Purpose

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is committed to maintaining a supportive and safe educational and working environment, one which seeks to enhance the well-being of all members of its community. This commitment reflects the institution’s adherence to its mission, to the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct, to its various policies, and to relevant state and federal laws. Within that commitment, UAB places importance on creating a secure environment for children.

Scope

This policy applies to activities occurring on UAB’s campus or on property owned or leased by UAB, as well as UAB-sponsored activities occurring off-campus. All UAB faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, as well as employees and volunteers of third-party vendors that are on premises or providing services on behalf of UAB, (hereinafter “University representatives”) are responsible for complying with this policy.

Definitions

Child is defined for the purposes of this policy as any individual under 18 years of age. Abuse is harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare. Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare can occur through nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation.

"Sexual abuse may be perpetrated by an adult or another child and includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of the conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of the conduct; or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children as those acts are defined by Alabama law. Sexual abuse also includes any activity that is meant to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of the perpetrating adult or child. Sexual abuse may or may not involve touching. Sexual exploitation includes allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution and allowing, permitting, encouraging or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child. Neglect is negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, medical treatment, supervision, clothing, or shelter."

Policy Statement*

University representatives are required to conduct interactions with children according to all laws, regulations, and UAB policies and procedures.

With very limited exception, Alabama law (Ala. Code § 26-14-1 et seq.) makes the reporting to duly authorized officials of known or suspected child abuse or neglect mandatory for hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, doctors, physicians, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical therapists, nurses, public and private K-12 employees, school teachers and officials, peace officers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, social workers, daycare workers or employees, mental health professionals, employees of public and private institutions of postsecondary and higher education, members of the clergy, and any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to a child. It is UAB’s position that, in addition to the mandated statutory reporting requirements, all University representatives must report child abuse or neglect they know or suspect to have occurred on UAB premises or in UAB-sponsored activities to the UAB Police, orally, either by telephone or direct communication immediately, followed by a written report. UAB Police must subsequently inform the Alabama Department of Human Resources of the report.

No form of child abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, will be permitted or tolerated under any circumstances. Child abuse is morally and legally wrong. It can come in many forms. Harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or attempted sexual exploitation.

In deciding whether or not to report an incident or situation of suspected abuse or neglect, proof of abuse or neglect is not required. Any uncertainty in deciding to report suspected abuse or neglect should be resolved in favor of making a good faith report. All inquiries and investigation activities are only to be conducted by the UAB Police or other city, county, or state officials.

UAB prohibits retaliation or allowing retaliation against any University representative for making a good faith report of child abuse or neglect or participating in an inquiry or investigation. Further, any person or entity that makes a good faith report of child abuse or neglect is immune under Alabama law from any liability—civil or criminal—that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

Disciplinary Action

Failure to make a required report may lead to criminal charges and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from program of study. Any UAB employee, trainee, student, volunteer, or other representative committing or complicit with criminal acts against children will be reported by UAB to the appropriate authorities. Students may also be subject to UAB’s Code of Non-academic Conduct.

Implementation

The Senior Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration is responsible for procedures to implement this policy.

Protection of Children on UAB Premises and in UAB Sponsored Activities

UAB is committed to maintaining a safe educational environment and to protecting those on the UAB campus and in UAB sponsored activities. In support of its commitment, UAB has resources in place to address the safety of children while they are on campus or engaged in UAB-sponsored programs. This reflects the institution’s adherence to its mission, to the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct, to its various policies, and to relevant state and federal laws. UAB’s policy for the protection of children is intended to promote a culture of safety while providing flexibility for the success of a wide variety of community outreach programs. Under UAB policy, faculty, staff, students, volunteers, as well as employees and volunteers of third party vendors that are on-premises or providing services on behalf of UAB, must carefully review and are required to comply with this policy.

 


 

Our Responsibilities

 

Responsibilities Under UAB's Protection of Children Policy

As represenatives of UAB, it is our responsibility to always interact with children in an appropriate manner and report suspected child abuse or neglect.  This requirement applies to abuse or neglect that occurs on campus, on property owned or leased by UAB  or while participating in a UAB sponsored activity off-campus.

What is child abuse?

A child is defined as anyone under 18 years of age.  Harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or attempted sexual exploitation.

Abuse

is non-accidental physical harm or injury to a child by a caregiver.
Sexual Abuse includes touching, exposure, to pornography and any activity indented to sexually satisfy an abuser.
Emotional Abuse includes non-accidental emotional injury by caregivers that can seriously interfere with a child’s cognitive, emotional, psychological or social development.
Neglect is negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, or supervision.

How to report abuse

Immediately call the UAB Police at 205-934-3535.  If possible, provide the name of the child, the child's whereabouts, a description of known or suspected abuse or neglect, the suspected abuser's name (or a description of the known or suspected abuser if you do not know their name) and the suspect's whereabouts.   Following an oral report, you must also complete a written statement for the UAB Police Department.

When in doubt, report.  Certainty is not required, only a good faith belief that abuse or neglect has occurred. Let trained experts do the questioning and interviewing of the child.  Any person making a good faith report of child abuse is immune under Alabama law from any liability, civil or criminal, or retaliation.  Your identity is kept confidential to the extent possible under the law.

Remember these key points to protect children:

  • Keep an eye out.
  • Behave responsibly.
  • Report concerns of abuse even if you "just" suspect.
  • Let others investigate, they are professionals trained to determine what happened.

Follow these guidelines for responsible behavior:

  • Do not use physical punishment in any way for behavior management of children.
  • No form of physical force is acceptable, including spanking, slapping, pinching, hitting or any other forms of physical abuse.
  • Physical force may only be used to stop a behavior that may cause immediate harm to the individual or to another child or individual.
  • Avoid being alone with a child where other adults cannot easily observe you, unless it is an emergency or unavoidable circumstance.
  • Conduct one-on-one counseling with children in the open or in another place where private conversations are possible but occur in full view of others.
  • When supervising or assisting private activities such as dressing or showering, remain observable by others or work in pairs.
  • Limit electronic and other outside communications with children to those with clear educational purposes consistent with the mission of the program.

Appropriate forms of affection include:

  • Brief hugs.
  • "High fives" and hand slapping.
  • Verbal praise.
  • Touching hands, faces, shoulders, and arms.
  • Arms around shoulders.
  • Holding hands when walking with small children.
  • Kneeling or bending down for brief hugs with small children.
  • Holding hands during prayer.
  • Sitting beside small children.

Inappropriate Affection:*

  • Inappropriate lengthy embraces.
  • Kissing Touching bottoms, chests, or genital areas except during appropriate. diapering or toileting of infants, toddlers, and those with special needs.
  • Touching knees or legs.
  • Showing affection at times when you cannot be seen by others.
  • Any form of unwanted affection.
  • Comments or compliments that relate to physique or body development.
  • Touching underwear (over or under outer clothing).
  • Private meals with children or youth.
  • Occupying a bed with a child.
  • Giving or receiving any type of massage.

    *There are times, however, when these acts might be acceptable, including situations involving the appropriate administration of medical care or treatment, as part of a properly approved research program, or where the act is a universally accepted part of the athletic or educational activity.

Obligations Under UAB Protection of Children Policy

If you know or suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, you must act. Proof of abuse is not required, just a good faith belief that it has occurred. Any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse or neglect is immune under Alabama law from any liability, civil or criminal, or retaliation. The most important thing anyone can do to promote the safety of children is to be alert.

How to Report Child Abuse or Suspected Child Abuse

Immediately call the UAB Police at (205) 934-3535. Do not directly question or solicit information from the child or from the person suspected of improper behavior. Following an oral report, you must also complete a written statement for the UAB Police Department.