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Addressing Unsafe Interactions and Behaviors of Concern

The following list provides examples of behaviors that are prohibited or discouraged in youth programs, as detailed in the University Standards for Interacting with Youth. All behaviors listed below warrant a response by a youth program representative. Certain “behaviors of concern” require notification to SafeCampus (206-685-SAFE (7233)), and/or a report to the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families – Child Protective Services (DCYF CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276) or the police (911). Examples listed below are not exhaustive. Contact the Office of the Youth Protection Coordinator for further guidance as needed (uwminors@uw.edu or 206-616-5706).

Within each example behavior you will find a continuum of responses appropriate for the behavior listed.

For more resources and downloadable documents addressing unsafe interactions and behaviors of concern, jump to “Additional Resources“.

Behaviors of Concern

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • One-time unplanned encounters where the personnel had no access to other adults.
  • 1:1 interactions that are not sanctioned, warranted, or interrupted by the program.

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

SafeCampus Notification Required

  • Recurring unsanctioned 1:1 youth-personnel interactions (planned or unplanned).
  • Intentional seclusion of a youth by an adult.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

1:1 interactions that intersect with other behaviors of concern that may fit a definition of abuse or neglect.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Youth-initiated contact to a personal account; personnel notifies supervisor immediately.
  • Electronic or text communication that is not sanctioned by a program.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

Ongoing contact between staff and a youth using the staff person’s personal account. No disclosure to supervisor about the communication.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

1:1 text or electronic communications that intersect with other behaviors of concern that may fit a definition of abuse or neglect, e.g., sharing of sexually explicit materials.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Withholding special privileges (e.g., access to certain extra-curricular activities or special prizes, snacks, etc.) for disruptive behavior.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

Withholding meals, water, toileting, sleep, or other basic needs to discipline youth.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

  • Behaviors that constitute neglect.
  • Persistent or egregious instances of withholding meals, water, toileting, sleep, or other basic needs to discipline youth.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Youth initiated contact to a personal account; personnel notifies supervisor immediately and takes steps to deter contact.
  • Personal communication or contact based on a pre-existing relationship that is disclosed to a supervisor.
  • Happenstance meeting in non-program setting that is disclosed to supervisor.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Ongoing contact between staff and a youth using the staff person’s personal account. No disclosure to supervisor about the communication.
  • Unsanctioned visit to personal events or home of youth.
  • Visit by youth to personal dwelling of staff.
  • Unsanctioned meeting between youth and personnel.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Sharing sexually explicit materials with a youth.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Perceived or actual preferential treatment given to one group of youth over another in the same program.
  • Microaggressions that occur in the presence of youth.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Personnel making overtly derogatory (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) comments toward youth based on their identity.
  • Youth disclosing that they have been the victim of discrimination perpetrated by personnel.
  • Sexual, racial, ability, religious or other identity based harassment of youth.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Assault or other crimes motivated by prejudice on the basis of sex, race, ability, religion, etc.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Unsolicited gifts received by participants or families that are immediately disclosed to a supervisor.
  • Giving gifts to all participants or families, or otherwise within sanctioned program guidelines.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Giving gifts to certain youth with no sanctioned programmatic objective. Not disclosing to supervisor.
  • Any perception of favoritism or grooming.
  • Asking youth who receive a gift to keep it a secret.
  • Receiving a gift from youth and not disclosing to a supervisor.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Gift giving or receiving that intersects with other behaviors of concern that may fit a definition of abuse or neglect.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Personnel using language or behaviors to discipline youth that could be perceived as developmentally inappropriate, threatening or violent (jokingly or facetiously.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Using threatening, derogatory or violent language towards youth that can be perceived as serious.
  • Using coercion or intimidation to wield power over youth.
  • Any use of physical force for any purpose (including to restrain youth).

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

  • ALL behaviors that meet the definition of physical or verbal abuse.
  • Physical force used against youth that results in an injury or severe psychological trauma.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • Youth-initiated frontal hugs or other youth-initiated “playful” physical contact that is considered inappropriate per program guidelines; personnel immediately discloses to a supervisor and addresses with youth.
  • Youth-initiated sexual innuendo towards personnel; personnel discloses to a supervisor and addresses with youth.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Physical contact that might be construed as sexual in nature, such as massages, back rubs, etc.
  • Sexual innuendo (e.g., flirting, etc.) between youth and personnel that is not disclosed to a supervisor or deterred by personnel.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

  • Sexual physical contact or sexual verbal exchanges between personnel and youth that meets the definition of sexual abuse or exploitation.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

Youth initiated romantic expression towards personnel that is immediately reported to a supervisor and addressed with youth.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Youth initiated romantic expression towards personnel that is not immediately reported to supervisor, and which persists.
  • Personnel initiated romantic involvement.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

“Dating” between personnel and youth, with additional concern for sexual or physical abuse.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

This behavior warrants action beyond supervisory attention.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

Sharing sexually explicit materials with youth other than pornography, which warrants report to CPS or police.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Sharing pornographic materials with youth.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

  • One-time or repeated tobacco use in front of youth.
  • Discussing drug, alcohol or tobacco use in the presence of youth without a clear programmatic objective.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

  • Possessing or using alcohol or drugs during program activities.
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol during program activities.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Selling drugs. Providing alcohol or drugs to youth.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

This behavior warrants action beyond supervisory attention.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

This behavior warrants action beyond SafeCampus attention.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Any instance of bringing or possessing weapons during program activities or around youth.

Supervisory Attention Warranted

This behavior warrants action beyond supervisory attention.

SafeCampus Notification Required

SafeCampus: 206-685-SAFE (7233)

Transporting youth in a personal vehicle under any circumstances.

Report to DCYF CPS or Police & SafeCampus

CPS: 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276)

Transporting youth in a personal vehicle, accompanying other behaviors of concern that may fit a definition of abuse or neglect.


Additional Resources

  • Download the “Behaviors of Concern Continuum” | [PDF]

The following “Red Flag Behaviors” resource is available for use by the UW youth program community. More resources to view and download can be found under “Documents, tools and templates“.

  • Download the “Red Flag Behaviors” | [PDF]
  • The “SafeCampus Scenario Training for UW Led Youth Programs” is a downloadable training booklet that can be used when training staff to highlight important conduct expectations for youth-facing staff and to discuss challenging situations that may arise.
  • More resources to view and download can be found under “Documents, tools and templates“.
  • Download the “SafeCampus Scenario Training for UW Led Youth Programs” | [PDF]