Presentation on theme: "Student Safety ll: Systems and Practices for an Appropriate Response to an Event Vince Leonardo, Police Captain Diane Leonardo, School Administrator Clovis,"— Presentation transcript:
Student Safety ll: Systems and Practices for an Appropriate Response to an Event Vince Leonardo, Police Captain Diane Leonardo, School Administrator Clovis, CA
Scenario A fifth grade student approaches you before school and says that she must tell you something, but you must promise not to tell anyone else. The student then says that her grandfather, with whom she liveshas been touching her in a way she thinks might be wrong. What do you do?
Scenario You have noticed a gradual decline in grades and attention of one of your sixth grade students. You have also noticed he makes frequent sexual comments and gestures when around his friends, and has tried to touch or kiss female students in his class. What do you do?
Statistics Less than 10% of child sexual abuse is reported to the police.
Reasons children are afraid to report: Don’t want abuser to get in trouble Afraid to disappoint adults Fear parents will be angry Unclear activity is wrong Fears harm to their family Shame
Factors contributing to under- reporting by ADULTS Fear of being wrong Don’t know reporting procedures Unclear about signs of abuse
School personnel are the source of over 50% of abuse reports made by professionals to authorities.
Disclosure vs. Suspicion DISCLOSURE of sexual abuse means a child has chosen you as the person he or she trusts enough to tell. It is the moment when children learn whether others can be trusted to stand up for them. SUSPICION means one sees a situation or series of situations that break rules or press boundaries.
Responding to Suspicion IF you suspect - no matter how vague your suspicion - GET HELP!
Reasonable Suspicion Vs. Probable Cause Vs. Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Reasonable Suspicion Lowest level of “proof” Not enough to make an arrest, but is enough to begin an investigation Reasonable suspicion is the legal standard of proof in United States Law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants, but more than a "hunch'“, it must be based on "specific and articulable facts", "taken together with rational inferences from those facts", and the suspicion must be associated with the specific individual.
Reasonable Suspicion Most state child abuse reporting laws employ the "reasonable suspicion" standard as the threshold above which mandated reporters must report the case. However, the definition of this term is not widely understood. As a result there is large variation in the rates of child abuse reporting in different states
Probable Cause In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which an officer or agent of the law has the grounds to obtain a warrant for, or as an exception to the warrant requirements for, making an arrest or conducting a personal or property search, etc. when criminal charges are being considered.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of evidence required to validate a criminal conviction in most adversarial legal systems
Responding to Disclosure Think through your response before you react. You'll be able to respond in a more supportive manner. – Believe the child and make sure the child knows it. – Thank the child for telling you and praise the child's courage for telling you. – Don’t respond in anger or disbelief – Assure the child that it's your responsibility to protect him or her and that you'll do all you can. – Try not to show anger toward the offender, who may be someone the child loves. You can add to the child's burden by showing how upset you are – Do not make promises especially ones that indicate “everything will be okay”
Continuing the Conversation 1.Non – Leading Questions 2.Redirecting if necessary Encourage the child to talk, but don't ask leading questions about details.
Reporting vs. Investigating Reporting policies should be should be absolutely clear about the fact that staff should never investigate allegations. Investigations should always be left up to the proper authorities. Do not let curiosity about the events cause you to ask more than you need.
Reporting vs. Investigating One of the goals of law enforcement in the modern day of investigating these crimes is to have as few interviews of the victim as possible. Multidisciplinary Interview process. (MDIC) Use of a Forensic Interviewer
Law Enforcement Partnerships Who are your Local Law Enforcement Partners? What Child Advocacy Agencies are available to you? How do they operate in relation to your school? Are anyone on these agencies on your current team?
Clear Reporting Protocols A climate that encourages people to question confusing or uncertain behaviors and practices Protocols outlining WHO to report to when one sees POTENTIALLY inappropriate or harmful behavior Protocols include both direct-line and back-up reporting protocols Protocols are in alignment with local, state, federal mandates Protocols that demand confidentiality: Protection of child, the accused, the reporter and witnesses
Confidentiality It is essential to maintain confidentiality of written and oral reports in order to protect the identities of the child, family, and alleged abuser who are the subject of the report. Knowledge of the report should be restricted to a "need to know" basis.
CPS or law enforcement has the responsibility to assess and investigate. It is critical that the educator not lead the child. The child may be afraid to tell the whole truth because of;-Fear of being further hurt by the abuser if he or she tells;- A belief that the abuser may go to jail;- Fear that the child may be removed from the home;- Feelings of loyalty and attachment to the parent, no matter how bad the situation might be. The child may feel that the abuse or neglect is normal. Unfortunately, it can be very easy to fall into the role of confidant to an abused child who has begged that no one be told.
States, educators are mandated reporters for child maltreatment cases. It is important to understand that, legally speaking, educators only need reasonable suspicion rather than hard evidence or proof to report alleged child abuse. It may be tempting to call the parents and see what they have to say, but such action can pose several serious problems, such as increasing the risk of further abuse to the child or interfering with the initial investigation. Many schools have protocols detailing how suspected maltreatment is to be reported to law enforcement or child protection agencies. These protocols delineate what information the educator will need to provide when reporting, or whether teachers,administrators and other school personnel should refer all suspicions to the school’s Child Protection Team who will then make the report to law enforcement or child protection agnecies.