Vulnerable Sector Policy

Made in God’s Image

Family Foundations Institute (FFI) vulnerable sector policy and procedure to protect against the abuse or exploitations of vulnerable people.

Policy Introduction

Last updated: March 3, 2020

FFI believes it is possible to maintain an environment that is free from any harmful physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, or psychological harassment, exploitation, or abuse in the administration and operation of all its events and activities. FFI facilitates its programs and events in compliance with this standard. FFI will not tolerate any conduct or act that constitutes abuse, harassment, or exploitation by FFI Staff or its Volunteers. The FFI Policy respects the Human Rights Act, RSO 1990 c H.19

No such abuse, harassment or exploitation is acceptable as it undermines FFI’s expressed mission and vision, and it constitutes a dereliction of its duty to provide a safe and respectful environment for all.

FFI recognizes that every person involved in or connected with FFI is made in God’s image and likeness and has the absolute right to be treated with respect and dignity free from harassment, exploitation, or abuse. This Policy is called the “Made in God’s Image” policy (MGI).

Harassment, exploitation, or abuse of any person is intolerable to our organization. The MGI Policy outlines the procedures and protocols in place to protect any and all persons who are involved with FFI activities and events.

Policy Statement

All FFI staff, every Volunteer Coordinator, and every Board member, must comply with the MGI policy, and must read and sign an acknowledgment of the MGI Policy.

All other volunteers will be expected to comply with the standards expressed in the MGI Policy and will be advised of the same as stated in its Policies and Practices manual.

Precaution

The optimal way to deal with a situation of harassment, exploitation or abuse is to safeguard its occurrence from happening in the first place.

FFI implements the following practices to safeguard against harassment, exploitation, and abuse to create an environment free of such acts and conduct:

  • Use of Vulnerable Sectors Police Report (VSPR) and reference checks in the hiring of all staff and all Volunteer Coordinators of more than 18 years of age with repeated checks annually thereafter.
  • Orientation of all Board, staff, and volunteers with the MGI Policy.
  • Requiring compliance with our Guiding Principles, Code of Conduct the failure of which can result in the removal of a staff or Board member, or volunteer.
  • Use of ‘2 deep’ services: precautions against situations where staff or volunteers are alone (in closed quarters) with minors and/or vulnerable persons and in all activities and events, safe and healthy interactions between staff and volunteers with minors are maintained.

Communication of Policy and Practices

The Board of Directors approved FFI’s MGI Policy (June 2020).

FFI’s MGI Policy is posted on the FFI website at famfi.ca.

All volunteers and those involved in activities and events of FFI are advised of FFI’s MGI Policy by the Volunteer Coordinators at the time of registration for any FFI event.

Every “Volunteer Coordinator” or “Staff of Influence” is presented with FFI’s MGI Policy. An Acknowledgment that they have “read and understood and agree to abide by these policies” must be signed and renewed annually.

“Volunteer Coordinators” and “Staff of Influence” include:

  • Coordinators of Family Catechism
  • Coordinators of Family Camp
  • Directors of Knights Quest and Anchor Camp
  • Camp Staff and Parent Volunteers of Knights Quest and Anchor Camp
  • Office Staff and Coordinators (Y&YA, MWO, Communications, Operations, etc)
  • Pure Life Leadership Team
  • ID Leadership Team

Detailed Protocols for Roles within FFI’s various activities

Family Catechism

Parents are on-site with their children at each family catechism. Parents are aware of MGI Policy because it is posted on FFI website and because Policy protocols are communicated at the time of registration.

Teachers (volunteer position) are always at least 2 deep with a student; classroom doors are left open or are closed only where there is a glass window with full transparency. Teachers are known by the Family Catechism Coordinator and are presented with FFI’s MGI Policy.

Family Catechism Coordinators provide attestation of adherence to the MGI Policy annually.

Family Camp

Parents are on-site with their children at Family Camp at all times. At family camp, multiple families vacation at the same site together. Each parent of each participating family is presented with a Code of Conduct which they sign and acknowledge in order to participate at Family Camp. The Family Camp Code of Conduct includes FFI’s MGI Policy.

Family Camp Coordinators sign and acknowledge FFI’s MGI Policy to FFI office prior to camp.

Anchor Camp or Knight’s Quest Camp (i.e. Youth camps)

Directors of the Camps & Parent Volunteers sign and acknowledge FFI’s MGI Policy to FFI office prior to camp. These individuals also provide a Vulnerable Sectors Police Report (VSPR) to FFI office prior to camp. Once a VSPR is on file, the individual provides a signed Attestation annually.

Directors and Volunteers are always at least 2 deep with a minor or vulnerable person at all times.

Staff (>18 years old) of Youth Camps provide a sign and acknowledge MGI Policy to FFI office prior to camp. These individuals also provide a Vulnerable Sectors Police Report (VSPR) to FFI office prior to camp. Once a VSPR is on file, the individual provides a signed Attestation annually.

Staff are always at least 2 deep with a minor at all times or in full visibility of the rest of the campers.

Staff provide staff applications and reference checks.

Accommodation for minors and vulnerable persons is such that no staff (>18 years old), director, or volunteer sleeps in the same quarters as the campers.

Youth & Young Adult Leadership Team and Volunteers

Leadership team for Pure Life and Disciples Night sign and acknowledge FFI’s MGI Policy to FFI office annually. If over 18 years old, these individuals provide a Vulnerable Sectors Police Report (VSPR) to FFI office. Once a VSPR is on file, the individual provides a signed Attestation annually.

Reporting

Should an individual (participant, staff, volunteer, Volunteer Coordinator) feel that they have been the victim of harassment, exploitation, or abuse, or that they have witnessed such acts or conduct, they must report such incident verbally, or in writing, immediately to a supervisor or to the Executive Director or Operations Manager.

We accept, and encourage, the reporting of any potential abuse situation in writing, however, these submissions will also be accepted when offered verbally or via email/electronic means. Reporting can be made to any Board member, the Executive Director or Operations Manager in complete confidence, who will then make a written record of all reported acts of harassment, exploitation, and abuse and shall where there is a likelihood of such an occurrence, advise the proper authorities, the police, and the parent/s of any minor or vulnerable person promptly.

Investigative and Disciplinary Procedures

It is the responsibility of the Executive Director, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, to maintain written documentation of the reported incidents and to note all steps taken. The written record of any such investigation must include, in all circumstances, the details surrounding the incident and a complete summary of interviews held with the injured individual(s), the accused, and witness(es) when available and Ire recommendations by any authorities involved, including a history of what steps were recommended by said authorities and when. An investigation will take place within 24 hours following the reporting of the incident in an attempt to lessen the trauma of any pain, suffering, and loss.

Should the alleged abuse involve a minor or vulnerable person and is physical or sexual in nature, the Executive Director of FFI or an appointed Board Member will contact the minor’s parent or guardian promptly and take any reasonable precautions that the parent or guardian requests. If the parent or guardian is unavailable, the police will be contacted promptly.

In the case of a staff member being accused of any form of physical or sexual conduct or acts to a minor or vulnerable person the staff member will be immediately suspended with pay pending a complete investigation. Should the accused be a Board Member, they will be given an immediate leave of absence pending a full investigation into the complaint. Depending on the findings of any investigation, a staff person or Board member may be discharged or otherwise relieved of their responsibilities. Should the accused be a Volunteer Coordinator or Staff of Influence, they will be given an immediate leave of absence pending a full investigation into the complaint. Depending on the findings of any investigation, the Volunteer Coordinator or Staff of Influence may be discharged or otherwise relieved of their responsibilities.

Appeals process

In the case of reported incidents of harassment, exploitation or abuse, the potential exists for false allegations or disputed facts of an alleged offence. In such a case, an appeal process will permit an accused person to have a hearing, within 2 business days of reporting of an incident. Any such appeal shalt be heard by no less than 2 Board members with a witness on behalf of the accused attending.

The goal of the investigation, or the appeals process, is to fully investigate all accusations of harassment, exploitation and of abuse in order to promote a culture of respect and dignity within the scope of all FFI related activities and events, and to minimize the prospect of such conduct and acts. FFI will institute additional protective measures as required to minimize the potential for future incidents of harassment, exploitation, and abuse.

FFI has the duty to pay the internal, investigative costs incurred by any accused staff member, Board member, or volunteer. FFI may recover these costs from a staff member, volunteer or Board member found to have committed an act or conduct of harassment, exploitation, or abuse against any minor or vulnerable person involved in its events and activities.

The Executive Director is responsible for communicating this policy to all Board members, staff, and volunteers participating in FFI activities and events.

Attestation

All participants in FFI various activities are required to check “I have read and understood the Vulnerable Sector Policy”

All FFI staff, every Volunteer Coordinator, and every Board member, must comply with the MGI policy, and must read and sign an acknowledgment of the MGI Policy.

All other volunteers will be expected to comply with the standards expressed in the MGI Policy and will be advised of the same as stated in its Policies and Practices manual.

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