Procedures for Dealing with Sexual Assault and Harassment
Procedures for Dealing with Sexual Assault and Harassment

Incidents Reported At An Event

What happens at the event:
Each of our youth events has either a team (such as a Spirit or Energy team) of youth and adults responsible for the wellbeing of the community. At smaller events this may be a designated adult. Our events also have visible youth and adult leaders, peer youth chaplains, and sometimes adult chaplains. CER staff members are responsible for the training and support of these leaders. If any of these leaders becomes aware - through rumor or self-report of consensual sexual activity, non-consensual touch, or harassment, they report this to the UUA staff. This is part of the covenant to not keep confidential anything which could be a harm to self or others, including breaking of rules, as this constitutes a danger to the community.

CER staff are responsible for conducting or supporting leaders in conducting enough of an immediate investigation to make decisions for the safety of the individuals and community. This includes providing pastoral care to the most affected youth and connecting the youth to support at home including religious professionals and parents/guardians.

When a youth has engaged in sexual activity or a youth’s behavior negatively impacts another, including any sexual harassment or non-consensual behavior such as unwanted hugs, the UUA staff and event leadership convene to decide what immediate limitations are needed for the wellbeing of the affected youth and safety of the community. This could include being sent home, but can also include ongoing limitations such as a curfew, only attending daytime events, or not participating in demonstrations of physical affection at the event.

The local congregation and youth’s parents/guardians are always informed for any significantly involved youth.

What happens after the event:
CER staff will support the impacted youth’s local congregation in providing appropriate pastoral care and support, including professional referrals as needed. CER staff support the local religious professionals in their primary pastoral role with youth and families.

Necessary conversations and interviews by CER staff often continue after the event to gather full details and context.

Where a youth has acted in ways that harmed others or risked the safety of others, we engage the congregational leadership (such as the religious educator or minister), family, and leaders of the youth program to work with the youth to create a developmental learning plan before returning to the community or lifting any limitations created.

Impacted youth are asked if they want to engage in a restorative process with the youth who harmed them. 

In cases where a permanent ban is put in place, a youth may appeal such a decision to the supervisor of the UUA staff responsible for the program within which their suspension occurred.

Incidents Reported After An Event

It is common that a young person who experiences unwanted sexual touch or harassment or is aware of the sexual activity of peers is not immediately ready to report this. We hope youth are able to come forward quickly for the safety of them youth program itself, and we understand that sometimes this takes time. We support youth in coming forward at any time.

Similar processes as the above unfold where a youth reports sexual harassment or assault after an event including informing parents/guardians and local religious professionals.

CER staff support the local religious professionals in their primary pastoral role with youth and families.

To address youth who have been reported to have harmed others or put the safety of the community at risk, UUA staff work cooperatively with local religious professionals to conduct an investigation, determine limitation, and if appropriate apply a permanent ban or developmental learning plan.

If Legal Action is Pursued

If there is a legal investigation or other legal actions where a youth harms others, that youth, will remain under suspension until legal processes are resolved. After legal processes have resolved, if the youth wishes to return to programming, the decision to return will be contingent on the effect on the well-being of the impacted youth and the community, including both emotional well being and future safety.

Read the policy, learn about the philosophies behind our policy, or how to make a report, complaint or appeal.

For more information contact cer@uua.org.

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