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Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Tools for Organizations

Screening of Staff and Volunteers

Many organizations make the mistake of assuming that screening is synonymous with criminal background checks. Background checks are not an end-all. Because so few cases of sexual abuse are reported, and even fewer prosecuted, the yield tends to be fairly low with background checks. Therefore, organizations should make sure that criminal background checks are not the core of child protection policy, since they alone are insufficient to protect children. On the other hand, organizations should not minimize the importance of including criminal background checks in the screening process. Many liability insurers require them. Furthermore, if an abuse allegation occurs in an organization and criminal background checks have not been done, the organization is potentially exposed legally. More... 

Policy Regarding Isolated, One-On-One Situations

Clear guidelines should be established for isolated, one-on-one situations. Many organizations strictly prohibit one-on-one time under any circumstances. However, for organizations that address the needs of children and adolescents, one-on-one mentoring/tutoring/support is often considered important to a child’s development. If this is the case for an organization, very specific "rules" about such one-on-one time should be clearly articulated. More... 

Prevention Training for Staff and Volunteers

A good child protection policy should require training that brings awareness about child sexual abuse and shifts adult attitudes about whom is responsible for protecting children and what actions might be taken to protect children. Training is the key component of changing and improving people's attitudes and behaviors about what it means to keep children safe. Training in a group setting is also an excellent way to put everyone, including potential perpetrators, on notice that your organization takes prevention seriously and is not a place that will be easy for a perpetrator to fly under the radar. More... 

Plan for Reporting Suspected Abuse

Organizations should clearly articulate policy about how reports of suspected sexual abuse should be made and processed. The policy should include specific information about to whom an initial report is made, in what format, and expectations about how the process will unfold. The policy should also be absolutely clear about the fact that staff should never investigate allegations. Investigation should be left up to the proper authorities. More...

Read the Centers for Disease Control's Getting Started on Policies and Procedures