Child abuse at shared facilities

stop child abuse

Child abuse at most youth organizations fall into two categories:

  • Staff-to-child abuse (both on site or off site), and
  • Child-to-child abuse (usually occurring in the bathrooms). At after-school programs held in shared, multiple-use facilities, we have a third category: strangers or people affiliated with other organizations coming into the facility.

Here are a couple examples of events that have occurred:

Three youth organizations combined their funds to build a larger facility than any of them could afford on their own. One evening during a basketball tournament, a local resident unaffiliated with any of the programs entered the building and walked into the boy's dressing room. Luckily, a staff member stopped him and noticed he was carrying a digital camera. A local police officer attending the tournament recognized the person as a convicted child molester. Thankfully, tragedy was averted.

One youth organization operated an after-school program at a school. Most of the activities focused on helping with homework and using the gym. One of the school's teachers was supposed to be providing one-on-one tutoring, but was actually molesting the youth.

At another after-school program conducted at a school, a teenaged girl was raped in a bathroom by a high school boy who was not affiliated with the program. She had gone alone to a bathroom located down the hall from the organization's assigned area.


These events raise some important questions:

  • How can you prevent strangers—both youth and adults—from entering your building?
  • How do you monitor and secure bathrooms, dressing rooms, and other common areas?
  • What are your procedures for releasing youth to people outside your own program?
  • Do you always get parental permission before releasing youth to others?

Supervising shared facilities brings new challenges. It’s important to work together with all the organizations that use your facility to develop your security plan. Your facility may need modifications and increased security, and you may need to provide additional training for staff and youth.

stop child abuse
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
Was this helpful?