Abuse & Misconduct Policy

ABUSE & MISCONDUCT POLICY

ARTICLE I, INTRODUCTION

The inherent right of all individuals to be treated with dignity and respect is central to Jewish values and beliefs. KOLEINU INC (“KOLEINU”) is committed to operating a religious institution which fosters mutual respect for the dignity, well-being and safety of all employees and members of, and visitors to, KOLEINU. To promote a healthy and supportive environment at KOLEINU as a workplace, a religious institution, and a community, KOLEINU fully supports and upholds the right of employees, members, and visitors, to be free from abuse, while engaged in operations, activities and/or programs related to KOLEINU.

 

To put these values into practice, we have developed this policy for addressing potential discrimination, abuse, and harassment in our community, which includes all clergy, employees, staff members, members, congregants, and guests. This policy’s purpose is twofold:

 

  • to take proactive measures to prohibit and address discrimination, harassment, bullying and other abusive behaviors, which undermine the above values; and,

  • to ensure that our values are woven into the fabric of our organization by embedding prevention practices in our programs, operations, and culture.

  • This document is not static. It is meant to be revisited and to change as we continue to learn and grow as an organization and community.

ARTICLE II, POLICY STATEMENT

KOLEINU INC (“KOLEINU”) does not tolerate abuse, harassment, or misconduct of a sexual or any other nature and prohibits these activities in any facility operated by KOLEINU or during any of the organization’s activities or programs. KOLEINU provides procedures for employees, volunteers, board members, or any other victims of abuse, harassment or misconduct to report such acts. Those reasonably suspected or believed to have committed abuse, harassment, or misconduct, whether during a KOLEINU activity or otherwise, will be appropriately disciplined, up to and including termination of employment or membership, removal from volunteer positions, banning from the facility and/or being criminally prosecuted. No employee, volunteer, board member or other person, regardless of their title or position, has the authority to commit or allow abuse, harassment, or misconduct.

Definitions and Examples

The following definitions or examples of sexual abuse, misconduct, or harassment, which are all strictly prohibited, may apply to any and/or all the following persons: employees, volunteers, members, guests, or other third parties. Abuse, harassment, or misconduct may include, but is not limited to:

 

  • Sexual abuse includes the making of lewd or vulgar comments, unwanted touching, and demanding sexual contact for any spiritual, financial, or other gain.

  • Child sexual abuse—any sexual activity, involvement or attempt at sexual contact with a person who is a minor (under 18 years old). This includes any request for a touch by a minor or to touch a minor.

  • Sexual activity with another who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to give consent. This includes any request for a touch by such an individual or to touch such an individual, which is strictly prohibited.

  • Physical assaults or violence, such as rape, sexual assault, abuse, molestation, or any attempt to commit such acts.

  • Watching, photographing, or recording another undress or use of the restroom or mother’s room, whether secretly or by intimidation is strictly prohibited.

  • Unwanted and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, brushing, tickling, kissing, massaging and/or pulling another’s body or clothes.

  • Exposing one’s genitals, buttocks or breasts to a child or non-consenting adult is sexual abuse and strictly prohibited.

  • Inappropriate contact such as wrestling between an adult and child. However, limited contact such as holding a young child’s hand to cross the street, “high-fiving” a child for a job-well done or shaking hands with a child are acceptable.

  • Showing, offering, or creating material such as pornographic or sexually explicit images, posters, calendars, or objects.

  • Unwelcome and inappropriate sexual activities, advances, comments, innuendoes, bullying, jokes, gestures, electronic communications, or messages (e.g., email, text, social media, voicemail), intimidation, exploitation, exposure, leering, stalking, or invasion of sexual privacy.

  • A sexually hostile environment characterized as comments or conduct that unreasonably interferes with one’s work performance or ability to do the job or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

  • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment or affiliation with the congregation.

The following definitions or examples of abuse, misconduct or harassment of a non-sexual nature, which are also strictly prohibited, may apply to any and/or all the following persons: employees, volunteers, members, guests, or other third parties. Such abuse, harassment or misconduct may include, but is not limited to:

  • Bullying or cyberbullying, including repeated physical actions or gestures, written, verbal or electronic expressions, the use of slurs, negative stereotyping, or denigrating jokes that

    • shows aversion or is demeaning to the targeted person;

    • causes physical or emotional harm to the targeted person/group;

    • damages a person’s property;

    • places a person in reasonable fear of harm to themselves or of damage to their property;

    • creates a hostile environment for any person;

    • infringes on the rights of any person; or

    • materially and substantially disrupts the orderly operation of an activity or program.

  • Physical Abuse, which may consist of just one incident, or may happen repeatedly, involves deliberately using force against an individual in such a way that the person is either injured or is at risk of being injured. Physical abuse includes beating, hitting, shaking, pushing, choking, biting, burning, kicking, or assaulting an individual with a weapon.

  • Emotional Abuse, which includes harming an individual’s sense of identity, dignity or self-worth through verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, confinement, isolation, threatening disproportionate punishment, or withholding issuance or receipt of a Get once a seruv or psak has been issued against the offending party.

  • Religious Abuse, which includes coercion, manipulation, or exploitation related to religious beliefs, practices, or rituals. 

ARTICLE III, REPORTING AND HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS

Reporting Procedure

If you have personally been the victim of assault or abuse, immediately report it to the police. If you don’t know how or would like someone to accompany you to the police station to make your report, a member of the Member Safety Committee (report@koleinufl.org) will assist you.

Anyone with personal knowledge of or information regarding misconduct or abuse must immediately report suspected sexual abuse or misconduct to the Member Safety Committee, president@koleinufl.org, Chair of Youth Department, or other officer of the Board. It is not required to directly confront either the suspected victim or suspect before notifying any of the individuals listed. KOLEINU will ensure that those named in complaint of misconduct or are too closely associated with those involved in the complaint will not be part of any investigative team.

Investigation and Follow-up

KOLEINU will take all allegations of abuse, harassment, or misconduct seriously and will promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate all allegations. The congregation may utilize an outside third party to investigate misconduct. KOLEINU will cooperate fully with any investigation conducted by law enforcement or other regulatory/protective services agencies. KOLEINU will make every reasonable effort to keep the matters involved in the allegation as confidential as possible while still allowing for a prompt and thorough investigation. KOLEINU may suspend employment or bar attendance while an investigation is ongoing.

The principles of accountability, potential victim’s safety, confidentiality (to the extent reasonably possible), transparency (in dealing with the involved parties) and avoidance of conflict of interest will guide any actions taken to address a suspected incident.

Reporting to Law Enforcement or Appropriate Child or Adult Protective Services

KOLEINU is committed to following the state and federal legal requirements for reporting allegations or incidents of sexual abuse or misconduct to appropriate law enforcement and child or adult protective services organizations. It is the policy of KOLEINU not to attempt to investigate or assess the validity or credibility of an allegation of sexual or physical abuse as a condition before reporting the allegation to proper law enforcement authorities or protective services organizations.

Anti-retaliation and False Allegations

KOLEINU prohibits retaliation made against any employee, volunteer, board member, member, visitor, or other person who lodges a good faith complaint of sexual abuse or misconduct or who participates in any related investigation. Making knowingly false or malicious accusations of sexual abuse or misconduct can have serious consequences for those who are wrongly accused. KOLEINU prohibits making false or malicious sexual misconduct allegations, as well as deliberately providing false information during an investigation. Anyone who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment or membership and criminal prosecution.

Potential Sanctions

Any Employee found to have engaged in any type of abuse will be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal, as well as potential criminal prosecution.

Any member or visitor of KOLEINU found to have engaged in any type of abuse of a KOLEINU Employee, another member or visitor during an activity or program will be subject to sanctions, which may include temporary or permanent loss of membership or being banned from activities or any facilities that KOLEINU may operate.

ARTICLE IV, PROTOCOLS KOLEINU WILL FOLLOW TO REDUCE RISK

Employee and Volunteer Screening and Selection

As part of its commitment to the prevention of sexual abuse and misconduct KOLEINU maintains a diligent screening program for prospective and existing employees, volunteers and others that may interact with those employed by, associating with or serviced by KOLEINU. The congregation may utilize a variety of methods of screening and selection, including but not limited to applications, personal interviews, criminal background checks, sexual offender registry checks, and personal and professional references.

All employees plus volunteers who are working in a formal capacity with children will be SORI and CORI checked; this includes Youth Committee members and Youth Director(s). Regular youth group leaders will be asked to provide references and reasonably vetted.

Communication and acceptance of policy

Upon adoption of this policy, it will be circulated to all supporters, event attendees, and  current members (“members” includes any classes of non-voting affiliates, as defined in §3 of the Bylaws). Each will be asked to acknowledge their receipt, understanding and acceptance of the policy.

All new members will receive a copy of this policy as part of their new member packet. They will be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding in their membership application.

In addition, all Board members, employees, and professional Youth Leaders will be asked to sign a Code of Conduct, committing to responsibility for appropriate behavior.

Preventative measures related to supervision of youth

Two Person Policy: To provide a safe environment for minors, KOLEINU strives to maintain a two-person policy whenever possible, where during any program with youth, there are two adults present. The purpose is to avoid one-on-one interactions between adults and minors that are not easily observable by others. When the policy cannot be followed, parents should be notified ahead of time.

One-on-one meetings: If individual study sessions or counseling with a minor must be held, the door to the office or classroom should be kept open, if possible, and the meeting should take place within eyesight of the door. Parents must be made aware of such meetings.

Youth Training: It is common practice at KOLEINU to use volunteers who are between the ages of 12 and 18. They are both protected by and subject to following these policies. Training, especially for youth leaders of these ages, will include a review of this policy and best practices for interacting with younger children.

Adult Training: Any adult volunteers or employees are both protected by and subject to following these policies. Training, especially for adults in youth supervision roles, will include a review of this policy and best practices for interacting with children.

 

This policy was approved and adopted by the board of directors on April 2, 2024 and constitutes a complete copy of the Abuse & Misconduct Policy of the corporation.

 

Koleinu Inc | info@koleinufl.org | © 5784 / 2024