Protecting Your Nonprofit from Sexual Misconduct
Does your nonprofit have safeguards in place to help prevent sexual misconduct?
Over the weekend, 76 people were arrested and 13 children were rescued or identified as victims during Operation Southern Impact II. One of the alleged perpetrators was a nonprofit employee and another was a pastor. Sometimes the folks we trust most are the folks that we or our children are the most vulnerable to. The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy reports that 90% of children know and trust their abuser.
GuideOne Insurance, a large insurer of nonprofits, reports receiving 10 to 15 new claims of sexual misconduct per month and handles approximately 150 sexual misconduct claims at any one time. So, what can your nonprofit do to prevent sexual misconduct against your clients, employees, or volunteers?
Sexual Misconduct Prevention Procedures for Your Nonprofit
This is not an all-inclusive list. However, the steps below will proactively put you on right course to minimize your nonprofit’s chances of sexual misconduct.
- Develop a written zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. Communicate this policy to all employees and volunteers. Make sure your policy is consistent and annually reviewed. Who monitors your policy? How often is your policy reviewed? Some key items your policy may wish to include are:
- Training – what is abuse and how should your employees and volunteers respond? How will employees, volunteers, and management identify behaviors that may indicate abuse? Keep a record of those that attend and make attendance mandatory for all employees and volunteers working with minors. The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy has great resources to help you establish some of your policies and procedures.
- Prevention – how can you minimize sexual misconduct within your organization? Two, non-related adults should be required to be present with children. Operate in highly visible areas. Do not meet in private rooms or offices. Do not allow rooms to be locked.
- Reporting and Investigation – who will folks report any instances of sexual misconduct to? How will it be investigated? How will victims be protected throughout the investigation?
- Screen your employees and volunteers. This process will sometimes weed out someone who may raise red flags. First, ask them if they have ever been accused of or convicted of sexual misconduct. Then, conduct nationwide criminal background checks as well as conducting statewide criminal and sex offender background checks. Don’t stop there. Check employee and volunteer references. Be sure to follow up on positions in which the person in question worked with minors.
- Consult with local agencies who specialize in sexual abuse prevention such as The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. They have great prevention tips as well as a Resource Guide.
- Your nonprofit may want to consider adding a sexual misconduct endorsement to your current general liability policy. Policies often exclude this coverage, and it needs to be added. Ask your agent if you’re current covered.
Are you interested in learning more about nonprofit insurance? Contact local insurance agent, Sandi Purinton with The Insurance Connection. Contact her at 678-439-8757 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free insurance quote and review.
Disclaimer: This material is for information only. This post does not provide legal or professional advice. Consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. The Insurance Connection welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.