Imagine that tomorrow morning, a congressional committee will question you about how your organization prevents the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
Considering the primary and multi-platform national audiences, what would you say?
Now suppose your immediate answer involves describing the controls required of SafeSport, a code of conduct, MinistrySafe, CharterSafe, or any of the other safe environment-based approaches. What will your response be after a Congresswoman interrupts you two minutes in and points out how everyone knows criminal background checks, an hour or two of sexual abuse training, and policies around 1-to-1 interactions offer far from comprehensive protection?
Suppose also that you oversee organizations that work with children, like a sports National Governing Body, a Church with multiple parishes, or a school district, and you start to explain how your members, associates, or otherwise affiliated organizations work more closely with children than you. How will you answer the Congressman who asks, “So you don’t do anything directly to ensure they prevent sexual abuse effectively?”
Suppose an organization like yours has recently been in the news because of a failure to prevent sexual abuse, even though they used the required safe-environment controls. How will you respond to the Congresswoman who asks what you have done to ensure the same doesn’t happen in your organization or sphere of influence?
You don’t need to read on if you are comfortable that your answers to these questions will satisfy your audiences. Not many people do, however, have good answers to these questions.
Or Imagine Instead
If you are struggling with how you would answer any of these questions and how you would appear to a multi-platform, nationwide audience, imagine being able to explain how you and every organization you are able to influence use the acknowledged best prevention practices in a comprehensive and systematic approach to child protection.
Imagine being able to explain how every organization you can influence designs an intake process that ensures no one has access to minors or vulnerable adults unless they have been carefully vetted well beyond past criminal activity and are regularly trained in the latest prevention best practices.
And instead of explaining how every organization implements the same few controls that enable them all to comply with the safe environment requirements, imagine being able to explain how each organization performs a sexual abuse risk assessment to explore all the ways minors and vulnerable adults are potentially vulnerable to sexual abuse in their specific circumstances, how they then choose controls that address all the vulnerabilities from a wide range of possible controls, and how they then customize every control according to their context.
After customizing their controls, imagine you can also explain how each organization designs systematic processes that ensure each control remains effective based on regularly reviewing its performance and the vulnerabilities it addresses. Imagine explaining how each organization also has a response plan for every type of sexual abuse-related incident and how they monitor for, and adapt to, change.
To cap it all, imagine showing how each organization continuously improves sexual abuse protection based on a cross-sector yet granular analysis of sexual abuse risk management performance.
Last, imagine that every organization could manage sexual abuse prevention this comprehensively with a few days of setup work, a couple of hours of management a month, and at a cost for the tool delivering all this potentially as low as a couple of hundred dollars a year.
Wouldn’t knowing you could say all that about sexual abuse prevention help you sleep better the night before you go to Washington?