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  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • “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.”

    ...

  • Can We Use Restraints?

    What do we do if parents/guardians request compression hugs or restraints for their loved ones? October 31, 2019 Kate McCullough
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures, Vulnerable Sector
    This article was originally printed in the spring winter issue of  PROTECT .

    Physical restraints have long posed an ethical dilemma in mental health services in North America. On one hand, they help prevent self-injury or harm to others. On the other, they can increase agitation, confusion, and distrust due to their coercive nature. What...
  • What constitutes a high-risk activity?

    July 12, 2019 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of high risk is: likely to result in failure, harm or injury or more likely than others. 

    When assessing the risk level of an activity, assess the severity of the harm, injury or abuse: whether it is trivial (little to no effect), minor (requiring first aid), moderate (sprains,...

  • Concussions: Protect Your Head

    April 1, 2019 Bridget Boadway
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures, Vulnerable Sector

    For the past six summers, I have been the Sports Camp Coordinator for a week-long day camp.  Each year, we have approximately 60 campers ages 7 to 12 years old participating in various sports, including soccer, ball hockey, basketball, volleyball, as well as many large group games – all on varying terrain.  With the heightened...

  • Protect Through Screening

    February 28, 2019 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures
    Criminal background checks and/or vulnerable sector checks are only one step in the screening process.
  • I was recently interviewed by Faith Today magazine and they asked, “how many organizations and churches have a plan to protect?” 

    My hope is that every organization and church that serves the vulnerable sector, would have some sort of a plan to protect but not all plans are the same, nor do they all adhere to the same standard.

    As we review and customize hundreds of policies and procedure manuals a year, we see such a wide variety of policies including:

    • Policies which range from one page to 500 pages; 
    • Policies which addressing only sexual abuse, to policies that cover all types of abuse and neglect; and
    • Policies which are designed only to protect children, to policies that protect all vulnerable persons.
    Plan to Protect® was first written in 1996 and our desire has been and continues to be to provide the HIGHEST STANDARD of protection and abuse prevention. However, in the last 22 years Plan to Protect® has gone through many updates and revisions.  For example, we’re now on our third significant edition of the manual - please ensure your Plan to Protect® published manual was written after 2010 to make sure you have the most up-to-date one.
  • We are often asked if schools follow the same standard of protection that Plan to Protect® recommends.  Often the standards schools follow are the objections that Board members and leaders use to refute the best practices that are laid out in policies and procedures.  How safe are our schools?
  • Feb28Wed

    Member Profile: Southwestern Ontario Youth for Christ/Youth Unlimited

    February 28, 2018 Article by: Meagan Gillmore, Freelance Writer, Toronto
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures, Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector, Case Study
    Rapid changes in youth culture and communication can make it hard for adults to know how to teach youth how to build and create healthy relationships. That's one reason why Southwestern Ontario YFC/YU prioritizes consistent training about abuse prevention...

    This hasn't hurt staff and volunteers' ability to build good relationships with students, said Deller. Students may wonder sometimes why a staff or volunteer can't give them a ride alone, butthey understand when staff and volunteers explain the safety reasons for it. These are the same reasons why staff and volunteers give students side hugs or fist pumps instead of letting them sit on their laps or giving them hugs.