In order to uphold a culture of safety at your Youth-Serving Organization (YSO), communication between leadership, staff and volunteers must focus on accountability, feedback, and clear expectations. Leadership should set the example by highlighting their commitment to your child safety mission.
In order to communicate safety:
Give regular reminders during staff meetings, training, professional development days, and emails of the shared responsibility of all to hold each other accountable for maintaining a culture of safety. Discuss the importance of child abuse prevention with regular communication channels between staff and volunteers. Continue to highlight staff and volunteers’ responsibilities in upholding your organization’s culture of safety.
Provide individual guidance, personal feedback, and positive reinforcement during ongoing supervision meetings and performance reviews. Use individual meeting time to discuss staff and volunteers’ part in upholding and sustaining your organizations mission for safety. Strive to create a culture at your organization in which staff and volunteers feel comfortable to bring their questions and concerns regarding abuse prevention to supervision.
Ensure leadership models their ongoing commitment to safety, communicates expectations, and responds promptly to concerns, suspicions, or allegations brought forward. Leadership should exemplify and reinforce expected behaviors at your organization. Leadership should also address all concerns and questions related to behaviors, redirect inappropriate behaviors, and intervene when observing or hearing about harmful behaviors.
Establish leadership’s role in building and maintaining an environment where conversations about child sexual abuse and prevention becomes normative. To maintain a culture of open communication, leadership should normalize topics of child sexual abuse prevention. Leadership should set an example by initiating conversations about safety during opportunities such as staff meetings, training, professional development days, and supervision.
Disseminate results from internal audits, policy reviews, and after-incident reports with staff to reinforce best practices and address areas that need improvement. Audits, reviews, and incident report information must be distributed to staff and volunteers to review. Analyze what aspects of your safety plan are working accordingly or can be adjusted.
Creating and maintaining a culture of safety at your YSO requires communication between leadership and staff and volunteers. Continuous communication regarding responsibilities to child safety improves the chances of having an organization with a noticeable culture of safety.
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