Common Sense Measures
to Maintain Safe Environments for Charitable Activities
Improper Sexual Conduct Policy Statement
National AMBUCS, Inc. has zero tolerance for improper sexual conduct – from staff, volunteers, or anyone else designated to act in a capacity associated with our name or our mission. We always have been, and will continue to be, committed to the safety and well-being of all persons we serve.
It is an unfortunate truth that even with good intentions and caring hearts, bad things can happen around us. Even more reason for us to anticipate what could possibly go wrong and then work diligently to prevent it. Here are few suggestions on measures you can take to help protect the AMBUCS mission.
1. Plan for Safety.
- In each pre-event planning session, make sure the discussions include safety issues that are in the best interest of the client(s).
- Identify the people who will run the event, whether they are well-known volunteers or some who are just helping out for that one time.
- Be clear about roles and responsibilities and “who” will be “where” and “when.”
- Be sure it is clear to all parties what the start and stop times are for the event, which indicates the duration of your responsibilities.
2. In Selecting a Location or Assigning Duties, Avoid Isolation.
- Spaces that are open and visible to multiple people can create an uncomfortable environment for an individual at risk for exhibiting improper sexual conduct; therefore, incidents are less likely to occur.
- A volunteer/staff person should never meet alone with a client. If privacy is required, they can be out of earshot of others, but not out of sight. Or, encourage a parent or other relative or companion to accompany the client.
- If the activities are outside, make sure the landscape has open, visible spaces, with no possible concealment. But also remember, it can be easy to lose track of people in spaces that are really wide open.
- If the activities are inside, make sure there are clear lines of sight throughout the building, for example, no closed doors.
- Bright lighting is good – whether inside or outside.
- Avoid transporting clients alone under any circumstances. Even if you’re just waiting somewhere with a client for their transportation to arrive, make sure you have another staff/volunteer with you.
- If you have to deliver an item to a client’s home, it’s best to take another volunteer/staff member with you. For our purposes, we’ll call this the “buddy system.”
3. Know Who Is Part of the Sponsoring Group and Who Is a Legitimate Visitor.
- Don’t assume that your obligation to prevent improper sexual conduct pertains only to staff/volunteers.
- Be very careful about allowing people to help with the event who have not been made aware of improper sexual conduct issues and have no obligation for enforcing a safe environment. (NOTE: Providing a “newbie” with this handout, reviewing it with them, and addressing their questions and concerns is advised.)
- Access Control: If you’re outside, fencing around borders can prevent strangers from passing through.
- Access Control: Consider using a single point of entry or a check-in at a central location where visitors can sign in and receive a nametag or other identifying sticker of some sort.
- Definitely maintain sign-in/out records that specify date and time of client’s attendance. These records should be retained by the sponsoring chapter should they be needed in the defense of a claim alleging improper sexual conduct.
4. Be on Guard.
- Monitor who is present at all times; you want to be extra alert in situations that pose more risk for inappropriate behavior.
- Monitor who iMonitor the situation by observing interactions and reacting appropriately.
- Encourage other staff/volunteers to actively interact with clients to maintain adequate supervision.
5. For a complete explanation on how National AMBUCS meets the insurance carrier’s requirements for Improper Sexual Conduct Liability coverage, visit here. The full policy includes answers to the following questions:
- What is Improper Sexual Conduct Liability Insurance?
- How is this issue relevant to an organization such as AMBUCS?
- Aren’t we already meeting this responsibility with the populations we serve?
- What are the ramifications to the organization, itself?
- The Role of Risk Management
- What are the new requirements and how is AMBUCS responding to them?
- Who will be required to undergo criminal background checks?
- How will the background checks be conducted?
- Do chapters need to take any additional measures beyond the background checks?