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  • We CAN do better! We MUST do better!

    February 24, 2021 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector

    We can do better!  We must do better!

    I woke in the middle of the night!  My heart was heavy … I could not sleep!  So, I put the tea kettle on and I decided to catch up on my reading.

    • I reread a draft of an article on Lessons Learned from Fallen Leaders.
    • I read an email that had just come in – An Open Letter to Victims of Clergy Abuse! 
    • I turned my attention to social media, where I read a flurry of social media posts criticizing leaders for their response to allegations of abuse. 
    • I read of a series of incidences of abuse within the cheer industry.
    • I read the results of the investigation into allegations against Ravi Zacharias.

    As a person of faith, I find comfort in reading the Psalms and Proverbs – but even there I read of oppression, plagues, abuse, the burden of suffering due to poor choices, and the enemy pursuing his victim and overcoming him.  The folly of one’s ways. 

    When I read, I am challenged … provoked to be better … to do more … to feel deeply about the hurts and pains of this world. 

    Are you challenged when you read these accounts?  Or do you just shake your head and criticize the offenders. 

    Is there anything that incites you and fuels your passion to do more, to be better yourself?

  • There are apologies and there are apologies.

    There are apologies and there are apologies! February 12, 2021 Barrie Doyle
    Filed Under:
    Case Study

    As more and more organizations and their leaders in our society come under scrutiny for misdeeds, bad decisions, criminal acts, they are finding that the act of apology is a critical piece in moving through a crisis and regaining the reputation they once had.

    Reputation management is what organizations must do if they are to continue their existence. Public trust and public will can build or destroy those reputations. It does not matter if you are a celebrity or a small non-profit, your survival depends greatly on the Court of Public Opinion. Famed financier Warren Buffet once said that it can take twenty or more years to build a solid reputation. But it only takes twenty minutes to destroy it!

    Apologies to the public for any transgression are, therefore, critical. It might be for statements made by employees or leaders, or it might be for actions or decisions made by corporate entities. Reading or watching the news these days will identify at least three per week from around the world.

  • Cynefin Framework by Dave Snowden

    So what’s the big deal about best practices?

    February 8, 2021 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures

    Best practices are ideal for the simple design of a program or an event.  We are all aware though that when caring for the vulnerable, a program is seldom simple, rather, as we learn in the Cynefin Framework, we often find ourselves in complicated or complex situations where best practices do not fit the scenario. 

    I remember a time when a youth pastor called me, frustrated as he was driving to a youth event and there was a lightning storm outside.  He saw one of his students walking to the event fighting off the rain and wind and subject to lightning.  He was facing a complex situation where he had to either leave the student to nature or break policy and forego the best practice of never driving a student alone in the car.  At times like this, we want to buy-in to the myth that Plan to Protect® doesn’t work in complicated and complex situations.  However, if you have heard me teach, you know I often speak of good, better, best and bad. 

  • By Karine Devost

    In recent years, churches have been rocked by high-profile accusations of sexual misconduct among clergy. Most recently, Ontario school boards have been involved in lawsuits arising from sexual abuse incidents which occurred “in a distant past.” Unfortunately, sexual and physical abuse are rarely reported at the time of the abuse, and it takes victims decades to come forward and report the abuse.  Limitation periods (timelines for suing) if missed, provide a complete defence to a civil lawsuit and put an end to the case. The fundamental principle of a statute of limitations is to protect the defendant.

    There are two main reasons behind it. One is that there should be some finality so that a person can move on with his or her life without the constant threat of legal action hanging over their heads. The second is about ensuring a fair trial for the defendant.

  • The Covid Conundrum

    Responding to Crises Raised During COVID-19 November 5, 2020 By Barrie Doyle
    Filed Under:
    Case Study

    Covid is not going away. Obviously.

    As the pandemic drags on and impacts our thinking, planning and actions, there’s a sense of resignation and, yes, even complacency setting in in some quarters.

    Part of that is the Second World War thinking of “keep calm and carry on.” Which is commendable. But it can also lead to complacency and a lack of understanding of the modern mindset which is driven in part by various social media platforms.

    What that means is that the public is both more aware and more vocal than ever about what it perceives as carelessness or wrongdoing by organizations in the public eye.

  • Source: with permission: https://telioslaw.com/blog/ten-ways-land-court-over-sexual-harassment

    Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Al Franken—and the list goes on. High-profile sexual harassment allegations have shaken up Hollywood, the media, and politics. But don’t think that this trend is confined to celebrities. They are not the only ones who can, and do, abuse power. Sexual harassment by employees, if not dealt with swiftly, can create a toxic work environment as well as land even small organizations in hot water. In light of this timely topic, here are ten easy ways to end up in court over sexual harassment. Topics in this “what not to do” list are examples taken from actual cases. 

    Before diving into this list, it is important to remember when organizations can be held legally liable for sexual harassment that happens to their employees. A key defense exists to sexual harassment liability for organizations, called the Faragher/Ellerth defense. In order to take advantage of this defense, an organization must prove “(a) that the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and (b) that the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.”1 With that in mind, let’s dive into the list, as many of these easy ways to fail are ways to lose this defense.

  • Parents Take 5 for Safety

    A Guide for Making the Decision for School and Care August 13, 2020 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Vulnerable Sector

    “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” Charles Swindoll

    One of the biggest decisions we have to make during our lives is whether or not we will become parents.  For some, this was a no-brainer - What do you want to be when you grow up?  A mommy, or a daddy!

    When we had children, did we ever anticipate that we would be bringing children into a COVID world and needing to protect them not only from predators, allergens, childhood illnesses, but also pandemics?

    Today, desperate parents are trying to make the decision as how best to educate their children in a COVID world?  Everyone has an opinion as to what is best for your child.  Even your child has an opinion. 

    The options most parents are faced with are, sending their children back to daycare and school, school by internet at home or at a caregivers, learning pods, or homeschooling.

    The tension of making this major decision is causing parents everywhere to panic. 

    Arguments fill the room and phone lines with tension.

    Our emotional and mental states are in the danger zone.

    Your children are bored.

    The virus still is waiting to find another victim.

    The clock is ticking down.

    Your employers are growing impatient for you to either return to work or to be less distracted.

    Child abuse is on the rise.

    OK – time out!  Take 5.  Breathe …. Breathe deeply.

  • “Female karate teacher sends nude photos to 11-year-old student and invites him over to her house for sex.”

    “Youth pastor accused of sending sexual texts to 15 year old.”

    “Camp Director sends inappropriate snapchat messages to campers.”

    “Teacher sentenced for texting student thousands of times.”

    ...

  • Jun29Mon

    Athlete A: A Netflix Documentary

    June 29, 2020 Jessica Debanné

    The Netflix documentary Athlete A , directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, details the story of the USA Gymnastics (USAG) sex abuse scandal that utterly shocked the world in recent years. Through the lens of interviews with survivors and a thorough account of the Indianapolis Star journalists who first dug into this story, the film poignantly...

  • I will do something!

    June 1, 2020
    Filed Under:
    Case Study

    I am sure that similar to myself, your heart has been heavy with the news that is coming from the United States after the senseless murder of George Floyd. 

    How is it even possible that those that have sworn to protect and serve are using such brutal force that they can murder an individual while bystanders are watching. Does the word protect mean nothing! What are we striving to protect? Property, reputation, liberty, power, position ... or people?  

    Is it alright to sacrifice one in the name of many?  

    George Floyd was murdered by police officers, while bystanders looked on. This senseless act, devaluing a life, is not new. For centuries people have looked on, both up close and from a distance: Jerusalem, Rome, Europe, Middle East, First Nations, Slavery, South Africa, Rwanda, and now among people of colour at the hands of law enforcement. Silence is complicity.