Boys & Girls Club risk management news

Vol. 3, 2016

Boys & Girls Club risk management news

Vol. 3, 2016

Understanding where and how club child abuse occurs can help with prevention

A review of abuse claims reported to Markel over the past five years has identified trends that can help a club’s ongoing efforts to help protect children. Abuse incidents and allegations included:

    • inappropriate touching, including kissing,
    • sexual activities,
    • inappropriate texting,
    • inappropriate verbal communications,
    • children engaging in games with sexual overtones.

Reported claims involving adult-to-child often occurred after hours and off-premises.  When adult-to-child incidents occurred on premises, they occurred in locations such as maintenance and storage closet areas. Child-on-child abuse allegations involved male-to-male, male-to-female, and female-to-female interactions. A majority of these  incidents were most often reported as occurring in bathrooms. Events were also reported occurring in unsupervised rooms, on buses, and convenient hiding spaces such as behind dumpsters during outdoor activities. 

Markel recommends clubs use these findings to help strengthen their supervision practices. Before the club opens, ensure all doors to unoccupied/unsupervised rooms are secure to prevent unauthorized access and never allow children to borrow the keys for any reason. Consider positioning staff so they can easily observe and stop inappropriate activities before they start. Identify potential hiding places and strengthen your supervision efforts of these areas.

In addition to comprehensive screenings for background checks and staff education on appropriate and inappropriate activities, educating your youth members on the topic of sexual abuse is also an important risk mitigation process. Staff training should be fully documented as to date received and content. Each staff member should sign a document acknowledging the training.

A study completed by Ekos Research Associates offers the following finding on sex abuse prevention education for youth:

    • Young people are interested in receiving new information about sexual abuse and are aware that there is always more to learn. Perhaps a layered approach with increasing age appropriate details, context, and strategies for prevention and problem solving would be useful. Likely, very few youth are going to remember and be able to apply what they have heard from a single information session from year to year anyway, so an annual iterative approach to learning about sexual abuse could be the most useful way for youth to learn about this topic.
    • It is important to ensure that young people across all ages are highly aware of sexual abuse and reach a certain level of comfort in discussing the subject. It is also important to be mindful of the increasing sense of confidence and security that youth gain with age about what they know and don’t know about sexual abuse and online predators, and the extent to which they think that they are or are not at risk. Related to this, any information dissemination program must be highly cognizant of which program delivery agents/individuals work best for what age groups and topics.

The study also found that information about sexual abuse should be tailored to ensure that it is suitable for different age groups.

    • Information aimed at younger children could begin by focusing on issues of personal space (including good touching versus bad touching).
    • Older students are generally mature enough to handle more detailed and specific information about sexual abuse.
    • Information disseminated should be specifically relevant to different age groups (i.e., online sexual predators tend to target individuals of different ages in different ways).
    • Information dissemination strategies need to account for the needs of youth (and in particular, youth of different ages) to receive information on this sensitive topic from specific sources (e.g., specific teacher or outside expert) and in certain contexts/environments (e.g., small groups). Additional research in this area would be useful in setting up a specific program. Any program should have built in flexibility for individual youth to make their own choices about who they would like to get this information from and in what setting.

Whatever your strategy, make sure it is properly vetted by legal counsel and receives parent or guardian acknowledgement.

Visit Markel’s risk management library to learn more on steps a club can take to reduce the risk of child abuse.

Additionally please utilize resources on child abuse prevention available at BGCA.NET/ChildSafety.


Reference

Ekos Research Associates, Inc., 2009. Views of Youth Regarding Sexual Abuse Prevention Education, Dangers on the Internet and the Boys and Girls Club – Chapter 3 - CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS; 3.1 SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION EDUCATION. Ottawa, Ontario

Whose property is it anyway? Protecting your business personal property

Property theft can be troublesome for any organization. Beyond the need to replace what was stolen, the item taken can have an impact on your business operations and result in a loss of valuable opportunity costs. There are a number of strategies organizations can implement to reduce theft of business personal property. Object protection, by marking your property for easy recognition, is one.

According to the NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security, object protection provides direct security for individual items and is often the final stage of an in-depth protection system with perimeter and area protection.

Property marking may help deter crime by advertising to a potential thief that the property will be difficult to sell or use. There are a variety of ways an organization can mark property such as; etching, microdot marking, chemical marking, property tagging, and indelible ink. You can also check with your local police department for additional recommendations.

The Brainerd, Minnesota Police department lists four major advantages regarding property marking:

    • Deters crime - thieves and burglars are less likely to steal an item that can be positively identified and that will be difficult to sell.
    • Positive identification - the owner of stolen or lost property can easily be located through existing records.
    • Helps criminal prosecution - the arresting officers can more readily use the stolen property in pursuing the case through the courts.
    • Aids recovery - Stolen and/or lost property is more likely to be returned to the owner.

In addition to property marking, prominently post notices in windows and other obvious locations throughout you property (both inside and out) to alert potential thieves that your property is marked. This may help reduce damages caused to gain entry to the building in conjunction with reducing cost associated with replacing stolen property.

Finally, become a member of a Business Watch program. These programs help promote a safer community through crime prevention. If you are a member, is your community program active? Learn more about Business Watch Programs.


Reference

National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 730: Guide for Premises Security. Quincy, PA

Get the recognition your club deserves.

2016 Safety 1st nominations are now open!
2016 Safety 1st award nominations open October 24. Nominate your club for Markel’s Safety 1st recognition. Markel’s Safety 1st program recognizes clubs that have shown an outstanding commitment to safety.

For more information, please go to boysandgirlsclubinsurance.com.


The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.