Protect your organization's reputation and assets

Background Check

A sexual abuse allegation against your organization can be costly. In addition to tying up financial resources, these allegations can damage your public image and long-term survival. One way to minimize the risk of sexual abuse allegations is through careful screening and selection of employees and volunteers.

The following practices are recommended:

  • Conduct thorough background checks on everyone who will have any interaction with children under age 18 and mentally/physically disabled adults, including part-timers and volunteers.
  • Clearly communicate your expectations of the position, including what constitutes unacceptable behavior.
  • Always conduct an in-person interview.
Based on a review of sexual abuse allegations reported to Markel, your organization should consider
implementing the following policies:

  • Maintain vigilant supervision during field trips and other offsite activities. Supervisors should keep their group in visual contact at all times.
  • Coach staff to be on the lookout for bullying and romantic exchanges between youth, and to be prepared to intervene.
  • Establish a bathroom usage policy governing the amount of time spent in a bathroom to reduce the opportunity for abuse to occur in a concealed environment.
  • Reinforce that there is no such thing as a consensual relationship with a minor. Issue educational materials stating that a conviction of this illegal behavior can result in an extensive prison term, national publicity, and registration as a sex offender.
  • Insist all staff and volunteers pledge to uphold a code of ethics, and hold them accountable for their actions.
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers these guidelines for unacceptable behavior. Employees
should avoid:

  • Telling sexual jokes or stories
  • “Making eyes at” or giving seductive looks
  • Discussion of one’s sex life or relationships
  • Sitting too close or lying next to a child or teen
  • Finding ways to be alone with a child or teen
  • Confiding in a child or teen about personal issues
  • Giving gifts to participants
  • Unnecessary touching

Markel offers a guide to preventing sex abuse and additional safety tips on our web site. Go to and click the Safety Resources button.

Background Check
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