The SAM Risk Management Journey

What is the SAM Risk Management Journey?

The Sexual Abuse and Misconduct (SAM) Risk Management Journey is the journey organizations follow from wherever they are now in terms of how they manage SAM risk – for most that means four-pillar-based SAM prevention – to SAM risk management best practice.

Understanding SAM risk management as a journey enables an organization to see the change every step of the journey brings as something it chooses to adopt for its own reasons.  It means an organization can start changing their SAM risk management from wherever they are now and change gradually.  They can move forward easily, at their own pace, taking one step at a time or several. They can also stop whenever and for as long as they wish.

Each step on the SAM risk management journey is an upgrade to a more sophisticated, more effective form of SAM risk management that delivers a progressively higher return on the investment an organization puts into its SAM risk management.

If you would like an idea of where your organization is on the SAM risk management journey, take this 2-minute quiz.  In addition to explaining your result, we will send you a free report that describes the full SAM Risk Management Journey in detail.

The steps on the Journey

The Start:

Four-Pillar SAM Prevention

The four-pillar basic SAM prevention tools:

Step 1:

Comprehensive SAM Risk Management

The combination of SAM prevention, mitigation, and defensibility activities that ensure children, the vulnerable, and the organization, its managers, and its employees are all well-protected from SAM and the consequences of SAM.

Step 2:

Systematic SAM Risk Management

The coordination of SAM prevention, mitigation, and defensibility activities in a system that ensures constant improvement and adaptation to change happen when and as needed.

Step 3:

Synchronized SAM Risk Management

The development of processes that ensure economies of risk management scale and scope are optimized and that all the organization’s risks are managed consistently with each other and with the organization’s broader mission and values.

Step 4:

Objective-oriented SAM Risk Management

Creating lasting and constant value from risk management by encompassing the traditional (prevent and mitigate rare negative events) approach to risk management within the more ambitious role of seeking to make it more likely the organization will meet its most important objectives.

The Potential at the end of the Journey

For organizations that choose to go the distance, the end of the journey (objective-oriented SAM risk management) is enterprise-wide risk management (ERM).  ERM is risk management best practice (the reasons are discussed in detail here).  One day, most organizations will be managing SAM risk using ERM because the return on investment in ERM can be so high.  Compared to other organizations, organizations successfully using ERM:

  • Are able to set bolder objectives because they achieve their objectives more often;
  • Are more highly valued by their stakeholders and/or stockholders;
  • Pay less to borrow money;
  • Have fewer and less expensive negative events like SAM; and
  • Have better reputations and are more trusted.

Any one of these outcomes would be valuable to any organization managing SAM risk.  How much more compelling is the prospect of achieving all of them?

If you would like to talk about the journey, where you may be on the journey, or how to move forward from wherever you are now, please choose a time that suits you for a quick Zoom call using the button below.

Why are organizations changing how they manage SAM risk?

Many organizations are having to change and improve how they manage SAM risk because the insurance industry is withdrawing capacity for SAM liability insurance (SML). SAM insurance is harder to obtain, covers less, and can cost 25 times or more what it once cost.

As a result, organizations are having to look at ways to convince insurers to offer appropriate coverage at more reasonable premiums. Changing their SAM risk management using the tools the journey provides can be a sound investment because the costs to improve their SAM risk management are often less than the annual SAM insurance premium they save by making the improvements.

There are also, however, more profound reasons to change:

SAM Elimination

Despite considerable efforts to eliminate SAM over the last 20 years, that objective has not yet been achieved.

Whether or not SAM can ultimately be eliminated from schools, churches, sports, healthcare, and everywhere children and the vulnerable are cared for outside their homes is beside the point.  Everyone expects that all of us involved in trying to keep children and the vulnerable safe from sexual abuse will keep trying to get better at protecting them until it is eliminated. 

Failing to actively develop constant SAM risk management change and improvement is at odds with trying to get better.

Best Practices Expectations

Everyone expects every organization to use best practices to protect children and the vulnerable from sexual abuse.  Current compliance approaches are a long way from risk management best practice: 

  • In framework terms, best practice is enterprise-wide risk management (ERM). Currently, less than 5% of organizations managing SAM risk use ERM. 
  • In individual control terms, SAM risk and SAM risk management performance have not been measured, so the best practices (the most effective controls and ways to implement them) have yet to be identified.  The best practices may be in use but, if they are, we don’t know it and none of us can be sure they are.

Compliance is not risk management

The four-pillar approach that most organizations caring for children and the vulnerable are required or expected to follow are almost exclusively prevention strategies.  

They are not risk management for three reasons.  They:

  1. are incomplete in terms of SAM prevention;
  2. include almost no mitigation strategies; and
  3. offer minimal defensibility to an organization.

The four pillars are often compliance requirements and compliance and risk management are quite different things, as discussed here.

The scale of SAM risk

The potential scale of a large SAM-related settlement has increased over the last 10 years by 10,000%; a $25,000,000 risk isn’t managed the same as a $250,000 risk. 

Some organizations won’t be able to continue to accept SAM risk (to look after children or the vulnerable) if its cost keeps rising unless how it is managed changes and improves.  

Practical Reasons

And there are also other practical reasons. Some organizations want:

  • to be confident they are managing SAM risk well;
  • to manage SAM risk as well as they can;
  • tangible rewards, like reduced insurance premiums;
  • to boost (or repair) a reputation; or
  • to make sure, after a SAM incident or claim, that SAM doesn’t happen again.

Before starting any journey, you need to know where you are; then you can figure out where you want to get to.  The quiz will give you an idea of where you are; a full SAM risk management assessment will confirm exactly where you are.  It will also show you your most valuable next steps.

To talk about the journey, your score, or an assessment, book a conversation using the button below. 

Creating and Maintaining a Sexual Abuse Risk-Aware Culture: A Free Ten-Step Guide

Developing a sexual abuse risk-aware culture is the single most valuable thing you can do to protect the children and vulnerable adults in your care from sexual abuse.

Our free Ten-Step Guide is a practical introduction to the system that enables any organization to establish and maintain a sexual abuse risk-aware culture. 

Leave a comment

If you like this article, please share it!

Post Author

Tim Jaggs

I am a Brit who now lives just outside San Francisco.  Though I have given up arguing for “football,” not “soccer,” I am still trying to decide whether football is better to watch than rugby – it’s a very close call – and if it’s OK to admit I enjoy baseball almost as much as cricket.

I have worked with organizations managing sexual abuse risk for over 15 years. 

I created BOKRIM to help people working with children, who often have little risk management experience, to use risk management best practices to protect children from sexual abuse and protect themselves from the consequences of failing to prevent sexual abuse.