Sexual Assault - Relationship Policy - Grievance - Liability
SEXUAL ASSAULT POLICY
Veterans Expeditions prohibits and does not tolerate sexual abuse or misconduct during trips, expeditions, or during any organization-related activity. Veterans Expeditions provides procedures for participants, volunteers, board members or any other victims of sexual abuse or misconduct to report such acts. Those reasonably suspected or believed to have committed sexual abuse or misconduct will be appropriately disciplined, up to and including termination of employment or membership, as well as criminally prosecuted. No participant, volunteer, board member or other person, regardless of his or her title or position has the authority to commit or allow sexual abuse or misconduct.
The following definitions or examples of sexual abuse, misconduct or harassment, may apply to any and/or all of the following persons – participants, volunteers or other third-parties.
Sexual abuse or misconduct may include, but is not limited to:
Sexual activity with another who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to give
Physical assaults or violence, such as rape, sexual battery, abuse, molestation or any attempt to commit such acts.
Unwanted and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, brushing, massaging someone’s neck or shoulders and/or pulling against another’s body or
Material such as pornographic or sexually explicit images, posters, calendars or
Unwelcome and inappropriate sexual activities, advances, comments, innuendoes, bullying, jokes, gestures, electronic communications or messages (e.g. email, text, social media, voicemail), exploitation, exposure, leering, stalking or invasion of sexual
A sexually hostile environment characterized as comments or conduct that unreasonably interferes with one’s work performance or ability to do the job or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive
Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment or affiliation with the
Immediately report suspected sexual abuse or misconduct to the Veteran Expeditions Head Trip Leader, then the appropriate authorities, police or other governmental protection agency will be contacted. It is not required to directly confront the person who is the source of the report, question or complaint before notifying any of the individuals listed. Veterans Expeditions will take every reasonable measure to ensure that those named in the complaint of misconduct, or are too closely associated with those involved in the complaint, will be held in confidence.
Anti-retaliation and False Allegations
Veterans Expeditions prohibits retaliation made against any participant, volunteer, board member or other person who lodges a good faith complaint of sexual abuse or misconduct or who participates in any related investigation. Making knowingly false or malicious accusations of sexual abuse or misconduct can have serious consequences for those who are wrongly accused. Veterans Expeditions prohibits making false or malicious sexual misconduct allegations, as well as deliberately providing false information during an investigation. Anyone who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or membership and criminal prosecution.
Investigation and Follow-up
Veterans Expeditions will take all allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct seriously and will promptly, thoroughly and equitably investigate whether misconduct has taken place. The organization WILL use an outside third-party to conduct an investigation of misconduct. Veterans Expeditions will cooperate fully with any investigation conducted by law enforcement or other regulatory/protective services agencies. Veterans Expeditions will make every reasonable effort to keep the matters involved in the allegation as confidential as possible while still allowing for a prompt and thorough investigation. Veterans Expeditions is not a professional investigating body nor sexual assault counselors and will, therefore, refer such serves to professionals outside the organization.
Reporting to Law Enforcement or Appropriate Child or Adult Protective Services
Veterans Expeditions is committed to following the state and federal legal requirements for reporting allegations or incidents of sexual abuse or misconduct to appropriate law enforcement and child or adult protective services organizations. It is the policy of Veterans Expeditions not to attempt to investigate or assess the validity or credibility of an allegation of sexual or physical abuse as a condition before reporting the allegation to proper law enforcement authorities or protective services organizations.
Participant and Worker Screening and Selection
As part of its sexual abuse and misconduct prevention program, Veterans Expeditions is committed to maintaining a diligent screening program for prospective and existing participants, volunteers and others that may have interaction with those employed by, associating with or serviced by Veterans Expeditions. The organization may utilize a variety of methods of screening and selection, including but not limited to applications, personal interviews, criminal background checks and personal and professional references.
Sexual Assault Acknowledgement
I acknowledge that I received and read the Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Prevention Policy and/or had it explained to me. I understand that it is my responsibility to abide by all rules contained in the policy. I also understand how to report incidents of sexual abuse or misconduct as outlined in the policy, including retaliation against any participant or volunteer exercising his or her rights under the policy.
I acknowledge that I will be alerted when changes and updates are made to the Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Policy and will be responsible for reading and complying with these updates.
RELATIONSHIPS DURING ACTIVITIES
This policy addresses only romantic or sexual relationships that are consented to by participants during a Veterans Expeditions trip. If consent is absent, any romantic or sexual interaction between participants may constitute sexual harassment prohibited by federal and state law.
General Caution Against Consensual Relationships during Trips
Given these considerations, romantic or sexual relationships between Veterans Expeditions participants are deemed to be unwise and inappropriate, regardless of whether the relationship is understood by both parties as consensual during a Veterans Expeditions trip.
Such relationships can have a negative impact on the environment Veterans Expeditions is trying to create between participants.
Prohibition on Consensual Participant Sexual Relationships
Veterans Expeditions has determined that there is no prohibition to engaging in a relationship, but we encourage participants to pursue any relationship outside of Veterans Expeditions trips.
Purpose of the Procedure
Veteran’s Expeditions aim is to ensure that participants and leaders with a grievance relating to their experience can use a procedure which can help to resolve grievances as quickly and as fairly as possible.
If a participant has a grievance with another participant, they should discuss it informally with a trip leader. We hope that the majority of concerns will be resolved this way.
Stage 1 – Statement of Grievance
If the participant feels that the matter has not been resolved through informal discussions, they should put your grievance in writing to the head trip leader or the Executive Director.
Stage 2 – The Grievance Meeting
Within 14 working days, the trip leader will respond, in writing, to the statement, inviting the participant to conduct a meeting where the alleged grievance can be discussed. This meeting should be scheduled to take place as soon as possible and normally five working days’ notice of this meeting will be provided to the participant, and they will be informed of their right to be accompanied. This meeting can be conducted telephonically.
After the meeting with the trip leader and hearing the grievance, the leader must write to the participant informing them of any decision or action and offering them the right of appeal. If the grievance is not satisfied the ultimate decision for action will rest with the Executive Director, Nick Watson.
Veterans Expeditions Assumption of Risk Wavier
In consideration of the services of Veterans Expeditions, their agents, owners, officers, volunteers, participants, employees, and all other persons or entities acting in any capacity on their behalf, I hereby agree to release, indemnify and discharge Veterans Expeditions on behalf of myself, my spouse, my children, my parents, my heirs, assigns, personal representative and estate as follows:
• I acknowledge that my participation in a guided hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, snowshoeing, ski mountaineering, cross country skiing, caving, canoeing, kayaking, or rock/ice climbing trip entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to myself, to property, or to third parties. I understand that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity.
The risks include, but are not limited to: the hazards of walking on uneven terrain and slips and falls; being struck by rockfall, icefall or other objects dislodged or thrown from above; the use of climbing ropes and equipment; the forces of nature, including lightning, weather changes and avalanche; the risk of falling off the rock, mountain or into a crevasses; the risks of exposure to insect bites; the risk of altitude and cold including hypothermia, frostbite, acute mountain sickness, cerebral and pulmonary edema; my own physical condition, and the physical exertion associated with this activity.
Furthermore, Veterans Expeditions employees have difficult jobs to perform. They seek safety, but they are not infallible. They might be unaware of a participant’s fitness abilities. They might misjudge weather, or other environmental conditions. They may give incomplete warnings or instructions, and the equipment being used might malfunction.
• Participants may be driven to activity sites by staff members or other participants. The activities of the program and related transportation are dangerous and expose participants to the risk of serious injury, including but not limited to illness, permanent paralysis and death.
• I expressly agree and promise to accept and assume all of the risks existing in this activity. My participation in this activity is purely voluntary, and I elect to participate in spite of the risks.
• I hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Veterans Expeditions from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action, which are in any way connected with my participation in this activity or my use of Veterans Expeditions equipment or facilities, including any such claims which allege negligent acts or omissions of Veterans Expeditions.
• Should Veterans Expeditions or anyone acting on their behalf, be required to incur attorney’s fees and costs to enforce this agreement, I agree to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs.
• I certify that I have adequate insurance to cover any injury or damage that I may cause or suffer while participating, or else I agree to bear the costs of such injury or damage myself. I further certify that I am willing to assume the risk of any medical or physical condition I may have.
• The activities are in remote places and I understand that help and/or rescue would likely be delayed in the event of an injury and this delay in rescue and/or medical care could exacerbate an injury. These risks and possible losses are inherent in the activities of the program – that is, they cannot be eliminated without significantly altering the nature of the activities. I understand that participants must follow instructions, including those provided in orientations and safety briefings, and not unreasonably expose themselves or others to danger. If a participant observes an unusual hazard or danger he or she must immediately withdraw from the hazard and further participation and bring the condition to the attention of Veterans Expeditions staff.
• Veterans Expeditions is authorized to provide or obtain care for me or for the minor child in the event of a medical emergency, and to exchange medical information with a third party medical care provider.
• I consent to Veterans Expeditions retaining the right to use for publicity and advertising purposes photographs taken of me while participating in their activities/services without any expectation of compensation for the use thereof.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY.
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Document Name: Sexual Assault - Relationship Policy - Grievance - Liability
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