CAMP MIMANAGISH SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND PHYSICAL ABUSE POLICY
Mimanagish has a Zero Tolerance policy for sexual misconduct and physical abuse. All camp staff and users must conduct themselves in a respectful and responsible manner. All violations of our policy should be reported to the camp managers who will act immediately to protect the safety of camp attendees and will follow appropriate reporting procedures of any allegations of abuse or misconduct.
Background checks required
All Mimanagish staff and program leaders and counselors of youth programs must have had a criminal background check within the past year and will be required to provide proof of the check to the camp managers well in advance of the event. User groups presenting youth programming at Mimanagish are responsible for paying for their own background checks and must provide proof of background checks to the camp managers. Singing Waters Montana will pay for background checks for camp staff.
All adult camp leaders and staff are mandated reporters
Any adult leader or staff member who suspects child abuse is required to report their suspicions to the Montana Child and Family Services Program in the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-866-820-5437 and follow the steps they outline.
- Physical contact. Unwelcome physical contact or sexual advances are in violation of our misconduct policy and should be reported to the camp manager. Close physical contact between adults and youth attendees should be avoided. Instructors should encourage expressions of affirmation in non-physical ways. It is ok to hold a student’s hand, but do not let them wrap themselves around your waist, leg, etc. Specifically, it is inappropriate to allow a child to sit on your lap, or vice-versa. If talking one on one time with a youth participant, be sure you are in view of the rest of the group. Avoid being alone with a child at any time under regular program or camp circumstances. If a youth participant asks to talk with you, ask another adult leader to join you or include other participants in the conversation. Work in teams of staff and youth for program activities whenever possible.
- Verbal communications: Verbal abuse and harassment is not tolerated. Inappropriate communications such as sexually provocative or degrading comments are in violation of this policy.
- Physical violence: In no case is it appropriate to strike or endanger a fellow attendee with physical force. Any violent incident or threat of violence should be reported to the camp managers.
- Child abuse: Camp staff or attendees who notice suspicious injuries or become aware of allegations of child physical or sexual abuse should alert the camp managers who will contact the appropriate authorities.
Limiting Interactions between adults and children
One-on-one interactions between adults and children shall be avoided whenever possible and should only take place in the open or where observable by others. At least two adults shall be present with children and youth at all times whenever possible, and there shall be two adults present in the gender-specific bathhouse during morning and evening bathing times.
Inappropriate behavior also includes contact between adults and unrelated minor campers outside of the Camp setting.
(See addendum with CDC guidelines)
“Grooming” is defined as “the winning of the confidence of a victim in order to commit a sexual assault on him or her.” The American Bar Association lists “Aspects of sexual grooming” as:
- Targeting the victim
- Securing access to and isolating the victim
- Gaining the victim’s trust
- Controlling and concealing the relationship
Grooming behaviors include:
- An adult seems overly interested in a child (or vulnerable adult).
- An adult frequently initiates or creates opportunities to be alone with a child or multiple children.
- An adult becomes fixated on a child.
- An adult gives special privileges to a child.
- An adult caters to the interests of the child, so that the child or the parent may initiate contact with the offender.
Additionally, behaviors that may be sexually stimulating for the adult may be used, such as bathing a child, watching a child or children changing clothes, activities that involve removing clothes, wrestling in underwear, telling sexually explicit jokes or stories, teasing a child about sexual development.
All staff and adult volunteers are mandatory reporters. Campers and staff must be willing to report observations that may point to sexual abuse.
If you see or suspect any behavior that may be in violation of our misconduct policy, alert the Camp Managers immediately and share your concerns.
This policy shall be communicated to all employees, volunteers, and/or independent contractors who have access to children, as part of our orientation/training program.