Best Practices for addressing reports of child abuse or suspected child abuse at your chapter
As Huynh Trưởng we fulfill a unique role in which we have the responsibility to protect the youth we serve. BCHLĐ has and will continue to discuss the importance of setting boundaries and ways to protect our youth at future HĐLĐ meetings. We also encourage HT to review the bulletins provided by Virtus.org to use as a resource on how to protect God’s children. As a reminder, all HT are mandated reporters. Meaning, if there is reason to believe that a child or youth has been abused or exposed to abuse, neglect, and unwanted sexual harassment or sexual abuse, we are obligated to report. We want to emphasize that we are here to help and support you as these types of situations can be overwhelming for all parties involved.
To assist chapters in LDPH with addressing these issues, the following guidelines and best practices have been created.
I. In a situation between an adult (anyone age 18 and over) and a minor (any youth member below age 18), you should:
- Đoàn Trưởng report the incident or your concerns to your Cha Tuyên Úy. For chapters where the Cha Tuyên Úy is not the pastor, you may report to your pastor if your Cha Tuyên Úy is unavailable or unresponsive.
- Đoàn Trưởng informs Liên Đoàn Trưởng of the incident and the parties involved so that LĐ can take proper precautions. Lien Doan Trưởng will brief Cha Tuyên Úy Liên Đoàn as well as Liên Đoàn Board Members.
- Liên Đoàn will contact relevant parties to collect pertinent facts needed to make necessary precautions and to guide chapter in next steps if necessary.
- Liên Đoàn will alert BCHTU who have the sole ability to remove a HT’s faculty.
II. In a situation between a minor and another minor, you should:
- Đoàn Trưởng or acting ĐT reports the incident or your concerns to your Cha Tuyên Úy. For chapters where the Cha Tuyên Úy is not the pastor, you may report to your pastor if your Cha Tuyên Úy is unavailable or unresponsive.
- Đoàn Trưởng or acting ĐT calls the parents of ALL minors involved to inform them of the situation.
- Đoàn investigates to make sure they know of all parties involved and the extent of the situation – This is to protect other children who may be involved.
- In the case where other chapters are involved, ĐT or acting ĐT reports to Liên Đoàn Trưởng (i.e. incidents that occur on social media that spread to other chapters, or events that involve multiple chapters such as Đại Hội Liên Đoàn).
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
* When addressing child abuse allegations in your chapter please remember to only speak to the relevant parties. This is to avoid the spread of misinformation, especially if the situation is under investigation. In this case, the relevant parties include the pastor, Đoàn Trưởng, the perpetrator (if he or she is a part of LĐ), and, only when necessary, the survivor.
* If the survivor is over the age of 18 at the time of reporting, they must provide consent to share their story when speaking to anyone. If the survivor is under the age of 18, LĐ will not be contacting them.
*All steps will be taken to ensure that the individual feels comfortable and safe to discuss the situation. The individual may decline to share their story at any time. Please use aliases to protect the identity of indivduals involved when discussing situation with non-essential parties until an official statement is released. Essential parties include your Cha Tuyên Úy, Đoàn Trưởng, parents associated with child, Liên Đoàn Trưởng, Cha Tuyên Úy Liên Đoàn, and authorities involved in investigations.
*If the alleged purpetrator in question is the Đoàn Trưởng or if the Đoàn Trưởng is unresponsive, the responsibility of reporting to Cha Tuyên Úy Đoàn falls to the next in line (PQT, PNH). However, at any time, any HT with suspicions of child abuse can directly report to Cha Tuyên Úy. If for any reason the top three board members and Cha Tuyên Úy are unresponsive, you may report directly to Liên Đoàn Trưởng and the Department that investigates child abuse in your state.
* If minors are involved, please limit the details and use alias to protect parties involved when discussing the incident in a public space.
* Your Cha Tuyên Úy has training on how to best address these situations through protocols provided by the diocese.
* If discussing the situation with the child is necessary, it is advised to do so with someone with whom the child is comfortable or your pastor or Cha Tuyên Úy. This is to avoid misunderstanding of information.
* Please note that the authorities and officials investigating will do their own investigation. Our job is to only find out who is affected by the situation (Are other kids involved? Are the kids involved from multiple chapters?)
* Individuals 18 and over may report incidents that occurred when they were minors. For information on Statute of Limitations (the maximum amount of time one has to bring a lawsuit from the time of injury or other grounds for a lawsuit either criminal or civil) please visit https://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/members/statutes-of-limitations-on-crimes-against-children/. Each state varies, however, when in doubt the best thing to do is to report. Authorities conducting investigations will address these concerns in accordance with state and federal laws.
In order to best support you, we have compiled a list of resources available, including:
- Where to directly report child abuse
- Websites and phone numbers to call for advice on reporting child abuse
- Resources for các em who may be experiencing sexual abuse and/or trauma.
Please share the resources regarding reporting child abuse with your HT. Please make resources for survivors of sexual abuse available to các em as necessary and appropriate.
Where to call or go for advice on Child Abuse and Neglect:
- Link provides information on what abuse and neglect is as well as examples and warning signs.
- Click on “Where to go for help” for list of organizations that can provide advice
Where to Directly Report Abuse:
- This provides a list of phone numbers and website for each sate where you can report
FOR THOSE PROVIDING SUPPORT
Pamphlets, Tool Kits, and Handouts
Direct Link for Tool Kit (Adults helping to share resources)
How to Provide Support to Someone Who Chooses to Disclose to You:
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline:
- Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area – callers are routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number.
How to disclose your sexual abuse:
Self-care after Trauma: