Preventing Child Sexual Abuse In Youth-Serving Organizations
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is an insidious crime that can destroy the lives of innocent children and leave their families devastated. The topic of child sexual abuse is, at best, a difficult subject to discuss and at worst, a horrifying one. Child sexual abuse has been defined as:"Child sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual contact that is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual contact between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity. Sexual contact between an older and a younger child also can be abusive if there is a significant disparity in age, development, or size, rendering the younger child incapable of giving informed consent. The sexually abusive acts may include sexual penetration, sexual touching, or non-contact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism."The following is a representative list of risk factors related specifically to child sexual abuse within youth-serving organizations. Note that the emphasis is on "unsupervised" access to children in a variety of ways.* Unsupervised contact with children* Transportation of children* Long term contact with children in live-in situation* Extreme physical exertion in a remote setting with children* Visit to children's homes* Helping children change clothes, bathe, or with other personal activities* Coaching sports in which physical contact between adult and child is routine* Delivery of meals to children's homesWhile many of the YSO's have undertaken a number of steps to keep the children safe, there are many such organizations that have not faced the facts about the profound risks to children that exist every day.