Monthly Newsletter
March 2020
Raising Awareness on Eating Disorders
“For 18 months I was hospitalized with an eating disorder! It was the way I dealt with the emotions that plagued me as a victim of child sexual abuse. I would binge and then purge, binge and then purge! My weight dropped to 72 pounds. I was told if I didn’t stop this behaviour I would die.”                           
-Victim of Child Sexual Abuse

During the month of March, our hope is to raise awareness of Eating Disorders. 

Eating disorders often are a cry for help (a possible indicator of abuse), an attempt to mask the pain from one’s past.

Individuals suffering from eating disorders are vulnerable. 

Therefore, at Plan to Protect®, our hope is that as we join the conversation and encourage open, supportive dialogue of this disease. Together we can help break the shame, stigma and silence that affect nearly 1 million Canadians and 30 million Americans living with a diagnosable eating disorder. This does not include the millions of others who are struggling with food and weight preoccupation. 

Please join our team member Jessica Debanné for our Special Interest Webinar during the month of March as she begins the conversation on how we can plan to protect those in our community that are struggling with eating disorders.  

Melodie Bissell, CEO at Plan to Protect ®
The Latest from Our Blog

On the weekend of February 22nd 2020, Canadians learned of the devastating results of an independent inquiry, undertaken by L’Arche International –a non-profit organization committed to the protection and empowerment of persons with intellectual disabilities in 38 countries worldwide –which investigated allegations of abuse by its revered founder, Jean Vanier. The report found that Mr. Vanier, who died in 2019, had emotionally and sexually abused six (non-disabled) women over a period of several decades, between 1970 and 2005. The inquiry also indicated that his abuse was highly coercive and manipulative, “[…] with highly unusual spiritual and mystical explanations used to justify these behaviours.” It also revealed Vanier’s acknowledgment and adoption of sexually abusive practices perpetrated by Father Thomas Philippe, which Vanier had denied knowledge of in 2015.

As per the vast majority of abusive situations, the women who came forward all described themselves as being vulnerable at the time Vanier exploited them. Sworn to secrecy and intimidated by Vanier’s authority as a spiritual leader, manipulative tactics and his high-profile position at L’Arche, they were afraid to come forward. This is all too common of situations in which power imbalances are leveraged within organizations, to victimize the vulnerable.
Representatives of L’Arche denounced and condemned the appalling abuse at the hands of Vanier, and expressed solidarity with the women he victimized, whilst emphasizing that they have no reason to believe the abuse was ever geared toward participants of their program. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops likewise stood by the victim-survivors, whilst reiterating L’Arche’s sustained commitment to protect the vulnerable.

Despite this, L’Arche International will thoroughly evaluate its current protection policies and procedures through an independent investigation. L’Arche’s Federation of communities for disabled persons will now also have access to a newly created  centralized whistleblowing procedure , to report any abusive behaviours. Information will subsequently be dealt with by a Safeguarding Response Team, comprised of people within and outside L’Arche, with the aim of best protecting the vulnerable adults in the organization’s care.
The news about Vanier has shocked members of the Christian community, the non-profit sector, organizations servicing the vulnerable, and academic circles. Such spheres have since sought to reconcile such abuse with the charity work and writings of the now-disgraced humanitarian, philosopher and theologian.
As a consultancy agency committed to equipping organizations servicing youth, children and vulnerable adults in all matters of abuse prevention and vulnerable sector protection, we at Plan to Protect® share the sadness of L’Arche’s greater community. At the same time, we are reminded that “[…] no segment of our society is immune” to abuse scandals –even the places which resolutely seek to create safe places for the vulnerable (Safe Sanctuary, p. 18). We commend L’Arche for seeking to assess and upscale their protection policies and procedures, to ensure no harm is experienced by the vulnerable within its programming.
But we also wish to remind our partners of the manifold implications of abuse prevention. As we have read and grieved the reports pertaining to this scandal, we distinguish the contradictory nature of Vanier’s actions: here was a man whose work was dedicated to the safeguarding and empowerment of the vulnerable –namely adults with disabilities - yet actions in his private life explicitly harmed a different part vulnerable sector –namely vulnerable women. 

The question remains:  How could someone perceived as a champion of the vulnerable sector and its protection commit such grievous predatory behaviours? 
New This Month
You Asked...

Q: What is meant by keeping documentation permanently?  

(Question 13i of our Frequently Asked Questions).

March Special
Crisis Response Management Course... Register!

Register a Senior Leader in the Crisis Response Management course in March and save 25%!

Must register and pay during the month of March.  

Want to learn more about getting ready for a storm -i.e. preparing for crises? Register today!
***No other discounts apply.
Training Highlights
Eating Disorders
Special Interest Webinar

At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. Learn how to ensure your organization knows how to support staff, volunteers, and participants in your programs who may suffer from an eating disorder. This webinar is designed for youth workers, child workers, teachers, supervisors, parents, and administrators. 

Free for Members
Plan to Protect ® with Documentation Management
Complimentary Webinar

Do you feel like your drowning in a sea of paperwork? Are you unsure of how often you need to take attendance or what activities need permission forms? Are you wondering what to do with permission forms after an event? Find your answers to these questions and more in our webinar on documentation management!

Choosing to Love
Are your Senior Leaders ready for a crisis?

No organizational head wishes to think about it, but in today’s frenzied world it is likely that you will one day come face to face with a crisis that threatens the stability and perhaps even survival of your organization. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when!

A member of your staff or someone closely connected to you is arrested and charged with serious offenses. You and your group are attacked online or in a protest. A public figure attacks your policies or integrity in a public way and builds a firestorm of protest against you.

And all of them bring about intense media and public scrutiny.

Here are just some recent cases that involved organizations across North America and put them in the media spotlight.
Knowing that our clients could be presented with a crisis at any time, we have developed a course for Senior Leaders to help you put a crisis response plan in place. 

It has been a privilege to work with Barrie Doyle (Primary Instructor), Dan Brown (Journalist Interviewee) and Lloyd and Steve Knight (Producers) to produce our Crisis Response and Management Certification Course. Our first students are working their way through the course and are loving it! 

In the Crisis Response and Management Certification Course participants will learn how to respond and manage a crisis. As a result of this course you will:
  • Learn about preparing for a crisis and the role of the board and the need-to-know individuals.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the value of navigating interactions with the media well and learn how to respond in a crisis when the media comes knocking.
  • Understand the legal requirements for reporting and responding to abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
  • Assist and support volunteers and staff in reporting and responding to abuse.
  • Examine best practices for documenting a crisis
  • Identify and develop a strong crisis response plan.
  • Analyze how a crisis can be avoided in the first place and develop concrete policies for protection and prevention.
  • Recognize the value of internal investigations while understanding when you should do them and begin identifying procedures for how your organization will do internal investigations.
Check out this resource!
The Predator Proof Your Family book series has been updated during the past year!

Sexual child abuse is epidemic and we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Find out how to recognize potential predators, how to keep your kids safe and how to stem the tide of sexual child abuse in our society.
Books in this Series:
#1 - Why all the Fuss?
#2 - Who is the Predator?
#3 - Predator-Proofing our Children
#4 - Predators in Pews & Pulpits
#5 - The Porn Factor
#6 - It's all About the Brain
#7 - When the Worst That Could Happen Has Already Happened
#8 - Smart Justice
For a price of $67.95 CDD, this eight book series will allow you to garner much knowledge about how to best protect your family.