Toole Guard: Protecting the Children- Sexual Abuse Prevention

One of the privileges of your business is the ability to work with children–our future. With that privilege comes unique challenges and concerns–one being the protection of the children as no one ever wants a child to be harmed.

Experts tell us there are 60 million child sexual abuse survivors in the U.S., but the real number can never be confirmed because 66% will not talk about the abuse until adulthood, if ever.

The abuse of children is still occurring at a horrifying rate with 1 of 3 girls and 1 of 5 boys being sexually abused before the age of 18. 90% of these sexually abused children know and trust their abusers! The cases of the violent abduction-type abuses that we hear about only account for around 4% of the children sexually abused.

There is not a standard “visual profile” of a sexual abuser and the abuser can either be male or female…or even another child! Most sexual abusers are never prosecuted; the abusers that are prosecuted will usually victimize dozens of children before encountering the criminal justice system. Statistics show that predators that prefer boys as victims can have up to 150 victims before prosecution and those that prefer girls up to 52.

We were recently introduced to Abuse Prevention Systems by one of our carriers. Abuse Prevention Systems (APS) equips organizational leaders in the design and implementation of safety systems to reduce the risk of sexual abuse in children’s programming, in addition to providing effective, efficient, and inexpensive on-line tools and tutorials. These organizations include schools, camps, churches, youth sports clubs, foster entities, and other non-profits that serve young people.

APS was founded by attorneys Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris who have a private law practice (Love & Norris) specializing in the litigation of sexual abuse cases across the country and consultation with organizations on the design and implementation of sexual abuse safety systems. They are frequent speakers before educational entities, youth and children’s ministries, day care, adoption and foster care organizations, and youth camps; they have addressed national and regional audiences for organizations such as the US Olympic Committee, American Camp Association (ACA), National Association of Church Business Administrators (NACBA), National Council for Adoption (NCFA), Kanakuk Kamps, Prevent Child Abuse Texas, etc.

Their organization offers both live and on-line training to assist in the design and implementation of safety systems to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. For a flat annual membership fee of $100, you would have access to the following on-line:

  • Sexual Abuse Awareness Training
  • Sample Policies and Procedures
  • Screening Documents (Application, Reference Check, Interview Forms, and more)
  • Control Panel for Tracking Your Organization’s Safety Information
  • And More

We particularly felt the on-line video training–presented by both attorneys–could be a valuable addition to your training. This training has individual modules for ease of completion within time restraints and includes a graded quiz with a certificate upon completion. Topics include:

  • What is sexual abuse?
  • Common errors and misconceptions related to sexual abuse and sexual abusers
  • Abuser characteristics
  • Grooming process (grooming children and gatekeepers)
  • Common grooming behaviors
  • Peer on peer abuse
  • Impact on children–long and short term
  • Reporting responsibilities–authorities & supervisors
  • What to do if a child reports abuse

Many organizations utilize criminal background checks to help assure employees being hired put the children in the safest possible hands. However, one has to remember that it can be years (if ever) before a predator encounters the legal system to have any criminal record regarding his/her abuse of children. Because of this, the tools offered APS in conjunction with an appropriate background check can further reduce the risk of abuse. The APS training will also improve your staff’s understanding of when and how to respond to reports of abuse appropriately.

To learn more about how this organization may enhance your training program:
Abuse Prevention Systems
304 Rockwood Park Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Phone: 817-737-SAFE (7233)

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413-243-0089