Monday, 29 August 2011

Prevent Sexual Abuse at Summer Camp

Every year, thousands of children in California head off to summer camp, filled with anticipation about midnight treats and sing-alongs, and endless days of freedom. For many children, summer camp is also where they are introduced to sexual abuse.

This summer, try to ensure that the camp that your child is attending has a safe environment. It’s not always easy to determine that a camp does not contain fertile conditions for abuse. In recent years, California sexual abuse attorneys have come across instances of abuse occurring at camps run by the Boy Scouts, or by conservative Christian groups. Simply put, there's no way you can be 100% sure that the threat of abuse in your child's life is completely eliminated at camp.

When you are checking out a camp, ask questions to ensure that personnel who are working at the camp have been put through a background verification and screening process. All camp staff members and volunteers must have been put through a complete criminal background check.
That includes a Megan's Law screening. Ask the camp operators whether and how they check a staff member’s references. Staff members at the camp must have been trained to watch out for signs of sexual abuse.

Ask questions about specifics. Ideally, more than one adult counselor should be assigned to sleep in a single cabin. No camp staff member should have the authority to take a child to an isolated place for any reason.

Before your child leaves for summer camp, make sure that he knows all the steps he needs to keep himself safe. If any staff member, older camper or any adult at the facility is trying to get your child alone or is making him uncomfortable or trying to touch him inappropriately, he needs to tell another adult immediately.

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