Reforms and efforts focused on fighting child abuse, instituting best practices

May 08, 2016

Penn State has continuously expressed its concern for victims of child abuse and its overarching commitment to not only ensuring our campuses are safe for children, but to also helping to build greater awareness of child sexual abuse and maltreatment.

In the past five years, Penn State has enacted a multitude of reforms focused on fighting child abuse, and has introduced best practices in governance, management and compliance.

These include, but are not limited to the following:

-- The establishment of the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, with the goal of advancing knowledge, practice, education and outreach to combat child abuse.

-- Creation of the Center for Protection of Children at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The over-arching purpose of the Center for the Protection of Children is to develop and coordinate research, education and policy initiatives having to do with child abuse/protection – within Penn State Hershey, Penn State's broader Network on Child Protection and Wellbeing, as well as with community partners.

-- The institution of a new administrative policy, AD-72, "Reporting Suspected Child Abuse," to provide guidance to University employees regarding mandated reporting requirements according to the University and the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.

-- Development of an online “Reporting Child Abuse” training required for new employees, and current employees. Employees who work with children are required to take the training annually; all others are required to take the training every three years.

-- The creation of a national conference on child sexual abuse. The inaugural conference was held Oct. 28-30, 2012, and is held annually.

-- Creation of an Office of Ethics and Compliance, and the Ethics and Compliance Council to coordinate, integrate and oversee all University compliance functions.

-- Hired an athletics integrity officer and changed the reporting line of the University’s athletics compliance office to the director of ethics and compliance rather than the athletic director.

-- Enacted a formal policy review process that resulted in the creation or revision of policies and procedures regarding youth protection, facility security, reporting potential wrongdoing, anti-retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment, employee background checks, and institutional financial conflicts of interest and board conflicts of interest.

-- Developed comprehensive compliance and ethics training and education programs.

-- Developed and implemented a comprehensive action plan to ensure compliance with Title IX requirements and to address a national concern about sexual assault on campuses.

-- Undertook a University-wide effort to promote a “see something, say something” climate and to enforce the University’s anti-retaliation policy.

-- Instituted a series of policies to correct and promote appropriate conduct (Policy AD88: Code of Responsible Conduct; Policy AD67: Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation; Policy AD83: Institutional Financial Conflict of Interest; Policy HR101: Positions Requiring National Search Process; Policy AD86: Acceptance of Gifts and Entertainment; Policy AD89: University Export Compliance Policy; and Policy AD53: Privacy Statement)

Last Updated May 13, 2016