It is impossible to prevent 100% of losses, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk and help avoid claims and losses from occurring. One risk that organizations should be actively working to prevent is abuse and misconduct. Abuse claims are very costly both financially and emotionally. An organization’s reputation can also be damaged permanently. This is actually one of the top reasons that faith-based organizations end up in court!
Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of being involved in a situation where abuse allegations have been brought against your organization:
- Screen potential candidates before you hire! During your hiring process, make sure you screen your candidates. This should include conducting a criminal background check before hiring an individual. These screenings can uncover criminal history and character traits that you want to avoid in potential employees.
- Outline specific safety and supervision guidelines. If your organization is involved with minors, i.e. a camp, sports, school, youth group, daycare, etc., it is crucial that you have adequate supervision. This is important for two main reasons: 1. This protects minors from adults with bad intentions. 2. This protects your employees from being falsely accused of abuse.
- Providing your staff and volunteers with the necessary education. Training is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to preventing abuse. Training helps volunteers and staff understand the risks of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations. It’s important to remind your team that these trainings are not accusatory but to protect them! In training, make it known that all staff members are required to report suspicion and/or evidence of abuse to a senior staff member.
- Plan for handling allegations. If allegations are brought against someone in your organization, you need to act quickly. Many organizations get themselves into trouble for either not acting at all, or for not acting in a timely manner!
Although no one wants to think that sexual abuse could happen in their organization, it is unfortunately a risk that many must face. That is why it is so important to do what you can to prevent these types of tragedies from happening in the first place. The safety of your staff, volunteers, and the individuals you serve is a top priority, and implementing the tips we shared today may be helpful in doing so.
If you have questions about Abuse and Molestation coverage, or about your current risk management practices, feel free to give us a call at 800-231-9963. For more risk management tips, click here to visit our blog!