Youth Protection Program

Step 1 of 2: Submit

This is a read and understand module system. All Advisory Board Members must complete the modules and submit by March 10th. Thank you in advance!

Module IV -

Taking Action: Responding and Reporting

In previous training sessions, we discussed Rainbow's position on maltreatment, how to recognize and prevent maltreatment, and then situational and relationship factors. This module deals with when and how to react, respond and report.

Training Objective

  • Empower participants to respond if they observe warning signs of abuse or suspect maltreatment
  • Teach youths and adult volunteers when and how to respond to incidents
  • Equip participants with information and tools for taking appropriate action

Adhering to policy discourages perpetrators attempting to access youth, helps us maintain fair and reasonable practices, creates expectations for proper behavior, and prepares us to make informed decisions when we observe actions that are inconsistent with acceptable behavior.

Awareness and Action

In our last session, we discussed safeguards for bullying and relationship issues, as well as situational safety issues. Now we will discuss how to identify and assess behaviors, and how to respond and report if necessary.
  • Differentiating behaviors
  • Assessing situations
  • Responding
  • Reporting


Appropriate - "those behaviors that are suitable for the time and place"
Conversations and behaviors that foster well-being should be encouraged.

Inappropriate - "not truly harmful, yet not ideal for the circumstances; or may be unacceptable by our social standards"
This may include comments or actions made in jest, or may be the result of thoughtlessness or insensitivity. If something is not obviously harmful, it may be best to give the offending person the benefit of the doubt, and suggest being more mindful of his or her remarks or actions in the future.

Harmful - "anything that is hurtful, coercive, degrading, suggestive, or invasive"
Action should be taken any time harmful behaviors are observed.


Sometimes it's enough just to listen with compassion when someone shares something that's happened to them.
EX - when someone has had an argument with a friend or parent, she may feel she's treated unfairly. These feelings may pass in time; or there may be a reason things occurred as they did.

Encourage girls to speak with trusted adults about issues that trouble them.
EX - It's important for girls to have a support system of trusted adults with whom they can discuss issues and learn about healthy relationships.

If you're concerned about a specific behavior, speak with your Mother Advisor or Advisory Board Member about it.
EX - Inappropriate actions can often be handled with a discreet conversation regarding proper behaviors, or more importantly, the perception of impropriety.

Keep private matters private, but don't risk someone's safety to do so.
EX - Don't feel like you need to bear the burden alone. If you become aware of something that concerns you, speak with someone in leadership or another trusted adult.

Action should be taken any time...

While it is important to be caring and supportive when someone is having a difficult time in a relationship, it is critical that we know when to take action and make a report to someone in authority.
  • The safety or well being of a child is in danger.
  • Maltreatment is suspected or reported.
  • Sexual abuse occurs (regardless of whether an adult, another youth within the organization, or someone outside of the organization is suspected).
  • Abusive or harmful behaviors are observed at any Rainbow activity.
  • Harmful behaviors are reported or observed.
  • Any unsafe situation exists.

Any time a girl discloses that she has been abused, action is warranted.

What to do?

Here are some examples of when to take action:

Report to Authorities
  • Any imminent danger
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse, especially with injury
  • Threats
  • Harassment or severe bullying

Respond Internally
  • Inappropriate behaviors
  • First-time harmless misdeeds that may serve as learning experiences
  • Verbally offensive behaviors

Some situations may not require official "action" of any kind, yet the individual involved may benefit from supportive listening, or information and possibly referral.

Assembly leaders should consider having a resource list of local organizations and programs to share when a girl is having a relationship or family issue.

Reporting Concerns

Any adult or youth who observes an unsafe situation or has reason to suspect mistreatment of a youth, should immediately inform the Mother Advisor or an Advisory Board Member. The adult leader receiving the information is then responsible for notifying authorities, if warranted, as well as following Rainbow's administrative reporting procedures.

For confidentiality purposes, the matter should not be discussed with anyone else.

If you have observed or suspect maltreatment, you may be asked to complete a Confidential Incident Report as soon as practicable. If so, the report should be completed while memories of the events are still fresh, and should include only what was observed and not personal opinion or interpretation.

Legal Requirements

  • Individual jurisdictions may have different legal reporting requirements. Online or local resources can provide information about applicable laws.
  • Each Rainbow jurisdiction is responsible for obtaining and disseminating information about the requirements that pertain to their assemblies.
  • IMMINENT SAFETY - CALL 911: In case of any immediate danger, leaders should not hesitate to call 911 or contact the police or sheriff.
  • Every state has Good Samaritan Laws that protect individuals who report in good faith.

See full YP Policy (pages 13-14) for steps in reporting process.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway ( and other resources provide information about local laws.

Special Circumstances

In keeping with Rainbow's "no tolerance policy" for maltreatment, special situations will sometimes emerge that require additional safeguards and will be added to the YP Program. The policy addresses how these are to be handled to protect the safety of our members. Girls, their parents, and other adult volunteers should become familiar with these special circumstances in order to recognize if and when something inappropriate may occur and know how to handle it.
  • Aggressive Behaviors of relatives and non-affiliated guests
  • Rainbow Girls at events where alcohol is served

Please see the full YP Policy (pages 10-11) for additional information on these situations.

Other Considerations

If an incident of child sexual abuse or physical abuse has occurred, Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement authorities must investigate. DO NOT INTERFERE with a legal investigation process. In this instance, it is not the role of anyone in Rainbow to examine or inspect evidence.

All media or public inquiries must be referred to the Supreme Inspector/Deputy of the jurisdiction.

Abuse hotlines and other emergency numbers are located in the front of telephone books. When in doubt, call 911.

Any time abuse is suspected or reported, assembly leaders are expected to report to the authorities.


For crisis or referral information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, contact Childhelp: (800) 4-A-CHILD or (800) 422-4453

Karen Askew, IORG Supreme Assembly
315 East Carl Albert Parkway
(918) 423-1328