abuse.
The issue of sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is a highly sensitive topic with far-reaching implications and devastating outcomes. Victims and organizations alike are often left reeling in the wake of abuse. Recognizing the serious nature of the issue is the first step toward reducing the risk.
Help protect children from sexual abuse series
While awareness and knowledge of the risk of sexual abuse are good places to start, Church Mutual wants you and your organization to have a solid system in place that provides layers of coverage.
The following assessment is meant to provide you with a starting point to discover strengths and weaknesses related to the risk of sexual abuse and establish how effective, well-thought-out prevention can keep your people safe:
Every state in the United States has laws requiring adults to report suspected or alleged abuse, neglect, or maltreatment of a child to the appropriate child protective agencies. Do you know the laws that apply in your state? The following information will help you determine when and to whom a report should be made.
What can you do to establish an all-encompassing safety system? We’re glad you asked!
- Establish effective policies and procedures (click here) »
Policies and procedures serve as a deterrent. They demonstrate a recognition and awareness of the risk, which makes your organization a less attractive target for those with bad intentions. Having effective policies and procedures in place also shows there are levels of accountability and enforcement within your organization. Showing new hire candidates or potential volunteers your organization's policies and procedures reinforces your recognition and awareness of the risk, as well as the level of accountability and consequences.
You may be wondering what the difference is between effective and inadequate policies and procedures. Some helpful questions to ask include:
- Is everyone – including leadership, staff and volunteers – aware that the policies and procedures exist?
- Do the policies and procedures fit your organization's needs and are they consistently followed?
- Are your policies and procedures extensive or restrictive to the point that many simply disregard them?
By answering these questions, you can determine whether you need to revisit your existing policies and procedures. However, it's also important to keep in mind that policies and procedures are not surefire solutions. Ultimately, a comprehensive system is needed to help reduce the risk.
- Conduct background checks and implement screening processes (click here) »
In today's society, background checking prospective employees and volunteers has become a legal standard of care. It's important to tailor your background checks to specific positions, especially those working with children in a less structured or less easily supervised environment. You should also run background checks on an annual basis for all employees and volunteers to identify potential risks. To learn more, check out our article on the Basics of Background Checks.
At the same time, Church Mutual recognizes that background checks are not a standalone solution. You need to implement a screening process that helps your organization differentiate between risky applicants and those who are qualified to serve. While background checks catch the obvious, a screening process provides your organization with the knowledge and ability to recognize high-risk responses on applications, reference forms and during an interview.
- Administer training and reinforce protective measures (click here) »
You have a responsibility to provide a standard of care to children and youth put in your trust. Awareness training is an essential element in proving a standard of care and reducing the risk of sexual abuse. Everyone serving children in your organization should participate in and complete awareness training every year. Your training program should include elements that develop individuals' skills in identifying predatory behaviors such as grooming of victims and gatekeepers.
It's also necessary to monitor training progress. Recognizing those who have completed the training, and appropriate follow-up with those who have not, proves that your organization is taking steps to provide a reasonable standard of care. This helps reinforce your organization's stance regarding the seriousness of the issue and the protective measures you have in place to reduce the risk.
Reliable solutions to help reduce the risk
Church Mutual has teamed up with MinistrySafe | Abuse Prevention Systems and Trusted Employees to address the risk of sexual abuse. These partners offer Church Mutual policyholders discounted pricing on tools, resources and programs to reduce the risk, such as trainings, background checks and more.
Not a Church Mutual policyholder? Find out how you can become a customer today.
Live Events: Addressing the Risk of Sexual Abuse
MinistrySafe | Abuse Prevention Systems is offering a FREE online child abuse prevention workshop.
Click here to access the online workshop.