When One on One is a Red Flag – Lessons from Sandusky – Lesson #3

Categories: Misc, Other

Abusers create opportunities to spend time alone with children.  If you minimize one adult – one child situations, you greatly reduce the risk of abuse.

One can easily conclude based on testimony from the trial that Sandusky spent an inordinate amount of time with children outside the presence of other adults or children.  Predators prefer spending time with children over adult interactions.  They will go out of there way to appear overly helpful to busy parents or a single parent.  Be very vigilant about anyone who seeks one on one time with your child.  Make sure any one on one time is in a public place and observable by others.  Choose group situations whenever possible. Pop in unexpectedly when your child is spending time with another adult.  This conveys the message that there is really no alone time.  Always ask your child how the time was and be sure they can describe what they did and how the time was with confidence.  Watch their mood for any signs of distress or discomfort after spending time with another adult or older youth.  Set a good example for children and other adults by avoiding one-adult, one-child situations with children other than your own.

Organizations should have policies that prohibit staff and volunteers from alone time with children that is not in a public space.  Open doors and/or windows in doors can allow discussions out of ear shot but still be observable.  Have clear rules for reporting violations to this rule.  Remember that we rarely catch abusers abusing, but we instead catch them breaking the rules.  Rules set clear expectations for employees and parents and create an environment where people can say, “That’s against the rules and is not allowed.”

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