This may be the last week of Child Abuse Prevention month, but at Praesidium, we know that preventing abuse is something that must be top of mind each and every day for everyone in your organization. This week, we take a look at the final two operations of Praesidium’s Safety Equation: Responding and Administrative Practices.
In our work across industries, our experts frequently find that organizations are well versed and familiar with their reporting requirements as outlined my mandatory reporting laws. However, at Praesidium, we have intentionally named our seventh operation ‘Responding’ as opposed to ‘Reporting’. Reporting is important and individuals often have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that reports of suspected abuse are made to authorities who are trained to investigate and protect. However, when we focus on responding, we expand the scope to ensure that all staff, supervisors, and volunteers own and understand their responsibility beyond mandated reporting. Our best practices in responding emphasize three key areas:
- How to respond to red flag behaviors and policy violations
- How to respond to concerns or incidents of peer-to-peer inappropriate interactions
- How to respond to allegations or incidents of abuse and neglect
If we truly want to be effective in preventing abuse, we must ensure that all staff, employees, volunteers and involved adults know how to respond when they observe red flags or policy violations. Organizations must be equipped to respond early and appropriately: by taking each concern seriously but being careful not to over-react.
Administrative Practices is the eighth and final operation of the Praesidium Safety Equation – this is the glue that holds all of the concepts from the previous operations together. In this operation, we focus on utilizing organizational leadership to ensure that the policies and procedures are followed across all programs and departments. For example, this ensures that appropriate screening and selection processes are in place and followed, and the organization adjusts and allocates the necessary resources or support. Leadership – including your Board of Directors – must see to it that programs and departments comply with all policies and procedures and that drift from established standards is quickly remedied. Here are a few questions to consider when looking at this operation within your organization:
- Do like programs run and operate alike?
- Is abuse risk management and prevention a recognized function of your board of directors?
- Does your organization have systems in place to recognize and respond to drift from standards?
- Does someone (or a committee) own and oversee consumer protection?