2023 Praesidium Impact Summit Recap
Praesidium was thrilled to host the 2023 Impact Summit this past September! Over 150 attendees joined Praesidium for three days in Grapevine, Texas, to learn from the Praesidium team, professionals across various industries, and experts on a diverse range of topics related to sexual abuse prevention. Praesidium’s Impact Summit also provided attendees the opportunity to network with other professionals working to make safer environments.
At this year’s Impact Summit, sessions included information on:
- The latest research trends from academic experts;
- An analysis of abuse incidents across five industries;
- Common challenges that organizations from different industries are facing and practical ways to succeed and overcome these obstacles; and
- Emerging risks Praesidium’s clients are currently managing.
Here’s a look at the highlights of everything we learned from this unique and important event.
What we learned from organizational leaders and academic experts
Praesidium was honored to have four research experts and five organization leaders join us for respective Impact Summit panels, where they shared their expertise on the latest research trends and advice for organizations on implementing best practices. Below is an overview of what they shared with the audience:
- The researchers discussed how addressing the problem of sexual abuse requires both macro and micro-level initiatives at the federal and organizational levels. We learned that while federal funding for sexual abuse is increasing, it is still insufficient. Simultaneously, national and local level organizations must proactively implement procedures to protect their consumers.
- While more research is always needed to understand which interventions are most effective in minimizing the risk of abuse incidents, local organizations can implement internal feedback systems to evaluate where abuse prevention efforts are successful and adjustments are necessary.
- The newest research on sexual grooming behaviors helps organizations identify and categorize the risks associated with specific behaviors. This is a significant advancement for protecting youth from abuse and should be considered when creating policies and procedures.
- The organization leader panelists emphasized the importance of having the support and “voice from the top” to implement effective abuse risk management practices and changes.
- Most organizations manage various competing demands while working on implementing abuse prevention policies and procedures. Leaders in all industries represented (youth development, social services, faith-based organizations, and education) agreed that prioritizing this work is crucial to upholding their organization’s mission and values.
- Multiple panelists shared stories on the small wins they’ve had within their organization; for example, implementing more robust screening and selection helped one organization screen out a potential offender. Another example included further transparency and support from parents and consumers after implementing education for these groups.
To learn more about the research panelists, click here.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM the research and incident analysEs
Praesidium’s Research and Analytics team has conducted several analyses on the history of abuse prevention efforts at the national level and an in-depth analysis of over 3,000 incidents of sexual abuse. Here’s an overview of the top findings:
- Since 1990, 500 publications and studies related to sexual abuse prevention have been published to date. Of those, 350 were published within the last ten years due to the growing demand and public awareness of sexual abuse and the urgency to understand and prevent incidents from occurring.
- Within the past five years, 48 of 50 states have passed Statutes of Limitations reforms. The Me-Too movement and multiple Grand Jury investigations into incidents of sexual abuse within dioceses have resulted in widespread demand for transparency and justice for survivors.
- As a result of this increased awareness, some high-profile incidents, and organizations’ being proactive, there has been a significant increase in industry standards on sexual abuse prevention. At least ten large, federated youth-serving organizations created membership requirements for abuse prevention; these organizations serve an estimated 20 million youth annually.
- According to an analysis of abuse incident losses from 2000-2005, youth-to-youth abuse losses continue increasing. This aligns with the ongoing trend learned from Praesidium’s Helpline, where 50% of incidents reported annually are about youth-to-youth problematic sexual behavior and bullying.
- The analysis also showed that outside contact is among the most high-risk interactions. Faith-based organizations, K-12 schools, youth development organizations, and social services agencies all see outside contact as one of their top three locations for most incidents of abuse to occur, according to Praesidium’s analysis.
- An analysis of the top organizational faults organizations are responsible for showed that negligent hiring is the most financially consequential for organizations. The average payout for cases involving negligent hiring is $40,504,935.
What we learned about the risks organizations are managing
Praesidium’s expert Consultants shared important strategies for handling emerging challenges and high-risk situations related to preventing abuse. Here’s an overview of their top recommendations:
- For the past several years, organizations have sought additional and practical guidance on how to support LGBTQIA+ consumers in their programs best. Unfortunately, LGBTQIA+ individuals over 16 are nearly four times more likely than their peers to experience violent victimization or rape. Organizations must use formalized monitoring and supervision procedures that balance the need for consumer privacy, bodily autonomy, and bodily integrity for all consumers.
- As previously mentioned, youth-to-youth incidents of abuse continue to increase; specifically, Praesidium has seen an increase in minor employee incidents. Utilizing minor employees, junior staff, counselors in training, etc. is a tremendous way to encourage the professional development of teens by giving them these leadership opportunities. However, challenges can arise when boundaries are not clearly defined. Policies and training for minor employees are crucial for organizations to set expectations for interactions between minor employees, adult employees, and other consumers.
- Another group of individuals that are at risk for sexual abuse are vulnerable adults. Adults with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than those without disabilities, and 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Similar to preventing youth-to-youth abuse, policies, and training are critical for protecting vulnerable adults, and consumer participation is crucial. Everyone must be informed of the expectations for your organization and programs. This includes your consumers’ rights and responsibilities, your organization’s policies for interactions and boundaries with consumers, avenues for reporting incidents that may occur, and how the organization responds.