Each District 5320 youth activities program and participating Rotary Clubs will develop a screening and selection process appropriate for the adults working with youth in a specific program.
All volunteers, including Rotarians, non-Rotarian spouses, and Rotaractors who are over the age of 18 must complete the District’s “Abuse and Harassment Prevention Training” (Youth Protection Training) if they will work directly with youth under the age of 18 in any Rotary program including Interact, RYLA or Rotary Youth Exchange. Training dates are posted on the District calendar, To be certified as completing Youth Protection Training, all volunteers must sign an Affidavit of Consent (see "downloads") and agree to an online background check.
Youth Protection Policy
After selecting and training the best possible leaders, further protection for children and the adult leaders is structured into the program through policies that guard against abuse and provide security for its youth participants. The following policies have been adopted to provide security for youth; in addition they serve to protect Rotarians from situations in which they are vulnerable to allegations of abuse.
- Two-deep leadership. Two Rotarian adult leaders or one Rotarian leader, a teacher or a parent-both of whom are 21 years of age or older-are required on all trips and outings. If the activity is coeducational, leaders of both sexes must be present. The participating organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities.
- No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and participants is not permitted.
- Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of participants in situations such as changing into swimsuits or taking showers at activities and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. They must also protect their own privacy in similar situations.
- Separate accommodations. When attending overnight events, no youth is permitted to share a room with an adult other than their parents or guardians.
- Proper preparation for high-adventure activities. Activities with elements of risk should never be undertaken without proper preparation, equipment, supervision, and safety measures.
- No secret organizations. There are no secret organizations recognized in Rotary. All aspects of Rotarian programs are open to observation by parents and leaders.
- Constructive discipline. Discipline should be constructive and reflect the program’s underlying values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.
- Hazing prohibited. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Rotary activity.
- Youth leader training and supervision. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by youth leaders.
Adherence to these policies not only enhances the protection of participants but also ensures the values of Rotary are preserved. It helps to protect volunteer adult leaders from situations that are deemed at risk by creating barriers to abuse.
Reporting Guidelines and District Contact Information
Abuse and Harassment Reporting
1. Listen attentively and stay calm. Acknowledge that it takes a lot of courage to report abuse. It is appropriate to listen and be encouraging. Do not express shock, horror, or disbelief.
2. Assure privacy but not confidentiality. Explain that you will have to tell someone about the abuse/harassment to make it stop and to ensure that it doesn’t happen to others.
3. Get the facts, but don’t interrogate. Ask questions that establish what was done and who did it. Reassure the young person that he or she did the right thing in telling you. Avoid asking “why” questions. Remember your responsibility is to present the story to the proper authorities.
4. Be nonjudgmental and reassure the youth participant. Do not be critical of anything that has happened or anyone who may be involved. It is especially important not to blame or criticize the young person. Assure the young person that the situation was not his or her fault and that he or she was brave and mature to come to you.
5. Record. Keep a written record of the conversation as soon after the report as you can, including the date and time of the conversation. Use the young person’s words, and record only what has been told to you.
6. Contact youth protection or legal authorities. Rotarians and other adults involved in youth programs are not trained professionals with expertise in determining the seriousness or legal implications of an allegation; therefore, they should not decide whether an allegation constitutes abuse or harassment unless the decision is made in close consultation with youth protection service agencies, law enforcement, or a district youth protection officer trained in handling allegations of abuse or harassment toward young people.
7. Report to Rotary contact. Inform your Rotary contact — either the District Youth Protection Officer, District Youth Programs Chair, or District Governor — who will then contact RI within 72 hours.
Online Background Check Portal (Password: ROTARIAN5320)