GROUND RULES TO AVOID SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
series: PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE by meera seshadri
It's important to ensure that there are two caregivers present at all time. Restricting alone time is important. Making sure that the interactions that children are having with adults are well-documented and well observed by everyone in the community. That there aren't any unnecessary reasons for children to stay after hours or be alone with people for no reason.
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Interactions should have a specific reason and be timebound and its really important that people set boundaries. Again with physical touch, don't assume that children want to be hugged or held or touched at all unless it's asked. Many of these children have never been asked even by someone not intending to hurt them such as whether they would like a hug or whether they would like a high five. So sort of reintroducing again the idea of choice.
In this space it's important that if there is a mental health professional or a specialist on site. That they are regularly monitored by this specialist and that the space is sort of checked out and made sure that children feel safe there. It's a great idea to have the specialist come and check this space and also ask children like, are you feeling happy here? Do you enjoy coming here?
Those indicators will be really helpful in gauging whether the space is feeling good to them or not.
Meera is a health communications specialist, researcher, and activist working at the intersection of gender-based violence prevention and sexual health promotion. She has spent over a decade working to increase access to, and utilization of, comprehensive...
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sexual health resources for adolescents in communities worldwide, developing violence prevention and education programs at Emory, Georgetown, and Harvard Universities and working as a consultant and curriculum development specialist for Soteria Solutions, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Bank.
She is passionate about confronting the ideological and institutional challenges that affect young people's health, wellness, and autonomy. Meera works in coalition with university, non-profit, corporate, and community stakeholders to create policies and environments that prioritize gender equity, intersectionality, and social justice.