Posts Tagged ‘Abuse/Molestation’

The Rate of Abuse and Molestation in Youth Sports

How prevalent is it?

The media makes sure we know when allegations and indictments of sexual abuse take place in our communities, particularly when children are the victims. Schools, religious and recreational youth organizations are ripe for the picking by such predators.

But a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that instances of all types of abuse within youth organizations are actually quite rare. The researchers surveyed more than 13,000 children, including infants and children to age 17. The results show that less than 1 percent reported any type of abuse. And of that percentage, only 6.4 percent reported some type of sexual abuse.

The bad news

As encouraging as that is, it still means the up to 100,000 children may be subjected to sexual abuse while participating in youth-oriented activities.

The study results point out another point for concern. Of the children surveyed who reported abuse, 64 percent said the abuse was emotional or verbal, specifically saying they had felt scared or bad because an adult “called you names, said mean things to you, or said they didn’t want you.” That puts estimates at 1 million children being subjected to abuse of a non-physical nature, which is 10 times the number of those being sexually abused.

Defining abuse

It’s important to note that the statistics of abuse are never exact, in part due to underreporting of incidents, but also because of the different definitions of the word abuse. Government agencies use a legal definition, while JAMA Pediatrics’ criteria is whether the child feels he or she has been abused. In fact, the final conclusion of the study is that abuse in youth organizations is relatively rare and is dwarfed by abuse perpetrated by family members and other adults.

Preventing and combating abuse

Nonetheless, parents need to be aware of their child’s youth organization’s policies and procedures regarding screening and training of staff and volunteers. And parents should work together to make sure at least one parent is at every event, practice and game who is tasked with monitoring the behavior of staff and volunteers.

At Sadler Sports Insurance, we know that abuse and molestation incidents, while rare, result in very expensive claims and demand serious risk management attention. Our risk management page has a section with resources devoted to abuse and molestation prevention. Our resources range from a simple one-page abuse/molestation risk management program to a comprehensive seven page programs that covers all aspects from A to Z. We also have sex abuse and molestation training videos for your administrators and staff.


Source: Janet Rosenweig. “What is the rate of child abuse in schools, rec groups?” philly.com. 01 Feb. 2016.

Hotel Safety: Teams Traveling Overnight (Infographic)

Protecting athletes and staff from sex abuse/molestation incidents

 All parents have the expectation that youth sports organizations provide a safe and fun environment for the athletes. Any organization that supervises kids has a clear mandate to incorporate policies to prevent injuries of any kind. Child abuse and molestation can take place anywhere, and any program where adults supervise children is fertile ground for predators.

Most child predators are “groomers” as opposed to “grabbers” and it’s their modus operandi to earn the  trust of the child and parents prior to any abuse taking place. They create an emotional bond with the child, which works to prevent the child from reporting incidents. Youth sports programs are prime targets for perpetrators of these crimes.

Extra precautions need taken when youth sports teams travel out of town overnight for tournaments and camps. Below are basic tips to help protect young athletes from adults who intend to do them harm, and minimize the risk of coaches and chaperones being accused of improper or criminal behavior toward the children.

Hotel safety

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Please visit our Risk Management page for more sports tips and safety information.

Protecting your team and league from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all teams and leagues? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Getting the right insurance coverage does not have to be complicated if you work with an agency like SADLER. The insurance experts at SADLER understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

To learn more about liability prevention or get a customized insurance quote, you can apply online right now or call us at 1-800-622-7370. There are no obligations. Most quotes are sent in just a few hours. Since there no application fees and we offer the most competitive rates in the industry, what do you have to lose?

Serial Child Molester Denied Parole

Safeguarding against other predators

This news hits close to home for me because the villain is from my home town of Columbia, SC, was league president over the youth baseball league in which I played as a child, was a abuse and molestation in youth sportsclient who purchased sports insurance from my agency, and ruined the lives of many people in my community.  His name is Chuck Sullivan and he was denied parole after serving 15 years of his 35 year sentence. He was convicted in 1998 on 32 charges of fondling, sexual exploitation of minors, and disseminating harmful material to minors in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

He used the all-too-familiar methods of winning the trust of young boys (and their parents), providing liquor, sexually exploiting them, and then shaming them into silence. This is called sexual grooming and is the topic of an earlier article we posted, Protecting Children against Sexual Abuse and Molestation.

Sullivan’s plea to the parole board was pathetic.  His plan was to get married to a girl from Dubai, which would provide accountability that he lacked in the past.  He would then work with a nonprofit called Jump Start, which would involve helping people through counseling to avoid alcohol and other triggers.  As the mother of one of his victims testified at the hearing, “One of the ways that Chuck gained access to victims in society was by helping to develop and implement programs…. this shows a continuous pattern in his life.”

Sullivan was employed by a school and a children’s home and volunteered for a number of youth sports organizations. Looking back, had these organizations implemented the free abuse/molestation risk management programs that we offer to our clients, it is likely that he would have been stopped earlier.  The use of criminal background checks (only 5% of predators have criminal backgrounds that could be detected upon running a check), and the education of administrators, staff, and parents about sexual grooming techniques and policies and procedures such as the use of a buddy system where a single adult is never alone with a single, unrelated child could have prevented a lot of damage.

I often hear people say that abuse/molestation can’t happen in their sports organization because everyone knows everyone too well and they don’t need to be concerned with background checks or risk management.  My response is to share the Chuck Sullivan case with them and say that if it happened in my community, it can happen anywhere.

Sources:
The State Newspaper, March 28, 2013.
WLTX

Protecting Youth From Abuse/Molestation

Safe4Athletes.org provides information and assistance to youth organizations

I recently spoke with Katherine Starr, the founder and president of Safe4Athletes.org, about her philosophy on how to better protect youth athletes against bullying, mental abuse, Safe4athletes.orgphysical abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse. Katherine offers a unique perspective as a former Olympic swimmer who endured sexual abuse during her 10-year career. The lack of resources available to help her was what propelled her to provide a solid framework to help vulnerable youth

Katherine recommends that youth programs create an athlete welfare advocate position. The staff person in this position is responsible for providing staff members with an education on topics related to child abuse and being the confidential contact youth can turn to discuss these types of unspeakable problems.

To learn more about becoming or creating the volunteer position of athlete welfare advocate in your sports program or learning more about the other athlete protection policies that every youth sport program should have in place, go to Safe4Athletes and find out how to implement a program for your local sports program. There is also a list of organizations that are taking advantage of her services, as well as a list of coaches who have been permanently banned from their governing bodies.

Katherine also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Stricter Underwriting Guidelines for Colleges

Sandusky scandal prompts carriers to reassess policies

Due to the Penn State scandal over Sandusky and the incidents of sexual abuse/molestation, insurance carriers are now more apt to tighten underwriting and require more information from schools regarding their preventive measures.

“Insurers will require more data from colleges to find out what other programs they may offer. I think insurers will pay more attention to what takes place during summer months, all the camps that take place, what procedures are in place and how schools are monitoring the environment,” said Bill Waldorf, president of a brokerage that offers insurance for schools.

Waldorf also pointed that all higher education facilities have  exposures to children because they provide daycare, childhood learning programs, athletic activities and/or summer camps.

In addition, msexual abuse/molestationany high school students who are either taking advanced placement courses or visiting for recruitment purposes , and other youth on campus for athletic events, concerts, and faith-based programs are all vulnerable.

Most General Liability underwriters in the sports and recreation niche will be looking for the following elements as a precondition for offering sexual abuse/molestation coverage:

  • Criminal background checks on all paid and volunteer staff with access to youth
  • Written policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur
  • Written allegation response plan including a requirement to notify law enforcement

Also, many college and university insurance carriers may no longer underwrite camp exposure and may require camps to take out their own General Liability including coverage for sexual abuse and molestation. Here is the link to the Sadler Camp Insurance Program.

We have more information on sexual abuse and molestation risk management in our library.

Source: Insurance Journal, East, 2012/07/19

Criminal Background Check Vendors

Maintain a safe workplace with a successful screening program

When recruiting employees and volunteers, you want as much information as possible to make smart decisions. Below is a list of companies that offer criminal background check services for sports organizations.

LexisNexis

Did you know that on average every 43 hours a registered sex offender tries to obtain a Criminal background checkvolunteer or employment position at a nonprofit, according to LexisNexis statistics?

LexisNexis nonprofit screening services offer you immediate peace of mind knowing that your volunteers and employees are being well-screened using some of the most powerful and advanced background checks available, the same checks used by private businesses. You’ll also breathe easier with the low-cost nonprofit pricing—often more than 80 percent less than usual rates.

Combine these advantages with the best practice program guidance and innovative nonprofit research and support you’ll only get from LexisNexis, a trusted, proven industry partner to nonprofits for more than a decade, and you’ll understand why organizations ranging from national programs such as Little League Baseball and Boys and Girls Clubs of America to local, community-based groups all use our nonprofit background checks. Work with us and you’ll gain:

  • Exceptional depth and breadth of services: Access a comprehensive, market-leading selection of criminal background checks, verification and qualification services, motor vehicle record reports and much more.
  • In-depth report: Leverage more than 20,000 sources of public and proprietary data for information on 20 percent more people than alternative sources—an additional 75 million individuals.
  • Flexibility: Easily configure your account to meet your specific needs, including the ability to choose from pre-set screening packages that ensure the most in-depth data coverage, or individual a la carte searches, based on your needs.
  • Increased efficiency:Save time and money by replacing manual tasks with automated search technology and real-time online access.
  • Proven screening expertise:Keep your organization secure, efficient and compliant by using a trusted, leading screening provider with deep industry knowledge, proven experience and vast resources.

MyBackgroundCheck.com

The need for nonprofit volunteer groups to provide a safe environment to those they serve has led MyBackgroundCheck.com to develop the most comprehensive and cost effective volunteer/employee tracking system available to the nonprofit sector.

MyBackgroundCheck.com brings over 14 years of success in commercial and government Criminal background checksscreening, a passion for accuracy and the only “3-day or they’re free” written guarantee to the nonprofit sector.

This unique system goes beyond typical background screening programs to provide valuable risk management related features at the local, regional or national levels including:

  • Denied parties system
    • Allows administrators to see individuals denied placement within the organization
    • Reduces duplication in conducting background screens on applicants who serve in multiple units or attempt to secure a position after denial
  • Adverse action tracking
    • Allows for monitoring of required adverse action notification process which can be handled by MyBackgroundCheck.com
  • Report Grading
    • Matches your applicants against your predetermined criteria
      • Provides a pass/fail results notification
      • Shields sensitive data from administrators at the local level
  • Dispute resolution service
    • Allows applicants to dispute reported information directly with MyBackgroundCheck.com in the event that data is inaccurate or there is an issue regarding identity theft
  • Advanced Reporting
    • Eight levels of reporting included

Additionally, the volunteer tracking system offers a unique background check donation system that could save your association thousands of dollars per season (hundreds of thousands if a national association).

National Center for Safety Initiatives

The National Center for Safety Initiatives is the only company licensed by Criminal background checksthe National Council of Youth Sports to interpret the results of background screening according to the NCYS’ recommended guidelines.

NCYS membership represents more than 52-million boys and girls participating in organized youth sports.  Through the use of “NCYS Recommended Guidelines for Background Check Screening in Nonprofit Youth-Serving Organizations,” the youth-serving industry now has a comprehensive and practical standard to follow. There is no need for organizations to reinvent the wheel for policy, procedures, and best practices.

The Center is NOT another single vendor background screening company. Beware of look-alike programs. The Center will carry out the entire background screening process for you, performing the check through two national databases, interpreting the results, and releasing you of the enormous burden of following federal law regarding identity privacy, data storage, and personal notification of individual volunteer disqualification, and more.

Volunteers and administrators in your organization will be best protected from  possible losses due to costly litigation that can result from a lack of knowledge or resources. There is no need to train another staff person or rely on volunteers to handle this sensitive issue.  All of this translates to a reduced liability risk for you.

Need more information? Contact National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) at 772-781-1452 or youthsports@ncys.org. Contact the trained staff of the National Center for Safety Initiatives toll free at 866-833-7100 or by email at  info@ncsisafe.com.

Southeastern Security Consultants, Inc. (SSCI)

SSCI provides comprehensive and affordable full service criminal background screening program to various organizations. These organizations include park and recreation ssciagencies, churches, national youth sports governing bodies, employers and others desiring to protect their membership and organizations.  This flat fee background screening service includes a unique blend of local/national criminal history & sex offender searches with timely results and complimentary consultations.

How is the Check Done and What Information is Provided?

Our comprehensive background screening on each prospective individual includes the following:

  • Social Security Verification– This verifies the individuals name against the Social Security Number provided. This helps to eliminate the possibility of false names and/or information.
  • Address Trace– This verifies the individual’s current address and identifies previous addresses. This information is utilized to determine the jurisdiction identifies previous addresses. This information is utilized to determine the jurisdiction in which the background screening is conducted.
  • State or County “Smart Check” – A statewide or countywide (depending on the jurisdiction) criminal record check is preformed to capture all the misdemeanor and felony convictions in that jurisdiction. Utilizing the “Smart Check” the search is conducted in the jurisdiction with the longest and most current residency.
  • Let’s Check America – Provides access through The National Background Directory ™ to criminal data from 47 states where more than 75 percent of the nation’s population lives (currently over 151 million records).
  • Sex Offender Registry – Search of all 50 States repositories plus the District of Columbia for known sex offenders.
  • Volunteer Profile – Your organization will receive a profile report on each individual that will include all relevant information related to the background screening process. If there is no criminal record found, this will be noted on the profile along with the jurisdiction that was searched. If conviction(s) are found, all details including charges, court disposition(s), and sentencing will be provided

Bradley Screening

Official Dixie Baseball/Softball Vendor

Criminal background vendorSpecifically designed for volunteer and nonprofit organizations, this screening service provides a report that includes the following: criminal data information on the full name and/or alternate names used by the volunteer, dates at listed addresses, validity of the SSN provided, age/date of birth, and available phone information.

Bradley Screening has access to one of the largest private-sector criminal history databases in the nation.  We draw data from multiple criminal record sources in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The report includes criminal data from criminal courts, state criminal record repositories, probation, prison parole and release files, sex offender registries and other government agencies, as well as additional criminal history data.

This report is meant to aid volunteer and non-profit organizations and agencies in determining whether prospective volunteers have a pattern of criminal behavior that would make it unwise for them to be working with children or other vulnerable populations.

For more information call 866-412-0545 or or email to inform@bradley-personnel.com

ProtectYouthSports.com

A good track record counts for a lot, and Protect Youth Sports has established a very firm and reputable standing within the youth sports market for Youth Sports background checksbackground screening.   Benefiting from this very much proven history could not be any simpler, as over 5,000 organizations have found before.

Many of the problems that youth sports leagues encounter with background checks are caused by low quality instant checks and state-level-only background checks. Instant checks and state-level-only checks lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.

  • Free video course on backgrounds checks and streamlining the screening process
  • No sign-up fees for qualified youth sports organizations
  • NAYS discounts – up to 20% off on already discounted packages

Nothing could be easier than getting started with Protect Youth Sports. Start by requesting your Free Video Course at www.protectyouthsports.com or call (877) 319-5587.

NAYS-endorsed Background Check Vendor

Offering more than just background checks

I was just introduced to Protect Youth Sports as the endorsed criminal background check vendor of our insurance client, National Alliance for Protect Youth SportsYouth Sports (NAYS). The Protect Youth Sports website offers some unique features as well as training videos that we highly recommend.

A good track record counts for a lot, and Protect Youth Sports has established a very firm and reputable standing within the youth sports market for background screening. Benefiting from this proven history could not be any simpler, as more than 5,000 organizations have found out.

Some of the problems that youth sports leagues encounter with background checks are caused by low-quality instant checks and state-level-only background checks. These can lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.

Below are only some of the features Protect Youth Sports offers:

  • National re-verification includes comprehensive quality assurance and re-verification process for all records with a positive hit.
  • 50-state sex offender search using the National Criminal Database (over 400 mil­lion records) and free alias name search,
  • Free video safety training
  • No sign-up fees for qualified youth sports organizations
  • NAYS Discounts – up to 20% off on already discounted packages

Get started with Protect Youth Sports by requesting your free video course at www.protectyouthsports.com or call (877) 319-5587.

Protecting Against Sexual Abuse and Molestation

Keeping youth athletes safe from sexual predators

Child sexual predators fall into one of two categories: “grabbers” and “groomers”. Most sexual misconduct involves grooming, which can easily be confused with innocent behavior. The best way to protect children against sexual grooming  and thus sexual misconduct is to protect them against inappropriate boundary invasions.

Sexual grooming by adults involves a process with the following elements:

  1.  Finding a vulnerable child lacking self-confidence, low self- esteem, or parental attention.sports risk managment
  2. Involving the child in peer-like activities such as hanging out away from the ball park.
  3. Desensitizing the child to touch such by tickling, patting, stroking, or wrestling.
  4. Isolating by spending a large amount of time alone with the child and urging them to keep secrets.
  5. Making the child feel responsible for the sexual misconduct that has occurred.

Inappropriate boundary invasions involve the adult invading the child’s personal life or personal space by the following actions:

  •  Showing undue interest in a child
  • Giving gifts
  • Peer-like behavior like hanging out
  • Granting special privileges
  • Discussing adult matters
  • Keeping secrets
  • Being alone with, attending outings with, transporting to school and events
  • Telling sexual jokes, showing pornography, asking sexual questions
  • Hugging, kissing, physical contact

The following steps help preventing inappropriate boundary invasions:

  1. Educate administrators, employees, and volunteers on the definition and associated behaviors inappropriate boundary invasions, sexual grooming, and sex abuse/molestation.
  2. Expressly prohibit inappropriate boundary invasions.
  3. Require all employees, and volunteers to report all inappropriate boundary invasions to administration.
  4. Correct and discipline offenders and those who fail to report.

It is also interesting to note that litigation for sex abuse and molestation can occur decades after the incidents since there is no statute of limitations on this type of behavior. The alleged abuser, the legal entity, and respective directors and officers will all be sued for failure to screen, failure to respond to an allegation, or failure to implement policies and procedures to prevent occurrences. It is critical for organizations to keep all General Liability policies on hand indefinitely in the event of future litigation. In addition, the past administration will be held accountable for their lack of oversight based on today’s standards instead of past standards which were much more relaxed.

The delayed reaction nature of litigation for sexual abuse and molestation is another reason why a claims-made policy form is inferior to the occurrence policy form under a General Liability policy. Please read our article “Occurrence vs Claims Insurance Made For Sports Organizations” for more detailed information.

 Source: “Protecting Children from Sexual Misconduct by School Employees”, Donald F. Austin and Michael Patterson.