PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
The following constitute the policies of The Montford Moppets Youth Shakespeare Company (Moppets) with regard to awareness and prevention of abuse within our organization.
- Moppets is committed to provide a safe environment and to prevent child abuse and sexual misconduct.
- Moppets will make every reasonable effort to ensure that every person involved in teaching, directing, leading or otherwise participating in an activity in our organization will abide by the SafeKids guidelines.
- Moppets will make every reasonable effort to exclude any adult with a legally documented history of child abuse/molestation or any other conviction or record that would bring unnecessary risk to the health and safety of the participants of this organization.
- Moppets will perform a criminal background check on every adult in our organization who works directly with the students.
- Moppets will take appropriate action on all allegations of child abuse and/or sexual misconduct. All allegations will be reported immediately to the authorities for investigation, and we will cooperate fully with any such investigation.
The following represent the preventative measures of our organization with regard to abuse, and all Directors, Actors and Volunteers are to be made aware of the following policies:
- Physical, mental, and verbal abuse of any of the students, directors, employees, or volunteers involved in our sponsored activities is not permitted.
- Inappropriate touching of any kind is forbidden.
- We agree to provide more than one adult working at or overseeing every activity whenever possible and seek to avoid one-on-one situations. If a student needs special attention, it will be handled with the assistance or presence of another adult.
- Directors/Volunteers should not socialize with the participants outside of the sponsored activities of the organization.
- Employees, Directors and Volunteers should never ride alone with a student in the car. Procedures will be established for Employees / Directors / Volunteers to follow in the event a participant is stranded at an activity.
- Parents are encouraged to attend sponsored activities.
- It is the intent of the Moppets to deny a position to anyone convicted of a crime of violence or a crime against another person.
WHO MUST REPORT
If you suspect abuse or neglect, report it by calling 828-250-5900.
Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect can, in good faith, report. Any person 18 years of age or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile has been or is the victim of a violent offense, sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse under G.S. 14-318.2 should immediately report the case of that juvenile to the appropriate local law enforcement agency in the county where the juvenile resides or is found.
Mandated reporters must also notify Moppets of the report; however, reporting the allegations to Moppets does not fulfill the requirement to report directly to CPS. Learn more about what it means to be a mandatory reporter and the process for reporting abuse at https://nccasa.org/resources/mandatory-reporting/.
DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE / NEGLECT
Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury to a child. Physical abuse may include, but is not limited to, burning, beating, kicking and punching. There may be physical evidence of bruises, burns, broken bones or other unexplained injuries. Internal injuries may not be readily apparent.
Sexual abuse encompasses several different types of inappropriate sexual behavior:
- Any intentional touching/contact that can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or any other improper purpose.
- Sexual penetration.
- Accosting, soliciting, or enticing a child to commit, or attempt to commit, an act of sexual contact or penetration, including prostitution.
Child maltreatment is defined as the treatment of a child that involves cruelty or suffering that a reasonable person would recognize as excessive. Possible examples of maltreatment are:
- A parent who utilizes locking the child in a closet as a means of punishment.
- A parent who forces his or her child to eat dog food out of a dog bowl during dinner as a method of punishment and/or humiliation.
- A parent who responds to his or her child’s bed-wetting by subjecting the child to public humiliation by hanging a sign outside the house or making the child wear a sign to school which lets others know that the child wets the bed.
A pattern of physical or verbal acts or omissions on the part of the parent and/or person responsible for the health and welfare of the child that results in psychological or emotional injury/impairment to a child or places a child at significant risk of being psychologically or emotionally injured/impaired (e.g., depression, anxiety, lack of attachment, psychosis, fear of abandonment or safety, fear that life or safety is threatened, etc.).
Child neglect encompasses several areas:
- Physical Neglect – Negligent treatment, including but not limited to failure to provide or attempt to provide the child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding those situations solely attributable to poverty.
- Failure to Protect – Knowingly allowing another person to abuse and/or neglect the child without taking appropriate measures to stop the abuse and/or neglect or to prevent it from recurring when the person is able to do so and has, or should have had, knowledge of the abuse and/or neglect.
- Improper Supervision – Placing the child in, or failing to remove the child from, a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and results in harm or threatened harm to the child.
- Abandonment – The person responsible for the child’s health and welfare leaves a child with an agency, person or other entity (e.g., DHS, hospital, mental health facility, etc.) without:
- Obtaining an agreement with that person/entity to assume responsibility for the child.
- Cooperating with the department to provide for the care and custody of the child.
- Medical Neglect – Failure to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for the child, with the failure resulting in or presenting risk of death, disfigurement or bodily harm or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development or functioning of the child.
INDICATORS OF CHILD ABUSE / NEGLECT
Determining when to report situations of suspected child abuse/neglect can be difficult. When in doubt, contact Child Protective Services for consultation. Below are some of the commonly accepted physical and behavioral warning signs associated with various forms of child abuse and neglect. Note that the physical and behavioral indicators below, in themselves, are not the only indicators of child abuse and neglect and, if present, do not always mean a child is being abused or neglected.
- Bruises more numerous than expected from explanation of incident.
- Unexpected bruises, welts or loop marks in various stages of healing.
- Adult/human bite marks.
- Bald spots or missing clumps of hair.
- Unexplained fractures, skin lacerations, punctures, or abrasions.
- Swollen lips and/or chipped teeth.
- Linear/parallel marks on cheeks and/or temple area.
- Crescent-shaped bruising caused by pinching.
- Puncture wounds that resemble distinctive objects.
- Bruising behind the ears.
- Self-destructive/self mutilation.
- Withdrawn and/or aggressive- behavior extremes.
- Uncomfortable/skittish with physical contact.
- Arrives at activities late.
- Expresses fear of being at home.
- Chronic runaway (adolescents).
- Complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably.
- Wears clothing inappropriate to weather to cover body.
- Lacks impulse control (e.g., inappropriate outbursts).
- Distended stomach, emaciated.
- Unattended medical needs.
- Lack of supervision.
- Consistent signs of hunger, inappropriate dress, poor hygiene.
- Sudden or unexplained weight change. Regularly displays fatigue or listlessness; falls asleep in class.
- Steals, hoards or begs for food.
- Reports that no caretaker is at home.
- Pain or itching in genital area.
- Bruises or bleeding in genital area.
- Sexually transmitted disease.
- Frequent urinary or yeast infections.
- Sudden or unexplained weight change.
- Pregnancy 12 years or under.
- Withdrawal, chronic depression.
- Sexual behaviors or references that are unusual for the child’s age.
- Seductive or promiscuous behavior.
- Poor self-esteem, self devaluation, lack of confidence.
- Suicide attempts.
- Hysteria, lack of emotional control.
- Habit disorders (sucking, rocking).
Head Lice Issues
An allegation of neglect based solely on a child having head lice is not appropriate for a CPS investigation. This condition could arise in any number of ways and is not, in and of itself, an indicator of neglect.
There are times when a child’s behavior is a concern and may need further evaluation by a medical professional. If mandated reporters determine psychological help may be needed for a child, they should provide that information to the parent. It is up to the parent and/or guardian to make an appropriate decision for their child.
- Immunizations – CPS is not authorized to investigate complaints that allege parents are failing or refusing to obtain immunizations for their children. The North Carolina Public Health Code provides for exceptions to the immunization requirements.
- Medication – CPS is not responsible for investigating complaints that allege parents are failing or refusing to provide their children with psychotropic medication such as Ritalin.
School Truants and Runaways
Routine complaints on school truants and runaways are not appropriate for CPS. Truancy and running away are not in themselves synonymous with child abuse or neglect.
Multiple Allegations of Chronic Abuse and/or Neglect Suspected
If a mandated reporter reports a suspicion of child abuse/neglect and then a new allegation occurs, the mandated reporter must make another verbal and written report of suspected abuse and/or neglect. It is important to treat each suspected incident of abuse and/or neglect independently as it occurs. Each allegation of suspected child abuse and/or neglect could uncover patterns the CPS investigator would analyze during the intake and investigation process.
Making the Report
- Do not wait until the morning to call Children’s Protective Services when the allegations are that the caretaker left the children alone in the middle of the night. The caretaker will usually be back home and it will be difficult to prove. Call when the children are still alone.
- Do not wait a week to report and say that there was no food in the home last week. There may be food in the home now and it will be difficult to prove. Call as soon as you can.
- Children’s Protective Services is available and willing to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, however, it is important that the reporting person provides enough information and details to warrant an investigation.