Protection of Minors FAQ

Why has Georgetown adopted this policy?

The University has adopted the Protection of Minors Policy to provide guidance for those in the University community who participate in programs or activities that involve minors. The primary goal of the policy is to promote the well-being and safety of minors who participate in programs run by or associated with Georgetown University. The policy also clarifies responsibilities and provides guidance and support to help those who work with minors manage problems and avoid mistaken allegations.

I’m not involved in any programs involving minors at Georgetown. Does the policy apply to me?

If you are not involved in any programs or activities involving minors, most of the provisions of the policy will not apply to you. Everyone, however, is expected to 1) review the signs of abuse and neglect of minors, 2) help to protect the safety and well-being of minors with whom they may interact, and 3) report known or suspected abuse or neglect of a minor. The policy does not apply to personal activities that are apart from your role or responsibilities as a student, faculty-member or staff-member, but the guidance provided by the policy may be helpful and important in non-University contexts.

Reporting Obligations

When might I need to make a report under the policy?

If you are participating in a program or activity involving minors and you know, suspect, or receive information indicating that a minor has been abused or neglected or is otherwise unsafe, you must make a report. Information on signs of abuse and neglect are is available here.

How do I make a report to the University?

To make a report, contact the Office of Compliance and Ethics (OCE) by calling (202) 687-6493. You may also report through the University’s Compliance Helpline, which is accessible at http://compliance.georgetown.edu or by telephone at (888) 239.9181, 24 hours a day. OCE will help determine next steps.

What if I’m not sure whether a minor I’m working with has been abused or neglected?

If you encounter a situation in which you are uncertain or feel uncomfortable, contact the Office of Compliance and Ethics, which can assist you and your supervisor or program director in determining what to do. If you have any suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected, report it---even when you have doubts, it is better to report your suspicions than to ignore them.

Training Requirements

What training am I required to have in order to participate in a program involving minors?

All individuals working with minors in University programs or activities are required to review the University’s Working with Minors Guidelines and certify that they have done so. The Working with Minors Guidelines provide helpful tips for maintaining a safe and positive environment when working with minors, advice on signs of child abuse and neglect, and steps to take if you suspect that a minor has been abused or neglected. The Working with Minors Guidelines are accessible here.

In addition, program or activity directors, and individuals who stay overnight with, or are regularly alone with, minors, must also complete a free online training course entitled: Sexual Misconduct: How Teachers/Educators Can Protect Our Children. The online training course is accessible here.

I’m a student participating in a program involving minors. Do I need any training?

Yes. All faculty, staff and students who are involved in a University-run or -affiliated program or activity involving minors must certify that they have reviewed the Working with Minors Guidelines.

Background Checks

Why is the University requiring criminal background checks prior to participating in activities involving minors?

The University is committed to promoting the well-being and safety of children who participate in University programs or activities and in programs that outside organizations deliver on campus. Criminal background checks may reveal prior convictions that would make it inappropriate for someone to participate in a program or activity with minors.

Who is required to have a criminal background check?

Directors and supervisors of programs involving minors, those who stay overnight with minors, and those who regularly spend time alone with minors as part of their job responsibilities or role in a program involving minors must successfully pass a background check prior to their participation in University-run or -affiliated programs or activities involving minors.

I am operating a program involving minors. How do I arrange for background checks for my staff?

University Human Resources (UHR) oversees the processing of criminal background checks for University programs and activities. More information concerning how to request background checks and their cost can be found here.

External Programs Operating on University Campus

I would like to host a non-university program involving children on Georgetown’s campus. What do I need to do in order to do so?

Non-University organizations that wish to operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must comply with the University’s Protection of Minors Policy, including requirements relating to reporting suspected abuse or neglect of minors, completing all relevant training, and background checks.

Prior to the start of any program or activity involving minors, Non-University organizations must 1) certify that they have conducted criminal background checks of their employees, volunteers, and representatives that meet Georgetown standards and notified Georgetown of any background check that returned a conviction or other adverse information; and 2) certify to the University that all individuals who will be interacting with minors have received the University’s Guidelines for Working with Minors.

University units that wish to host non-University programs for children on campus should contact the Office of Compliance and Ethics well in advance of the program’s anticipated start date for further information about the procedures for ensuring that outside organizations meet these requirements.