Create a Hostile Environment
Whenever a sexual abuse/molestation (SAM) incident occurs, a civil lawsuit will likely be filed not only against the alleged perpetrator, but the organization, officers, board and others for failure to adequately screen staff, failure to implement policies and procedures to prevent an incident, and failure to appropriately respond to an allegation. Most insurance carriers that write SAM coverage on sports organizations won’t offer the coverage unless the organization has implemented certain controls that impact these areas.
Most sports and recreation organizations rely exclusively on running criminal background checks on all staff with access to youth. While this is required by case law and is a minimum level of due diligence, the effectiveness of solely relying on criminal background checks is questionable. This is because studies indicate that only about 5% of all predators have a criminal background that could even be discoverable upon running a background check. Therefore, the question becomes what is your sports organization doing to protect against the other 95%?
What it should be doing is educating administrators and staff to create a hostile environment for predators, implementing simple policies and procedures, and implementing an allegation response plan that requires notification of law enforcement.
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Many sports organizations get into SAM risk management by just shooting from the hip and running background checks without putting much thought into the entire process and what can go wrong along the way. Below are potential risks organizations expose themselves to when no proper SAM risk management program is in place:
- Slander, libel, and invasion of privacy lawsuits against the organization if background check results are not kept confidential.
- Illegal questions on staff application form and consent to run background check form.
- Unequal treatment of different candidates and resulting litigation due to lack of predetermined, written disqualification criteria.
- Failure to properly understand the nature of a conviction on a criminal background check and misclassification of the offense.
- Failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other similar laws.
- Failure to have written policies and procedures in place to make an incident less likely to occur.
- Failure to have allegation response procedures in place, including a requirement to notify law enforcement.
Sex Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program
We recommend that a sports organization implement our written Sex Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program which provides important administrator and staff education on the topic and protects against the above mentioned pitfalls. This program is available as a Microsoft Word document format (7 pages) entitled Sample Abuse/Molestation Plan that can be easily customized for a specific sports organization. Current Sadler clients should access the latest and most up-to-date version of this document under the password protected section after entering the password provided with their proof of coverage email upon binding of coverage. On the other hand, sports organizations that are not current Sadler clients should access this document under the unrestricted access section of the webpage available to general public.
However, we realize that some sports organizations may not want to adopt and implement our recommended SAM risk management program even though it is incredibly simple and we have already done just about all the work on their behalf. For these organizations, we offer a 1-page SAM risk management program that provides a basic educational program for administrators and staff. It includes written policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur and provides instructions on how to appropriately respond to an allegation. This 1-page SAM program can be found in our risk management library under the document entitled Child Abuse/Molestation Protection Program – Administrators (short form).
In addition, we offer the following free educational training videos to our clients, which can be found under the password protected section of our risk management page:
- How To Implement An Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program – Administrators (14 minutes)
- Abuse/Molestation Awareness Training – Administrators and Staff (28 minutes)
Protecting your league from injury 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.
Purchasing the ight insurance coverage does not have to be complicated. The SADLER insurance experts understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your organization. Learn more about liability prevention by calling us at 800-622-7370, or apply for a customized insurance quote online now. There are absolutely no obligations, and most quotes will be sent in just a few hours. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, what have you got to lose?