Research shows that a significant percentage of all cases of child sexual abuse occur through organizations that serve youth and children, including schools, churches, sports clubs, and others. Perpetrators may seek employment with these organizations because they recognize the opportunity to be with children and to find a place to groom possible victims. Some of the most infamous cases of child sexual abuse have taken place through youth-serving organizations, including those involving Catholic Church, Penn State University and Jerry Sandusky’s Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, US Swim Clubs, and public schools across the country.
If we hope to end child sexual abuse, we will need to engage youth-serving organizations as leaders in the prevention effort to help them become places where perpetrators can’t find work and where policies and practices at every level better protect children in their care. It is clear that organizations in New Jersey serving children and youth share in the responsibility to take reasonable, necessary and appropriate steps to protect children and youth from the risk of child sexual abuse while they are under the care or supervision of employees or volunteers.
To that end, we have outlined a series of policy and procedural actions for organizations which serve youth should take to protect children from the risk of child sexual abuse.