Now more than ever, it's critical for organizations to protect the children they serve from abuse. At the same time, they also need to protect the organization itself and it's employees from the threat of a lawsuit. But, how do you recognize abuse? When is it considered abuse?
Here are a few guidelines to help you recognize potential abuse, how to determine if it is abuse and a few suggestions to put in your risk management toolbox:
What is abuse?
Abuse can take on many forms, but is generally defined as:
1. Verbal Abuse - To wrong in speech, revile or malign
2. Written Abuse - Disparaging or degrading comments
3. Visual Abuse - Pornography, grooming
4. Physical Abuse - Hitting, spanking, punching
5. Sexual Abuse - Indecent exposure, sexual contact
When is it abuse?
1. Abuse is really in the eye of the beholder
2. Use the broadest possible definition
3. The legal definition of abuse varies by state
4. Always error on the side of caution
Are you protected from a lawsuit?
It is important to read your insurance policies very carefully. The definition of abuse varies greatly from carrier to carrier and can include limitations and even exclusions. Read the fine print, because the insurance companies live by them.
It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself of the Statutes of Limitations in your state, as these can vary greatly as well.