The George Washington University is committed to the safety and well-being of all members of its community, including minor children. The Protection of Minors Policy establishes guidelines and procedures to promote the protection of minors. The university expects all members of the university community to adhere to and act in accordance with this policy.
The university offers programs and activities that minors attend and in which they participate. The university also allows non-university organizations to use university facilities for programs and activities involving minors. The Protection of Minors Policy addresses the protection and safety of minors in these programs and activities and establishes procedures for reporting known or suspected abuse or neglect of minors.
Members of the university community interact with minors in a variety of ways, including as prospective and enrolled students, employees, interns, visitors, and participants in programs, activities, or research. These interactions may occur at any university location or during any university-sponsored program or activity off campus. Members of the university community who engage in these interactions with minors must be diligent in protecting their safety and must report any known or suspected abuse or neglect in accordance with the Protection of Minors Policy.
Every member of the university community who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a minor has been or is being abused or neglected must report this information to the university.
Reporting and Contact Information
GW TIPS Line (anonymous reporting)
The George Washington University Police Department
GW Compliance and Privacy Office
GW Regulatory Compliance Help and Referral Line (confidential 24/7 hotline)
District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency
Virginia Department of Social Services
800-552-7096 (within Virginia)
804-786-8536 (outside Virginia)
Maryland Child Protective Services
The following resources provide helpful information to promote the safety and well-being of minors on campus and at university-sponsored events.
Recognizing Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
These resources contain helpful information about recognizing signs of abuse and neglect.
“Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect”: A one-page document developed by the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency
“What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms”: Fact sheet developed by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
State and local laws may require individuals working in certain designated occupations and professions to report abuse or neglect of a minor. These individuals are known as mandatory reporters. The Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a publication called "Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect".
Employment of Minors
The employment of minors is highly regulated by federal and state laws. Supervisors must be aware of the federal and District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland child labor laws to prevent any employment that would violate these laws or is against university policies. For more information, visit the University Human Resources website and learn more about employment of minors.
Best Practices for Interacting with Minors
Members of the university community participating in programs or activities involving minors should observe the following “dos” and “don’ts” in order to maintain a safe and positive experience. When interacting with minors:
Maintain the highest standards of professional behavior at all times.
Act as a positive role model for minors and behave in a caring, respectful and responsible manner.
Be friendly and supportive within the context of the program or activity while maintaining appropriate boundaries.
Whenever possible, have another adult present. If a one-on-one interaction is required, try to meet in an open room or area observable by other adults.
Always treat all minors in a group consistently and fairly, and with respect and dignity.
Maintain discipline and discourage inappropriate behavior by minors, consulting with supervisors or colleagues if you need help with misbehaving minors.
Be aware of how your actions and intentions might be perceived and could be misinterpreted.
Consult with other supervisors or colleagues when you feel uncertain about a situation.
Obtain permission from a parent or guardian before taking photographs or videos of minors and then only to meet the objectives of the specific program or activity.
Spend significant time alone with one minor away from the group or conduct private interactions with minors in enclosed spaces or behind closed doors.
Conduct private correspondence with minors or invite minors to your home unless it is a part of the program or activity.
Engage in any abusive or offensive conduct of any kind towards or in the presence of a minor, including but not limited to striking, spanking, poking, or restraining.
Behave in a manner that is intended to shame, humiliate, belittle, or degrade minors, or engage in any other form of emotional abuse.
Engage in inappropriate touching or unauthorized physical contact with a minor.
Use inappropriate language, tell sexual jokes, or make sexually suggestive comments around minors, even if minors themselves are doing so.
Provide sexual materials to minors or assist minors in any way in obtaining such materials.
Provide alcohol or drugs to minors or use alcohol or drugs in the presence of minors.
Take photographs or videos of minors with a personal camera or cell phone.