Child Abuse Prevention Month provides organizations with an opportunity to examine their abuse prevention practices. Last week, we focused on policies and screening, this week we turn our attention to abuse prevention training and monitoring and supervision practices.
Training to Prevent Sexual Abuse
To prevent sexual abuse, we must ensure that we provide our staff and volunteers with the necessary knowledge and skills. Comprehensive abuse prevention training – that extends beyond mandated reporting – not only allows individuals to learn about the organization’s abuse prevention policies, but it also helps to deepen the culture of safety.
Training should be an ongoing process and conversation, not a one-time event at new hire orientation. At minimum, we want to ensure that employees receive annual abuse prevention refresher trainings to keep topics in the forefront of their minds.
Train EVERYONE at your organization on the following:
- Your organization’s policies
- How offenders operate
- How to recognize high risk activities and areas (for both adult-to-youth and peer-to-peer abuse)
- How to report policy violations, suspicions, and concerns
- How to report allegations or incidents of abuse
- How to prevent false allegations
Monitoring and Supervision
Monitoring and supervision serve as critical components in protecting children, employees/volunteers, and the organization. At Praesidium, we think of Monitoring and Supervision in these ways:
- Supervising Staff and Volunteers
- Supervising Youth
- Monitoring High Risk Activities
- Monitoring Facilities
When employees and volunteers are monitored, potential abusers are less likely to act on their impulses because they face detection. Similarly, allegations of any impropriety or wrongful act are more easily and accurately investigated and resolved. When youth are properly supervised, they are less likely to act out sexually. For high risk activities, we recommend specific, written policies and procedures to ensure that youth are adequately supervised and that one-on-one situations between adults and youth are limited. The monitoring of facilities can be done in a variety of ways – but here are a couple of tips for setting up a system to monitor your facility:
- If possible, always know who is in your building through a check-in and check-out system.
- Keep unused rooms locked and keep windows unobstructed.
- Use cameras wisely. Cameras aren’t going to prevent abuse, but they can deter abuse if people know they are being watched.
- Create a checklist for a manager-on-duty or monitor-on-duty to complete on a scheduled yet varied time schedule. Ensure this checklist includes your high-risk locations like – bathrooms, locker rooms, stairwells, out-of-the-way rooms. Then, make sure this checklist is used in a consistent manner.
If you would like additional information about our training or our monitoring and supervision guidelines (i.e. bathroom procedures, field trip procedures, how to work with mixed ages groups, etc.) please let us know!