TORRANCE, Calif. – Apr. 7, 2014 – Keenan, the largest privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm in California, has announced the creation of an initiative designed to help California public schools provide a safe environment for children to learn and prosper. The new Keenan Physical and Sexual Abuse Prevention Resource Center will offer a range of tools and training courses, at no cost, that districts can utilize to achieve their goal of providing such an environment.
Physical and sexual abuse in schools has become a major national, federal and political issue. One report mandated by Congress estimated that as many as 4.5 million students in grades K-12 are subject to sexual misconduct and physical or verbal abuse. Another recent report, by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said K-12 schools lack a systemic approach to preventing and reporting educator sexual abuse on students, despite a problem that the report said affects nearly one out of 10 students who are subjected to misconduct by teachers, coaches, principals, bus drivers and other personnel.
“Children deserve to learn in an environment free from the fear of physical and sexual abuse,” said John Stephens, Senior Vice President and Property & Casualty Practice Leader for Keenan. “We are proud to take a leadership position on this very sensitive and important issue. By providing access to free best practice and training resources, we hope to help schools create a learning environment in which all children can thrive.”
The Keenan Abuse Prevention Center website offers a wealth of information including an in-depth white paper, FAQs, best practices, county incident reporting phone numbers, a suspected child abuse report form, applicable penal codes for child abuse mandatory reporting, and a downloadable reporting poster with spaces for localized information.
In addition, through the award-winning Keenan SafeSchools learning management system, all California public school districts can access at no cost a Mandated Reporter and Awareness training program comprising eight courses for district employees, including:
- Mandated Reporter
- Boundary Invasion
- Child Abuse: Identification & Intervention
- Diversity Awareness: Staff to Student
- Human Trafficking Awareness
- Mandatory Reporting
- Online Safety: Predators
- Sexual Misconduct: Staff to Student
- Youth Suicide: Awareness and Prevention
Legislation in California over the last few years has extended claim filing for minors from age 18 to age 26, with legislation pending to extend it to age 40, which has significantly increased a school’s liability exposures. Mandatory reporting laws in many states require public school employees to immediately report suspected physical or sexual abuse, whether the incident is believed to have occurred on or off campus, to the local police or child protective services.
Settlements and verdicts nationwide are escalating at a rapid pace and regularly exceed $1 million per claim. Moreover, many situations involve multiple victims, all of whom file claims, pushing defense and indemnity costs to potentially catastrophic levels.
Based on these and other developments, school districts may face indefinite exposures in some cases with limited to no statutory defenses as well as increased settlement and defense costs.
To access the new Keenan Physical and Sexual Abuse Prevention Resource Center, visit www.keenan.com/abusepreventioncenter.
For information on Keenan insurance brokerage and consulting programs, visit www.keenan.com.
Founded in 1972, Keenan is the 17th largest insurance consulting and brokerage firm in the U.S., and the largest independent broker in California. Keenan is dedicated to providing superior insurance products and services to schools, community colleges, healthcare organizations and municipalities for employee benefits, health benefit management services, workers’ compensation, risk management, and property and liability. With headquarters in Torrance, CA, Keenan has a staff of more than 650 insurance specialists and branch offices in Riverside, San Clemente, Oakland, San Jose, Rancho Cordova, Redwood City, Pleasanton and Eureka. For more information, call 800-654-8102 or 310-212-3344, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.keenan.com.