A responsibility to provide safe environments
All adults and organizations have a legal, moral and ethical duty to protect people in their care and employment.
In any organization—including schools, community centres, places of worship and workplaces—people can be at risk of violence.
Risks can be direct acts of violence including abuse, exploitation, bullying or harassment. Risks can also be indirect, created when organizations fail to develop, implement or enforce policies and procedures designed to ensure safe environments.
Duty of care and liability
Organizations have an important responsibility to prevent violence and respond to it if and when it happens. An organization’s ‘duty of care’ is its legal responsibility to make sure all personnel and participants are safe from harm. For example, if a volunteer acting on behalf of an organization causes harm to a child, the court may rule that both that person and the organization are liable.
The Canadian Red Cross has produced the Handbook on Preventing Violence Against Children, a user-friendly guide that helps individuals and organizations to understand the risk of violence and take practical actions to create nonviolent environments for children and youth everywhere. Download the manual in English, French or Spanish.