Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy

To be signed by each ministry staff and/or member/volunteer working with ROAM
ministries prior to starting.

1. Sexual abuse is defined as any sexual exploitation, in word or deed, of minors
under the age of 18, by someone four years older or by an adult, no matter whether or
not the minor appears to "consent".
2. Because of the nature of our society, especially in the teenage world, any sexually
explicit behavior, in word or deed (verbal or nonverbal sexual implication), even if it is
intended to be humorous, is inappropriate behavior and cause for dismissal. Any
verbal or nonverbal sexual interaction with students is inappropriate behavior and
cause for dismissal.
3. If inappropriate behavior between ministry staff; members or volunteer and a minor
is witnessed, it is to be reported to the Executive Director immediately, who will then
notify the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
4. Because of the nature of this ministry, ministry staff, members or volunteers may
become aware of situations concerning a young person who has been abused
physically, sexually, emotionally or neglected. This information is to be reported to the
appropriate staff supervisor. If that person is unavailable, it should be reported to the
Executive Director immediately.
5. To avoid questionable situations, misunderstandings and potential problems, all
one-on-one appointments with young people should be male with male or female with
female (or two adults, one of the same gender as the minor). Remember, even with
the same gender, there can be issues with possible sexual abuse and/or romantic
6. No one who has had a sexual offense record shall be employed or accepted as a
volunteer in R.O.A.M. It is inappropriate to withhold such information.
7. It shall be considered inappropriate for male staff to transport female students
alone or for female staff to transport male students alone. Groups would be
permissible as long as students are picked up and dropped off as a group in one
8. It is not acceptable for ministry staff or members/volunteers to date students.
Should a staff, member/volunteer student relationship occur, it is cause for immediate
9. Therefore, in light of all of the above, before engaging in a private conversation
with a minor, a R.O.A.M.ministry staff or member/volunteer should consider all the
following considerations:
 Location – Private conversations can be conducted in very public and populated
locations. All conversations should be conducted in a public place, easily accessible
by others.
 Necessity – There is no conversation that cannot be handled in a public viewing
place (a room with clear see-through glass windows or doors attached is a public
area where other people are present).
 Relationship – Be sure you have a good, healthy relationship with the minor. Have
a loyalty built before you get into heavy counseling. Keep it very public. Private
conversations should be avoided if any romantic interests start to develop.
 Frequency – Frequent, private conversations can create difficulties in the minor’s
healthy development as well as increase problems with issues involving child abuse.
Remember, suspicion comes quickly when we are meeting with someone often.
 Ability – If minor’s spiritual or emotional needs are significant, consider referring
them to a pastor or professional counselor. Do not overestimate your own counseling
abilities. That is why we have counseling referrals.
 Reliability – How trustworthy are they? Consider the emotional stability and
maturity of the minor and your experience in the particular issue you are dealing with.
If you feel your experience is lacking, you may not be the one best qualified to counsel
him/her. In addition, an emotionally unstable or immature minor may create the
highest risk of false accusations.
 Appearance – Maintain an appropriate appearance around minors at all times. Do
not wear provocative or revealing or inappropriate clothing. Also, your gestures and
body language speak volumes.
 Substance of conversation – Remember, words and conduct that you may
consider appropriate and innocent at the time can subsequently be made to appear
very inappropriate or sinister. The substance of your conversation should remain
appropriate at all times. For example, a male adult should not be discussing sexual
matters with a female minor.
 Touching – Although hugging a minor in a public location when several others are
present may be appropriate (rarely), physical contact, such as hugging, embracing or
holding the minor in a private, isolated location creates a very high risk of being
misconstrued and must be avoided.
10. Safeguards – As precaution:
a. Have someone else present during a conversation with a minor.
b. Keep notes of the conversation, and/or
c. Let some other adult know that the conversations are occurring, as well as the
reasons for the conversations.
11. Conduct oneself using sensitivity and discretion in the use of tobacco, alcoholic
beverages, dancing, TV programs, movies, printed matter, games and the choice of
organizations with which one is associated and make every effort to let whatever one
says or does be representative of the Lord Jesus Christ in private life as well as in
ministry through R.O.A.M.
12. The Executive Director and ultimately the R.O.A.M. Board of Directors is
responsible to handle all accusations brought against the staff (member(s) or
volunteer(s). Any questionable situations regarding improper conduct is cause for
immediate discipline up to and including dismissal. Decisions of this type are at the
discretion of the Executive Director with input from the Board Chairperson and/or
Personnel Committee.