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Adopt Standards for Responding to Observed, Disclosed or Suspected Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled "in-house" or "within the family." Unfortunately through many high profile cases, we've seen the devastating impact of organizations attempting to resolve the issue internally. Over the years we have also learned that countless children were faced with a secondary betrayal when they disclosed and their parents decided to keep it within the family. In both of these scenarios, victims are not validated and provided an opportunity to heal; and child molesters are not held accountable for their actions and in many cases they continued to have access to children resulting in additional victims.
Adopt Standards for Responding to Boundary Infractions
Remember the Child Sexual Abuse Best Practices Boundaries are designed to interrupt grooming behavior BEFORE abuse occurs. So, although breaking boundaries should be taken very seriously and have pre-defined consequences, the act of breaking a boundary in and of itself does not indicate a crime has been committed. Therefore, it is appropriate to handle cases of broken boundaries in-house if it's related to a youth serving organization or within the family but both should be handled according to your pre-established and documented plan.
As an advocate, you play a key role in educating organization leaders and parents on how to create standardized responses to Observed, Disclosed or Suspected abuse as well as how to respond to boundary violations.