No Child Should Experience Abuse At Summer Camp

School is out and summer is here. Many children and their parents are looking forward to camp: sleepaway camp, church camp, youth camp and other options for camping. Sending a child off to summer camp for a week or more takes a great deal of faith from parents. Even the organizations that seem to provide safe environments with trustworthy leaders turn out to be dangerous breeding grounds for predators.

A recent CBS news investigation uncovered 578 incidents of sexual abuse at summer camps. Experts believe the real number is much higher because most incidents are not reported and many of those which are reported are handled internally without law enforcement involvement.

Despite how popular, picturesque or entertaining a camp might seem, it could still serve as a location for childhood sexual abuse. Tragically, this occurs far more often than most people know. When children are away from their parents, there is always a risk that they could endure mistreatment.

In most states, there are laws in place to keep sexual predators out of daycare centers and schools. Rarely do the same prohibitions apply in the summer camp setting. Many states do not require background checks for counselors who work at overnight camps. Further, many counselors come from foreign countries and their histories may not show up in a traditional background check.

How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the risks that children face at sleepaway camp. However, parents can ask a few important questions when researching summer camps for their children. These are some of the best questions that you can ask to ensure your child’s safety:

  1. What types of safety procedures does the camp use?
  2. How does the camp screen its employees? Does it conduct criminal background checks?
  3. What kind of training do staff members or volunteers receive?
  4. What kinds of disciplinary proceedings are there for staff and for children?
  5. How does the camp make sure that children are not left alone with staff members?
  6. Does each cabin or tent have at least two staff members present? Does each field trip or outing have at least two staff members?
  7. How does the camp separate age groups for activities and sleeping?
  8. How does the camp handle bullying, harassment, physical force, violence or abuse?
  9. Whom can a child talk to if they feel afraid or experienced abuse?

Our team of lawyers has experience handling civil lawsuits and assisting with criminal cases involving child sexual abuse at summer camps. You can discuss your case in private with an attorney by calling us at 954-641-2100 or by using our online contact form. We offer free, confidential, no-risk, no-obligation consultations.