Cover for Sexual Abuse
The possibility of abuse is very real in organisations that provide care to vulnerable people including children, the disabled and the elderly. Abuse takes various forms; it can be physical including sexual, emotional or financial. If your organisation provides a form of care, education or community service to members of the public, your organisation is at risk of being accused of mistreatment of those in your care.
Prudent organisations that care for vulnerable people develop good risk management practices to mitigate the risk of abuse. In a perfect world, risk management policies, practices and procedures are developed, implemented, reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Employees and volunteers will have regular learning opportunities to become familiar with those risk management tools. Where appropriate, those considered to be vulnerable are also taught about their rights and what actions should be reported.
The recent Victorian Enquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non- government organisations found that “there is no typical offender of criminal child abuse and many child sex offenders often appear as regular community members with good intentions”. The simple fact is that where ever there are organisations that take care of vulnerable people, there will be determined and opportunistic individuals who will target the vulnerable and will try to operate outside any control system and the organisation has to manage the abuse risk.
Risk management practices will not prevent a claim being made against an organisation by a victim. This is borne out by another finding of the Victorian Enquiry – that “victims will often want to receive vindication from the organisation for the injustice they suffered and acknowledgement that the organisation failed in its duty of care to protect them.”
Against a background of greater public awareness concerning “abuse”, the potential long-term consequences for victims, retrospective legal changes and increasing recourse to litigation allegations of negligence is rising. If an abuse claim is bought against your organisation, you will want an insurance policy that offers protection. Ansvar can provide your organisation with peace of mind by offering cover, subject to our underwriting criteria.
It is important to be aware that an incident of abuse that happens today may not be reported by a victim for many years. This means that a claim against your organisation could be raised many years after the alleged abuse took place.
Because the period from incident to reporting can be so long, there are complex long-term “abuse” exposure issues to be considered. If an incident of abuse happens today, your policy with Ansvar at the time of the incident will protect you whenever a claim is received, even if that claim is made years down the track. This type of cover is referred to as an “occurrence basis” and it provides your organisation with a high level of protection in an era of constant risk.
Some forms of abuse are covered under a standard General Public and Products Liability insurance policy however, it’s important to be aware that most policies will not cover Sexual Abuse.
At Ansvar, we offer cover to your organisation for allegations of Sexual Abuse committed by either an employee or volunteer against a member of the public whilst in your care, as an extension to our General Public and Products Liability insurance policy.
Our cover can be purchased by organisations that have solid risk management procedures in place. If you do not have risk management in place, we can assist with providing guidance to develop adequate procedures and practices to help mitigate the chance of abuse occurring.
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Technical Underwriting Manager
With more than 20 years of Insurance industry experience, Sue joined Ansvar in 2011 in the role of Casualty Underwriting Manager. Her overall responsibility is to ensure Ansvar’s Casualty book of business is well underwritten and runs profitably.
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