Tragically, sexual abuse is prevalent in many of the institutions trusted by parents and others with the safety of children. Dangerous sexual predators have victimized children in schools, churches, sports teams, foster homes, and military academies. The following safeguards can help prevent institutional child sex abuse, and should be put in place by every organization that supervises or interacts with children on a regular basis.
Background checks are critical in preventing child sexual abuse and molestation. A thorough background check should be conducted on every adult who comes into contact with children as part of a job or through volunteer work. Special laws with respect to background checks apply to certain institutions, such as public schools and foster care providers.
A background check will reveal whether an adult has a criminal record of any kind. A background check may also reveal whether someone has a history of abusive behavior and/or drug and alcohol problems.
In addition to conducting background checks, institutions should ask for personal and employment references from potential employees, volunteers, and any other adults who will come into contact with children. It is imperative that institutions contact these references, and ask whether the person is fit to interact with and supervise children. Institutions should also ask references whether there is any indication the person is violent, about the person’s employment history, and for other relevant information.
Adults who interact with children should be supervised as much as possible. For example, principals and school administrators should make random visits to classrooms. Parents should watch sports practices and private lessons with athletic coaches. Teachers, coaches, instructors, and church leaders should never be alone with children behind locked doors.
It is imperative that institutions take reports of sex abuse and misconduct very seriously. Many adults are considered to be “mandatory reporters,” which means that they must report abuse to law enforcement authorities upon learning of it. To learn more about mandatory reporting laws, visit our child molestation laws page. If you need to report abuse, use our database of where to report child molestation in your state.
Finally, parents should feel comfortable contacting the adults who come into contact with their children. Parents should be provided with contact information for their children’s teachers and school administrators. Similarly, parents should know how to reach athletic coaches, tutors, church leaders, and any other adults who provide services for their children. Responsible institutions maintain open lines of communication with parents and promptly respond to their questions, concerns, and complaints.
Adults who interact with children should be aware of the risk factors and warning signs of sexual abuse. Here are some things that you can do to help prevent molestation:
If you believe your child is being abused, call Estey & Bomberger, LLP and our experienced child sexual asault victims attorneys for a free consultation. We will help in any way we can.
Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help. We are committed to helping you in any way possible. If you have been the victim of institutional child molestation/sex abuse, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for you.
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