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1 Safe Sanctuaries Policies and Procedures for the Prevention of Abuse.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Safe Sanctuaries Policies and Procedures for the Prevention of Abuse."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Safe Sanctuaries Policies and Procedures for the Prevention of Abuse

2 2 How long has Safe Sanctuaries been around? The short answer … 1996 Since 1996 there has been a push to encourage every church to have a Safe Sanctuaries policy and procedure. The United Methodist Church is the leader across all denominations in Safe Sanctuaries. Other churches are coming to The UMC for policies and procedures as well as training

3 3 Why do all churches need a policy? If every church has a policy and procedures that will protect their children, youth, and vulnerable adults then the church will be protected. Each church needs to honor their children, youth, and vulnerable adults enough to protect them. You are protecting them from bodily harm, emotional damage, and spiritual destruction.

4 4 Does abuse really happen in the church? Yes, abuse really does happen in the church. Abuse happens in churches of all sizes and in all areas. We can help prevent most of the abuse that happens in a church with a set of procedures. We will not eliminate 100 % of abuse, but by having procedures in place within a local congregation, predators will be deterred.

5 5 What are children, youth, and adults? Adults: Persons over 30 years of Age Vulnerable adult means any person 18 years of age or older identified by a caregiver, staff person in charge or him/herself as an individual unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or exploitation due to diagnosed diminished physical, mental or emotional capacities. Young Adults- Persons between 18 and 30 years of age Youth- 12 to 18 Children- Birth to 12

6 6 Definition of Abuse Definitions of Abuse: Physical abuse – abuse in which a person deliberately and intentionally causes bodily harm to a child. Emotional abuse – abuse in which a person exposes a child to spoken and/or unspoken violence or emotional cruelty. Neglect – abuse in which a person endangers a childs health, safety, or welfare through negligence. Sexual abuse – abuse in which sexual contact between a child and an adult (or another older and more powerful youth) occurs. Ritual abuse – abuse in which physical, sexual, or psychological violations of a child are inflicted regularly, intentionally, and in a stylized way by a person or persons responsible for the childs welfare. Abuse of vulnerable adults – ritual, emotional, or sexual abuse of any person over 18 years of age with physical, mental and/or developmental disabilities.

7 7 What does a Safe Sanctuaries Policy and Procedures involve? At least 2 adults who are not related When it is impossible to staff with two non-related adults, there must be an additional adult serving as a floater with visual and physical access to all areas. Windows in the doors of classrooms or open doors No child left alone with just 1 adult No authority person younger than 18 years of age Sign in and sign out procedures for children so you know that the right adult has the child

8 8 Safe Sanctuaries Aiming at meeting ratio requirements for the state – but beginning with 2 adults Adults should not be sleeping in rooms with children when traveling – if must sleep in same room not sharing a bed with a child or youth There should be 2 adults in vehicle when transporting children and youth when possible Understanding personal space boundaries and not invading the childs or youths space

9 9 Safe Sanctuaries 3 month rule for new attenders – Members should be active for 3 months within the congregation before volunteering with children, youth, or vulnerable adults Volunteers should be at least 4 years older than the age group they are working with Checking references for both volunteers and new hire employees Doing a background check on those who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults either as a volunteer or a hired capacity

10 10 Safe Sanctuaries Training in what is abuse and how to report abuse Parental/Guardian authorization must be obtained for photographs or attending off site activities

11 11 Safe Sanctuaries Advanced notice for times to pick children up must be given to ensure staff (paid or volunteer) are not left alone with a child/youth. Two adult leaders should remain until all children are picked up Bi-Annual Safe Sanctuary training for new staff, volunteers, or anyone involved with childrens/youth program. All volunteers will sing a Participation Covenant within their respective ministry area for Safe Sanctuary except preschool employees (included in their hiring process

12 12 Safe Sanctuaries Classrooms or child care rooms should be open to visitation at any time without prior notice by staff, parents, or other volunteers. Sign-in and sign-out procedures should be in place for all ministries for and with children in the local church.

13 13 Safe Sanctuaries Overnight events include summer camps, retreats, mission trips, lock-ins, or any event that extends through the evening. The adults staying with the young people must always be the same gender as the young people. The adults must never share a bed with a young person and should not be alone in the room with a young person at any time. Grades 1-3 – 1 adult to 8 children Grades 4-8 – 1 adult to 10 children Grades 9-12 – 1 adult to 12 youth

14 14 Safe Sanctuaries A hotel should be selected that that has rooms opening to the interior (i.e. closed hallway) of the building. Where possible, select adjoining rooms on a single hallway. When two adults cannot be assigned to a room housing youth, the youth should be roomed separately from the adults. If adjoining rooms are available with doors that can be left in the open position, a single adult in each of the adjoining rooms is acceptable. An adult should not share a bed with a young person. Where adults need to be assigned to separate rooms, it is recommended that one adult room be located between every two youth rooms on the hall. Adults should develop a rotating schedule allowing for the hallways to be monitored throughout the night. If room checks are needed, they should involve two adults of the same gender as the room residents.

15 15 Safe Sanctuaries Counseling At any counseling session with children, youth, or adults of the opposite gender, any non- windowed door of the room used should remain open for the entire session. Ideally, the session will be conducted at a time when others are nearby, even if they are not within listening distance. A counseling session should never be held in secret, even if the person being counseled makes that request. Whenever someone seeks counseling, it is important to determine in the initial meeting if the counselor is actually qualified to address the needs effectively. If not, the person should be referred to another counselor.

16 16 Safe Sanctuaries Interpersonal boundaries Adult workers with youth and children must be attentive to: Appropriate dress codes Appropriate use of language Appropriate demonstrations of affection and encouragement. (i.e. an adult leader should never initiate a hug and should always be the one to end the hug.) Home visitation When visiting a young person in their home, the two non-related adult rule still applies. If a young person drops by the home of an adult volunteer or staff person, the visit should be conducted in the front yard or moved to a local restaurant. Educating young people of these requirements before they visit is most beneficial.

17 17 Safe Sanctuaries Sexual Relations: Any romantic or sexualized relationship between a youth/child and an employee or volunteer over the age of 18 is strictly prohibited. Internet Usage: Internet usage is a common form of communication, especially with young adults and youth. Youth workers are asked to be prudent and use discretion when using this technology. Email identities, social media pages, etc. should be held in confidence and not given out without written permission of the parents.

18 18 Background Checks, OH MY!! Why should we have one?????

19 19 Background Checks, OH MY!! Background checks are needed for adults volunteering with children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Background checks allow us to know who is working with our children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Background checks also deter predators.

20 20 Still not convinced? A Safe Sanctuary policy and procedure helps in case there is an incident by: One you know what to do Two you have done due diligence to protect the children, youth, and vulnerable adults You have a higher chance of not being found at fault in a law suit

21 21 Whats Next? Complete the Background Check Application Review this slide presentation and Complete the accompanying examination on Safe Sanctuaries Return the exam to the church office Always be aware of potential situations and help avoid them before there is a problem Contact the pastor or any member of the administrative counsel with questions Church office: 850-932-8002

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