Student Protection

The protection of our students is our top priority. This section provides information on topics that describe key aspects of our protection program plus descriptive information of the many aspects of the program. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you have related to student safety and protection.

We do this by:

  •  Recognizing your right to freedom from harassment & abuse.
  •  Ensuring staff and volunteers are carefully selected, trained and accept responsibility
  •  Responding swiftly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations
  •  Appointing a District 7150 Exchange Student Protection Officer (SPO)
  •  Ensuring access to confidential information is restricted
  •  Reviewing the effectiveness periodically.

Be aware of cultural differences -- refer to:

  •  State Dept country descriptions
  •  Former exchange students ("ROTEX")

When feeling threatened, you have the right to:

  •  Trust your instincts or feelings
  •  Expect privacy
  •  Say no to unwanted touching or affection
  •  Say no to an adult's inappropriate demands or requests
  •  Withhold information that could jeopardize your safety
  •  Refuse gifts
  •  Be rude or unhelpful if the situation warrants
  •  Run, scream, and make a scene
  •  Physically fight off unwanted advances
  •  Ask for help

What you can do to avoid problems

  •  If you have a problem or are worried about something, always tell someone you trust about it, such as your host parent, host club counselor or host club chairperson. Don't suffer in silence!
  •  Always pack your own suitcase and never carry items abroad for others.
  •  When you go out, plan what you would do and where you would go if you got lost or had a problem -- a shop, restaurant, police station or library.
  •  Before you leave your home country, make sure that you have your list of contacts both from your Sponsoring Rotary District as well as your Hosting Rotary District
  •  Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be home. Be sure to call your host parents if your plans change while you are away from home.
  •  If you are out at night in a city, stay in places with streetlights. Wherever you are, make sure that you don't get separated from your friends.
  •  If you need to use a public toilet, go with a friend.
  •  If you do get lost or separated, follow your plan -- or go to a shop or place where you will be seen by lots of people to ask directions.
  •  If someone you don't know talks to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away.
  •  Keep your host family's address and telephone number with you at all times.
  •  Always keep enough money with you to make a phone call.
  •  Always arrange for someone to pick you up; don't go home alone.
  •  Make sure you know who is coming to pick you up. Never get into a car with someone you don't know.
  •  If you are on a bus or train, and someone makes you feel uncomfortable, move to a seat near the driver.
  •  Dress and behave sensibly and responsibly
  •  Be sensitive to local codes and customs.
  •  Think things through carefully before you act and do not take unnecessary risks.

What we will do when an incident is reported (If you tell us of a Harassment and/or Abuse allegation:)

  •  We will listen attentively & assure you it was right to tell us
  •  Assure you that you are not to blame
  •  Remain calm and make sure you feel safe
  •  Encourage you to share with us what happened and who was involved
  •  Make detailed notes including date & time
  •  Explain the necessity of informing Protection Officer and assure you of confidentiality
  •  Your Country Contact will:
  •  Assure all facets of your exchange are completed
  •  Confirm that you have a copy of District Student Protection materials
  •  Assure that you receive abuse & harassment training
  •  Maintain monthly contact with you
  •  Be your advocate, counselor and listener
  •  In the case of an allegation,
  •  make sure you are safe and cared for
  •  Work with SPO and authorities as your advocate

The Host Family In-home interview will be scheduled by the local Rotary Club. It will include:

  •  Discussion of the expectations the host family would have of the student and of the Rotary Club, and what the Rotary Club expects of the host family. It is important for the host siblings to be there as well, since the hosting situation won't work if the siblings are against it.

During the home interview, we will take pictures of the exterior and interior of the home and address hosting requirements with these expectations:

  •  The exchange student can share a bedroom with a same-sex sibling, but there should be no more than three years age difference between them.
  •  The exchange student must have his/her own bed.
  •  Access to night-time bathroom facilities should not be via an adult's bedroom.
  •  Access to a bedroom or other room used by adults or people of the opposite sex should not be via the exchange student's bedroom.
  •  Privacy for washing, dressing and undressing must be provided.