Youth Protection Policy
District 5100 Youth Protection Policy & Procedures
District 5100 is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact. Rotarians, non-Rotarians and volunteers who serve the youth in the District must adhere to the following core values:INTEGRITY: We are committed to honest, respectful, ethical relations with our participants, citizens, and fellow business partners and customers.
RESPECT: We believe in a healthy volunteer environment based on teamwork, encouragement, trust, concern and honest and responsible communication among all Rotarians, Volunteers and Students.
QUALITY: We constantly strive for excellence and continuous improvement in our Rotary practices and results.
COMMUNICATION: We clearly state our needs and expectations of others, and we clearly express our thoughts and ideas.
COMMITMENT: We demonstrate persistence, determination and tenacity in achieving both our individual and organizational goals.
A. Volunteer Selection and Screening
District 5100 shall provide abuse and harassment prevention training to all Youth Service Program Volunteers. Training sessions shall be provided in accordance with established training policies and guidelines. In addition, Students participating in Youth Service Programs shall be made aware of channels for reporting inappropriate behavior.
C. Allegation Reporting
District 5100 is committed to protecting the safety and well being of all Youth Service Program Students and shall not tolerate their abuse or harassment. All allegations of abuse or harassment will be taken seriously.
District 5100 shall investigate each allegation of abuse and harassment thoroughly and in a timely fashion. District 5100 shall cooperate with all law enforcement, child protective services, and legal investigation and shall only conduct its own independent investigation such that it does not interfere with other investigations.
E. Club Compliance
All Rotary Clubs within District 5100 that participate in Youth Service Programs shall follow the District policies and procedures.
Rotary International ("RI") is the association of Rotary clubs throughout the world. Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. (Manual of Procedure,2004,Pg. 49)
Rotary District 5100 is a geographical area in which Rotary clubs are combined for RI administrative purposes. The activities and organization of a Rotary district shall exist solely to help the individual Rotary club advance the Object of Rotary. (Manual of Procedure, 2004, Pg. 21)
A Rotary club is organized and exists in accordance with the RI constitution and bylaws. (Manual of Procedure,2004, Pg. 3)
Any adult involved with Youth Service Programs who have regular interaction with Students, either supervised or unsupervised. This includes, but is not limited to, club and district Youth Exchange officers and committee members, Rotarian counselors, Rotarians and non-Rotarians, their spouses and partners. For the purposes of this policy the definition of Volunteer shall not include adults who will have only casual or occasional (group) interactions with Students; and friends and acquaintances of host families who may provide occasional rides to and from events or school.
Any youth involved with any Youth Service Program regardless of legal age of majority in the state which has jurisdiction.
Abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse toward Students. Sexual abuse refers to engaging in implicit sexual acts with a youth, or forcing or encouraging a youth to engage in implicit or explicit sexual acts, alone with another person of any age of the same sex or the opposite sex. In addition, sexual abuse may include, but is not limited to, non-touching offenses, indecent exposure or exposing a youth to sexual or pornographic material.
Sexual harassment refers to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
YOUTH SERVICE PROGRAMS:
All programs serving youth including, but not limited to, Youth Exchange, Ryla,
Interact and any other programs serving youth sponsored by District 5100 and/or its Rotary Clubs.
YOUTH PROTECTIVE OFFICER:
The District Governor of District 5100 shall appoint a Rotarian to serve as the District Youth Protective Officer. The Youth Protective Officer is responsible for coordinating background checks on Rotarians involved with Youth Service Programs. This person is responsible for coordinating compliance with this District Youth Protection Policy and Procedures. In the absence from District 5100 of Youth Protective Officer or the inability of Youth Protective Officer to perform those duties, the District Governor of District 5100 may appoint an acting Youth Protective Officer to perform any duties required of the Youth Protective Officer under this Policy and Procedures.
B. District 5100 Compliance
1. District 5100 shall maintain all records of criminal background checks, waivers, and screening for Volunteers working with Youth Service Programs in perpetuity.
2. District 5100 shall provide secure storage the personal information of all Volunteers.
3. All program Volunteers will be provided a list of local assistance services in the district (ex-rape and suicide crisis hotline, alcohol and drug awareness programs for teenagers, proper law enforcement agencies, community services, private services, etc.)
4. District 5100 shall ensure youth reporting Abuse or Sexual Harassment shall receive appropriate support and counsel.
5. District 5100 shall report all criminal allegations relating to any Youth Service Program activity to RI within 72 hours of notice of such allegation.
6. The District Governor-Elect shall evaluate and review this policy and accompanying procedure annually by July 1.
C. Club Compliance
1. All District 5100 Rotary Clubs shall submit a report annually to the District Youth Protective Officer identifying all Youth Service Programs that the Club sponsored during the previous year and those planned for the forthcoming Rotary year. This report shall be submitted prior to July 1 of each year.
2. Clubs are to certify compliance with this District Youth Protection Policy and Procedures:
All District 5100 Rotary Club Presidents shall certify to the District that their Club is in compliance with all the requirements identified in this Policy and Procedure. The certification must accompany the annual Youth Service Programs report required in subsection (1) (a) of this section, submitted prior to July 1 of each year to the District Youth Protective Officer.
D. Volunteer Screening and Selection
1. Volunteers required to submit application:
a. The following Volunteers shall complete an application to participate in any Youth Service Program:
i. All adult residents of a host family home;
ii. Club and District Youth Service Program Chairpersons and committee persons;
iii. Youth Service Program Counselors;
iv. The Youth Protective Officer;
v. Various other Rotarians and Non-Rotarians that regularly host, chaperone, or drive Students for activities or outings; and
vi. All others who the District Governor or Club President determines, based on their regular contact with youth involved in Rotary Youth Service Programs, should be included in the background check process.
b. Application Form shall include:
i. District 5100 shall use the Rotary International Youth Volunteer Affidavit form or other form approved by the District Governor;
ii. a copy of the program rules and requirements for the Youth Services Program for which the Volunteer is applying to participate; and
iii. a copy of this Youth Protection Policy and Procedure will be included.
c. Club Presidents and District Youth Service Program Committee Chairpersons shall ensure that the completed Application forms are submitted to the Youth Protective Officer for processing and approved prior to the Volunteer participating in the program.
2. Volunteer screening process:
a. Volunteers for Youth Service Programs will be interviewed to determine their suitability to work with youth.
b. Volunteers identified in D. 1 (a) shall submit to a background check.
c. Volunteers shall have background checks completed at least once every 3 years.
3. Screening Costs: The Club and District Committee shall remit, with each Youth Volunteer Affidavit, the prescribed fee for processing each background check.
E. Background Checks
1.Club and District Committee responsibility for submitting background check affidavits:
a. All District 5100 Rotary Clubs shall obtain a completed Youth Volunteer Affidavit form from each adult Volunteer involved in a Youth Service Program(s), who are required under this Policy and Procedure to have a background check;
b. All District Youth Service Program Committee Chairpersons shall obtain a completed Youth Volunteer Affidavit form from each District Youth Service Program Committee member.
2.Background Check processing:
a. If a Volunteer has a record of any of the following the Volunteer shall be determined to not meet the District 5100 criteria to serve as a Volunteer with a Youth Service Program:
i. any active warrants;
ii. any active restraining orders;
iii. are registered as a sex offender;
iv. any felony conviction;
v. any sex offense conviction;
vi. any controlled substance conviction within the last 10 years; or
vii. any three (3) or more convictions for any crime within the last 10 years.
b. The check will be conducted in a manner that will provide District 5100 with a simple statement indicating the Volunteer either meets or does not meet the criteria specified in this Policy and Procedure. Any record matching one or more of the criteria specified in subsection 2 (a) will result in a determination that the person does not meet the criteria to participate as a Volunteer in a Youth Service Program.
c. District 5100 may contract with an independent company to conduct criminal background checks and maintain the background check records for District 5100 Volunteers. The provider must obtain its information from a government source.
d. The Youth Protective Officer will provide written notice to the Club President or District Committee submitting the Volunteer Application and the Volunteer that the Volunteer has been declined for service as a Volunteer in a Youth Service Program. The Volunteer submitting the application may request to be provided information on who they may contact to determine why they did not qualify and how to challenge information used to reach that conclusion.
1. District 5100 shall provide Abuse and Sexual Harassment awareness training to all Youth Service Program Volunteers. Training sessions shall be provided in accordance with the District’s established training policies and guidelines. In addition, Students participating in Youth Service Programs shall be made aware of channels for reporting inappropriate behavior.
2. District 5100 shall:
a. Assign the responsibility of coordinating Volunteer training sessions to the Youth Protection Officer, who will coordinate with the District Trainer to schedule sessions at District Assembly.
b. Sponsor semi-annual training sessions (or annually during the District Assembly) and provide a training program available on line which shall be certified by the District or administered by the Clubs, which shall be accepted upon certification by the Club.
c. Maintain training session attendance records of Youth Service Program Volunteers to ensure compliance.
3. Youth Service Program Volunteers shall attend a minimum of one training session per year either sponsored by District 5100 or the Club.
4. Training Curriculum:
Goal of the training shall be to acquaint Volunteers with their responsibilities under this Youth Protection Policy and Procedure. Volunteers are not expected to learn the nuances of identifying a child molester or abuser nor are they expected to learn symptoms of child abuse or neglect. Volunteers are not to be trained to be "watch dogs." Curriculum shall include, at a minimum:
a. A copy of the District 5100 Youth Protection Policy and Procedure; and
b. A review of the components of the District 5100 Youth Protection Policy and Procedure.
G. Allegation Reporting
1. Any adult to whom a Student reports an incident of Abuse or Sexual Harassment is responsible for following this Allegation Reporting Procedure.
a. When receiving the report from a Student:
i. Listen attentively and stay calm. Acknowledge that it takes a lot of courage to report abuse. It is appropriate to listen and be encouraging. Do not express shock, horror, or disbelief.
ii. Assure privacy but not confidentiality. Explain that you will have to tell someone about the abuse/harassment to make it stop and to ensure that it doesn’t happen to other Students.
iii. Get the facts, but don’t interrogate. Ask the Student questions that establish what was done and who did it. Reassure the Student that she/he did the right thing in telling you. Avoid asking "why" questions. Remember your responsibility is to report the Student’s story to the proper authorities.
iv. Be non-judgmental and reassure the Student. Do not be critical of anything that has happened or anyone who may be involved. It is especially important not to blame or criticize the Student. Assure the Student that the situation was not their fault and that they were brave and mature to come to you.
v. Make a written record of the meeting. Keep a written report of the conversation with the Student as soon after the report as you can, including the date and time of the conversation. Use the Student’s words, and record only what has been told to you.
b. Protect the Student:
Ensure the safety and well-being of the Student. Remove the Student from the situation immediately and all contact with the alleged abuser or harasser. Give reassurance that this is for the Student’s own safety and is not a punishment.
c. Do not Challenge the Alleged Offender:
The adult to whom the Student reports should not contact the alleged offender.
d. Report to Appropriate Law Enforcement Authorities:
Immediately report all cases of child abuse or harassment to the appropriate police department. In either Oregon or Washington you may contact the police or sheriff's office in the city or county were the alleged abuse occurred; or (i) in Oregon, you may contact the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888 or 503-375-3555 (in the Salem area); (ii) in Washington, you may contact the Washington State Child Protective Services at 1-800-866-ENDHARM.
e. Report to Appropriate District and Club Officials:
Immediately after reporting the child abuse or harassment to the police, notify the District 5100 Youth Protective Officer, and the local Club President.
2. The Youth Protective Officer shall immediately notify the District Governor and Chairperson of the committee having responsibility for the Student. The reporting Rotarian shall provide the responding police officer’s name to the Youth Protective Officer. The Chairperson may advise the Committee Counselor responsible for the youth. If the allegation involved any of these Rotarians, the notification to that person will not be made.
3. The District Governor shall notify Rotary International with 72 hours of the reported child abuse or harassment. In the absence of the District Governor, or if that officer is involved, the District Youth Protective Officer will notify Rotary International within the prescribed time.
Care shall be taken to protect the rights of both the victim and the accused during the investigation. Do not tell anyone about the report other than those required by this policy and procedure.
I. Investigation of Allegations
The Youth Protective Officer ("YPO") shall ensure that the following steps are taken immediately following a child abuse or harassment report:
a. The adult to whom the Student reports the abuse should follow this allegation reporting procedure;
b. Confirm that the Student has been removed from the situation immediately and all contact with the alleged abuser or harasser;
c. Contact the law enforcement agency receiving the report to verify the report was made as required and determine what the District can do to assist;
d. If the law enforcement agency is not going to investigate, the YPO shall arrange for a qualified investigator to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. Not all allegations of inappropriate behavior may be criminal. Nevertheless, the Student’s safety shall always be our top priority;
e. If the YPO conducts an independent investigation in lieu of a police investigation, a complete written report will be forwarded to the attorney for District 5100. During the investigation the YPO will be responsible to keep the attorney for District 5100 apprised of the status of the investigation. The attorney for District 5100 will be responsible for providing appropriate information and counsel to the District Governor and Club President;
f. Ensure the Student receives support services;
g. Offer the Student an independent counselor to represent the interests of the Student. Such services may be available through the local school district, police department, or County’s crime victim advocates;
h. The District Governor or his designee shall contact the Student’s parents or legal guardian. If away from home, provide the Student with the option of either staying in country or returning home. If the Student wishes to return home the law enforcement organization investigating the accusation should be contacted and given an opportunity to obtain investigative information;
i. Remove alleged abuser or harasser from all contact with the specific Student and other youth while investigations are being conducted; and
j. Cooperate with the police or legal investigation.
J. Responding to the needs of the Student
There will need to be a cohesive and managed team approach to supporting the Student after an allegation report. The Student is likely to feel embarrassed, confused, and may become withdrawn and appear to be avoiding members of the host family or club. After a report of harassment or abuse, Students may or may not want to remain in the program. If they do, they may or may not want to continue their relationship with the hosting/local Rotary club depending on the circumstances. In some cases, a Student who is away from home may wish to remain in country, but change to a different host club. Whenever possible, the District Committee Chair should attempt to accommodate the Student’s wishes in this area.
It may be difficult for club members and host families to understand how the Student is feeling, but it would be helpful for the Student to know that the club remains a support for them. Club members and host families may experience ambiguity toward their roles and may feel unclear regarding their boundaries. However, they need to do whatever is necessary to reassure the Student of their support at all times.
K. Communication within the Club concerning allegations
Sharing information concerning the allegation with club members should only occur with those having a need to know. When addressing an allegation of child abuse or harassment, the most important concern is the safety of the Students. Club members should not speculate, make editorial comments, or offer personal opinions that could potentially hinder any District or criminal investigations. Club members should be cautioned about speculating or commenting on the matter during the investigations. Comments made about alleged victims in support of alleged abusers do not support our statement of conduct or Rotary ideals. Comments made against an alleged abuser could lead to a slander or libel claim filed against Rotarians or clubs by the alleged abuser.
L. Program Evaluation and Review
Each District 5100 Youth Service Program Committee Chair shall annually evaluate their Youth Service Program in writing to ensure program compliance and effectiveness.