Please direct any questions or inquiries to YouthProtection@Rotary6900.org or 678.653.5166
Rotary International strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they come into contact with and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Adopted by the RI Board of Directors, Nov. 2006
1. Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth
District 6900 strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they come into contact with and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
As part of those efforts, the District Governor will appoint each year a Youth Protection Officer, whose role it will be to develop and monitor the District 6900 Youth Protection Policy and ensure that clubs are not only knowledgeable but also to encourage compliance with that policy. Clubs are recommended to adopt and comply with the District 6900 Youth Protection Policy (stated here) and are required to comply with the Rotary International Youth Protection Policy.
Volunteer — Any adult involved with Rotary youth activities who interacts directly with youth, whether supervised or unsupervised
Youth program participant — Anyone who participates in a Rotary youth program, whether child or adult
Youth-any participant under the age of 18.
3. Club Compliance
The district governor is responsible for supervision and control of all youth activities in the district, including those associated with Rotary Youth Exchange. The District 6900 Youth Protection Officer will monitor all participating clubs and will help them comply, as requested, with youth protection requirements and Rotary Youth Exchange certification requirements (if applicable).
4. Volunteer Selection and Screening
All Rotarian and non-Rotarian volunteers interested in working with youth program participants must meet RI and district eligibility requirements. RI prohibits the membership and participation of any volunteer who has admitted to, been convicted of, or otherwise been found to have engaged in sexual abuse or harassment.
If a person is accused of sexual abuse or harassment and the law enforcement investigation is inconclusive, or if law enforcement declines to investigate, additional safeguards are necessary to protect any youth program participants with whom the accused may have future contact, as well as the accused. A person later cleared of charges may apply to be reinstated as a youth program volunteer. Reinstatement is not a right, and reinstatement to his or her former position is not guaranteed.
If an adult (Rotarian or non-Rotarian) is to have significant or unsupervised access with youth in a Rotary sponsored program, then additional screening measures (or similar), such as the below, are recommended:
District 6900 and member clubs will provide resources for youth-protection training and information on youth programs.
Adult volunteers in Rotary programs (including Rotarians, spouses, adult children) should avoid any one-on-one contact (alone, without another adult present) with youth, unless absolutely necessary. The presence of at least two adults should be maintained to ensure the safety of the youth.
5. Allegation Handling and Follow-Through
District 6900 takes all allegations of abuse or harassment seriously and will handle them in accordance with the Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines. The district will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, child protective services, and legal investigations and will not interfere with official investigations when conducting its own independent review. District 6900 will appoint a youth protection officer and/or district review committee to evaluate and review files, policies, and allegations regularly.
6. Travel by Youth
Youth travel outside of the local community must comply with youth protection policies.
For all youth travel sponsored by District 6900 or its clubs, the following will be done before departure:
Steps Needed by Clubs to Comply with Rotary International/District 6900 Policy
Rotarians and non-Rotarians (e.g. spouses) may participate in a variety of Rotary sponsored youth programs, both at the district level and also the club level. Programs may include, but are not limited to, the following:
If a Rotarian or non-Rotarian participant in a Rotary program will have significant and/or unsupervised access with youth under age of 18, then the following steps should be completed:
The Club Administration Officer for each Rotary club shall appoint a Youth Protection Officer (or serve in that role) to manage the above interviews and reference checks. It is the responsibility of each club's leadership to ensure that all program volunteers are in compliance with District 6900 and Rotary International Youth Protection policy.
Youth Protection Volunteer Applicant Screening Questions (pdf)
Training and Education
District 6900 Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines
District 6900 is committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all youth program participants and will not tolerate abuse or harassment. All allegations will be taken seriously and must be handled within the following guidelines.The safety and well-being of program participants must always be top priority.
Emotional or verbal abuse — The use of fear, humiliation, or verbal assaults to control the behavior of another. Examples include rejecting the person, preventing him or her from developing normal social relationships, and making derogatory statements about his or her race, religion, ability, intellect, tastes, or personal appearance.
Physical abuse — Physical contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or harm.
Neglect — Failure to provide the food, shelter, or medical care that is necessary to well-being.
Sexual abuse — Engaging in or arranging implicit or explicit sexual acts, whether they are performed alone or with another person of any age or gender, through force or coercion or with anyone who is unable to give consent. Any sexual activity between a legal adult and a minor is considered sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can also include non-touching offenses, such as voyeuristic behavior, indecent exposure, or showing a young person sexual or pornographic material.
Sexual harassment — Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwanted or directed at someone unwilling or unable to provide consent. In some cases, sexual harassment precedes sexual abuse and is used by sexual predators to desensitize or groom their victims. Examples of sexual harassment include:
• Sexual epithets or jokes, written or spoken references to sexual conduct, gossip about one’s sex life, and comments about a person’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess
• Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
• Display of sexually suggestive objects or images
• Sexual leering or whistling
• Inappropriate physical contact, such as brushing against a person
• Obscene language or gestures, and suggestive or insulting comments
Receiving an Allegation Report
Any adult to whom a program participant reports abuse or harassment must:
Listen attentively and stay calm. Acknowledge that it takes courage to report abuse or harassment. Be encouraging, but remain neutral; do not express shock, horror, or disbelief.
Assure privacy but not confidentiality. Explain that you will have to tell someone about the abuse or harassment to make it stop and ensure that it doesn’t happen to others.
Get the facts, but don’t interrogate. Ask questions that establish facts: who, what, when, where, and how. Reassure the young person that he or she did the right thing in telling you. Avoid asking “why” questions, which may be interpreted as questioning the young person’s motives. Remember that your responsibility is to report this information to the proper authorities.
Be nonjudgmental and reassure. Avoid criticizing anything that has happened or anyone who may be involved. It’s especially important not to blame or criticize the young person. Emphasize that it was not his or her fault and that it was brave and mature to come to you.
Document the allegation. Record the conversation, including the date and time, as soon after the report as you can. Try to record the young person’s exact words.
PLEASE SUBMIT IMMEDIATELY to YouthProtection@Rotary6900.org.
Allegation Response Plan by District 6900 Officers
The following steps must be taken immediately after alleged abuse or harassment is reported. Some of them may be performed by any program volunteer, while others should be performed by a district officer, as specified.
1. Protect the young person.
Ensure the safety and well-being of the young person by removing him or her from the situation immediately and preventing all contact with the alleged abuser or harasser. Reassure the young person that this is for his or her safety and is not a punishment.
Take immediate action to ensure the young person’s health and well-being, and get him or her medical or psychological care, if necessary.
2. Report the allegations to appropriate authorities.
Immediately report all cases of abuse or harassment — first to local law enforcement for investigation and then to club and district leaders for follow-through. Interrogations related to allegations of abuse or harassment must be left entirely to law enforcement agencies.
In most situations, the first Rotary contact is the club president, who is responsible for seeking advice from and interacting with appropriate agencies. If the allegation involves the conduct of this Rotarian, the district governor or youth protection officer should be the first Rotary contact.
District 6900 will cooperate with police or legal investigations.
3. Remove the accused person from contact with youth.
District 6900 will remove the alleged offender from all contact with Rotary youth program participants until the matter is resolved.
4. Avoid gossip and blame.
Don’t tell anyone about the allegation other than those who need to know. Be careful to protect the rights of both the victim and the accused during the investigation.
District 6900 will strive to maintain the privacy (as distinct from confidentiality) of any accused person.
5. Follow through.
A district officer must inform RI of the allegation within 72 hours and provide ongoing status reports.
District 6900 will ensure that the program participant’s parents or legal guardians have been notified and offer the young person an independent, non-Rotarian counselor to represent his or her interests.
If law enforcement agencies will not investigate, or if the investigation is inconclusive, the district governor will appoint a district review committee to coordinate an independent review to ensure that district youth protection policies were followed, confirm that youth safety was the highest priority, and determine any necessary modifications to district procedures. This review is not responsible for determining the validity of any allegations; that can only be done by youth protection agency personnel or trained law enforcement professionals.
If law enforcement has found the allegations to be noncriminal, the district governor is responsible for contacting the alleged offender. The district governor may delegate this task to a district youth protection officer or district review committee.
District 6900 will document all accusations of inappropriate behavior and the actions taken to resolve the situation, so that patterns of inappropriate behavior are identified and addressed.
Please direct any questions or inquiries to YouthProtection@Rotary6900.org or 678.653.5166.