Child Safety System Requires All Five Parts
Sexual Abuse Awareness Training forms the foundation of the Safety System, because we cannot address a risk we do not understand. At the core of an effective Safety System is this reality: what we believe shapes what we DO. Awareness Training changes what we believe: Prevention starts with awareness.
This Training equips staff members and volunteers with a better understanding of abuser characteristics, the abuser’s grooming process and common grooming behaviors. Awareness Training equips ministry workers with ‘eyes to see’ such that they might recognize abuser characteristics and behaviors.
When staff members and volunteers are trained to recognize grooming behaviors, all are better equipped to prevent child sexual abuse in ministry programs.
Skillful Screening Process
Once staff members and volunteers have completed Sexual Abuse Awareness Training, it’s necessary to address your ministry’s screening process to ensure that the right team is onboard. The Skillful Screening Process, designed by sexual abuse experts, enables administrators, hiring managers and ministry leaders to better discern if an applicant or volunteer has the right motives for working with children.
Because sexual abusers have no visual profile, hiring and screening personnel must be trained to recognize high-risk responses, which indicate that an individual may be a danger to children served by the ministry.
Remember: the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
Policies and Procedures
Policies are what you DO, not what you SAY you will do. MinistrySafe provides tailored Policies and Procedures for various types of programs, balancing ministry goals with the risks inherent in children’s programming.
Effective policies and procedures minimize or prevent risk but are only marginally effective without Awareness Training (the WHY). Effective policies are shaped around an understanding of the abuser’s grooming process, abuser characteristics and common grooming behaviors.
Policies are truly effective only when they fit your particular program and population served. Written policies must present clear guidelines concerning appropriate touch, talk, boundaries, social media interaction, bathroom use, one-to-one interaction, overnight stays and reporting requirements.
Criminal Background Checks are an important element of the 5-Part Safety System, but they cannot serve as a standalone safety protocol. Less than 10 percent of sexual abusers ever encounter the criminal justice system. Given this reality, even if a ministry’s background check system is working perfectly, more than 90% of individuals who have sexually abused children have no past criminal record ... and they know it.
Background checks can be a helpful tool when used effectively, but there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ criminal background check. For each staff member or volunteer, the depth of background check should be determined by the degree of access to children. In addition, background checks should be periodically refreshed.
Monitoring and Oversight
For any Safety System to remain effective, every ministry must incorporate systems for monitoring and oversight to ensure that you DO what you SAY you do in an ongoing manner. Effective monitoring and oversight ensures the sustainability of your ministry’s Safety System.
Ministrysafe 5-Part Safety System includes checks and balances to monitor supervision, training compliance and system accountability through the use of our convenient online Control Panel.
Ministry leaders must evaluate new programs for child protection issues, monitor changes in reporting requirements, address ongoing need for policy updates, and include child protection compliance in employee performance evaluations. Periodic review ensures that child safety is not jeopardized by the departure of one or two key staff members or volunteers.