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Safe Sanctuaries Training Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth.

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Presentation on theme: "Safe Sanctuaries Training Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Safe Sanctuaries Training Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth

2 Our Biblical Mandate But Jesus Called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” –Luke 18:16 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. –Matthew 18:5 But Jesus Called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” –Luke 18:16 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. –Matthew 18:5

3 Prayer for Children Dear God, We thank you for the gift of children to raise, for their lives to share, their minds to help mold, their bodies to nurture, and their spirits to enrich. Let us never betray our children’s trust, or dampen their hope, or discourage their dreams. Help us to enable our precious children to become all you want them to be for the journey ahead. (Adapted from a prayer by Marian Wright Edleman) Dear God, We thank you for the gift of children to raise, for their lives to share, their minds to help mold, their bodies to nurture, and their spirits to enrich. Let us never betray our children’s trust, or dampen their hope, or discourage their dreams. Help us to enable our precious children to become all you want them to be for the journey ahead. (Adapted from a prayer by Marian Wright Edleman)

4 The Subject of Child Abuse… Is a difficult and complex subject Is a difficult and complex subject Makes us feel uncomfortable Makes us feel uncomfortable Might scare away church volunteers Might scare away church volunteers Shouldn't happen in the church Shouldn't happen in the church Is painful for persons who may have been victims of child abuse Is painful for persons who may have been victims of child abuse Is a difficult and complex subject Is a difficult and complex subject Makes us feel uncomfortable Makes us feel uncomfortable Might scare away church volunteers Might scare away church volunteers Shouldn't happen in the church Shouldn't happen in the church Is painful for persons who may have been victims of child abuse Is painful for persons who may have been victims of child abuse

5 PURPOSE of TRAINING To explain that child abuse does happen in churches with devastating consequences To explain that child abuse does happen in churches with devastating consequences To define types of child abuse & increase our awareness of signs & symptoms To define types of child abuse & increase our awareness of signs & symptoms To identify areas of vulnerability within church ministries & programs To identify areas of vulnerability within church ministries & programs To outline risk reduction procedures To outline risk reduction procedures To explain that child abuse does happen in churches with devastating consequences To explain that child abuse does happen in churches with devastating consequences To define types of child abuse & increase our awareness of signs & symptoms To define types of child abuse & increase our awareness of signs & symptoms To identify areas of vulnerability within church ministries & programs To identify areas of vulnerability within church ministries & programs To outline risk reduction procedures To outline risk reduction procedures

6 Child Abuse Definition Child abuse refers to an intentional act committed by a person in a position of trust (parent, caregiver, other) which harms or threatens to harm a child’s welfare or physical/mental health.

7 Types of Abuse Physical Physical Emotional Emotional Neglect Neglect Sexual Sexual Ritual Ritual Physical Physical Emotional Emotional Neglect Neglect Sexual Sexual Ritual Ritual

8 Physical Abuse Physical abuse occurs when an adult injures a child and it is not an accident. It can include: assault assault shaking or slapping shaking or slapping burning or scalding burning or scalding kicking or strangling kicking or strangling SIGNS OF ABUSE… Physical abuse occurs when an adult injures a child and it is not an accident. It can include: assault assault shaking or slapping shaking or slapping burning or scalding burning or scalding kicking or strangling kicking or strangling SIGNS OF ABUSE…

9 Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse deeply affects a child’s self-esteem by submitting him/her to verbal assault or emotional cruelty. It can include: close confinement close confinement excessive/extreme punishment excessive/extreme punishment permitting drug/alcohol abuse permitting drug/alcohol abuse verbal humiliation verbal humiliation SIGNS OF ABUSE… Emotional abuse deeply affects a child’s self-esteem by submitting him/her to verbal assault or emotional cruelty. It can include: close confinement close confinement excessive/extreme punishment excessive/extreme punishment permitting drug/alcohol abuse permitting drug/alcohol abuse verbal humiliation verbal humiliation SIGNS OF ABUSE…

10 NeglectNeglect Neglect is failure to provide a child’s basic needs resulting in harm to the child. It is any of the following acts of negligence or maltreatment:

11 NeglectNeglect failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or medical care failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or medical care inadequate supervision abandonment inadequate supervision abandonment hazardous conditions in hazardous conditions in the home, school, or church ignoring needs for nurture/contact ignoring needs for nurture/contact SIGNS OF ABUSE… failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or medical care failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or medical care inadequate supervision abandonment inadequate supervision abandonment hazardous conditions in hazardous conditions in the home, school, or church ignoring needs for nurture/contact ignoring needs for nurture/contact SIGNS OF ABUSE…

12 Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse involves an act of a sexual nature between a child or teenager and an adult or significantly older, more powerful person who initiates that contact for the purpose of his/her own sexual arousal and/or gratification. It includes any of the following exploitive behaviors:

13 Sexual Abuse inappropriate verbal stimulation inappropriate verbal stimulation fondling, incest, or rape fondling, incest, or rape exposing a child to pornography or adult sexual activity exposing a child to pornography or adult sexual activity SIGNS OF ABUSE… inappropriate verbal stimulation inappropriate verbal stimulation fondling, incest, or rape fondling, incest, or rape exposing a child to pornography or adult sexual activity exposing a child to pornography or adult sexual activity SIGNS OF ABUSE…

14 The Scope of the Problem Less than 20% of child abuse is perpetrated by strangers Less than 20% of child abuse is perpetrated by strangers 3 million incidents of child abuse are reported each year - that is 1 incident every 10 seconds 24/7! 3 million incidents of child abuse are reported each year - that is 1 incident every 10 seconds 24/7! 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have been sexually abused by the age of 18 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have been sexually abused by the age of 18

15 Why Implement a Protection Policy? Because our church is a community of faith – a safe haven and sanctuary – where children and youth should be confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.

16 Protection Policies are for: Children/youth/vulnerable adults Children/youth/vulnerable adults Church staff and volunteers Church staff and volunteers Families Families The Church The Church Children/youth/vulnerable adults Children/youth/vulnerable adults Church staff and volunteers Church staff and volunteers Families Families The Church The Church

17 Basic Procedures Implement policy & background checks Implement policy & background checks Two-adult rule Two-adult rule Annual volunteer orientation and training Annual volunteer orientation and training 5-Years older rule & none under 18 5-Years older rule & none under 18 Windows in classroom doors/open doors Windows in classroom doors/open doors Advance notice about activities Advance notice about activities Conduct covenants for participants and leaders Conduct covenants for participants and leaders Parent & family education Parent & family education Appropriate supervision Appropriate supervision Implement policy & background checks Implement policy & background checks Two-adult rule Two-adult rule Annual volunteer orientation and training Annual volunteer orientation and training 5-Years older rule & none under 18 5-Years older rule & none under 18 Windows in classroom doors/open doors Windows in classroom doors/open doors Advance notice about activities Advance notice about activities Conduct covenants for participants and leaders Conduct covenants for participants and leaders Parent & family education Parent & family education Appropriate supervision Appropriate supervision

18 Checkpoints for Reducing Risk in Churches Develop written child protection guidelines and procedures for implementation. Enforce the policy as written. Educate the entire congregation about the contents of the policy and why it is necessary: in new member classes in new member classes during Child Abuse Prevention during Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) Month (April) in ministry info packets in ministry info packets Develop written child protection guidelines and procedures for implementation. Enforce the policy as written. Educate the entire congregation about the contents of the policy and why it is necessary: in new member classes in new member classes during Child Abuse Prevention during Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) Month (April) in ministry info packets in ministry info packets

19 Checkpoints for Reducing Risk in Churches Use 2 adult rule: two unrelated adults present at all times when working with children or youth. ALSO: “floaters” in hallways “floaters” in hallways in line of vision in line of vision open doors or windows in doors open doors or windows in doors driving (never one adult/one minor) driving (never one adult/one minor) sufficient ratios sufficient ratios Cancel if no other option Cancel if no other option Use 2 adult rule: two unrelated adults present at all times when working with children or youth. ALSO: “floaters” in hallways “floaters” in hallways in line of vision in line of vision open doors or windows in doors open doors or windows in doors driving (never one adult/one minor) driving (never one adult/one minor) sufficient ratios sufficient ratios Cancel if no other option Cancel if no other option

20 Checkpoints for Reducing Risk in Churches Employ 6 month rule of church membership as a requirement to work with minors. discourages pedophiles who benefit from the desperate need for volunteers discourages pedophiles who benefit from the desperate need for volunteers alternative: prospective leaders can “intern” for 6 months under supervision of 2 other adults alternative: prospective leaders can “intern” for 6 months under supervision of 2 other adults Employ 6 month rule of church membership as a requirement to work with minors. discourages pedophiles who benefit from the desperate need for volunteers discourages pedophiles who benefit from the desperate need for volunteers alternative: prospective leaders can “intern” for 6 months under supervision of 2 other adults alternative: prospective leaders can “intern” for 6 months under supervision of 2 other adults

21 Checkpoints for Reducing Risk in Churches Establish guidelines for screening all church staff and volunteers. conduct criminal/sex offender background checks conduct criminal/sex offender background checks conduct Central Registry checks conduct Central Registry checks require a sworn disclosure statement from volunteers require a sworn disclosure statement from volunteers require references & interviews require references & interviews systematic supervision systematic supervision See details at Establish guidelines for screening all church staff and volunteers. conduct criminal/sex offender background checks conduct criminal/sex offender background checks conduct Central Registry checks conduct Central Registry checks require a sworn disclosure statement from volunteers require a sworn disclosure statement from volunteers require references & interviews require references & interviews systematic supervision systematic supervision See details at

22 Special Considerations with Youth Appropriate Boundaries Physical Physical Verbal Verbal Emotional Emotional Counseling Counseling CyberSafety CyberSafety Social Networking & Texting Social Networking & Texting Appropriate Boundaries Physical Physical Verbal Verbal Emotional Emotional Counseling Counseling CyberSafety CyberSafety Social Networking & Texting Social Networking & Texting

23 What to Do if You Suspect Abuse at Church or Home It’s your responsibility to report child abuse if you suspect it It’s your responsibility to report child abuse if you suspect it You can call Child Protective Services & report anonymously or ask questions about your observations You can call Child Protective Services & report anonymously or ask questions about your observations Keep records as you observe unusual behavior or symptoms Keep records as you observe unusual behavior or symptoms Treat any abuse seriously; do not ignore it assuming it will go away Treat any abuse seriously; do not ignore it assuming it will go away It’s your responsibility to report child abuse if you suspect it It’s your responsibility to report child abuse if you suspect it You can call Child Protective Services & report anonymously or ask questions about your observations You can call Child Protective Services & report anonymously or ask questions about your observations Keep records as you observe unusual behavior or symptoms Keep records as you observe unusual behavior or symptoms Treat any abuse seriously; do not ignore it assuming it will go away Treat any abuse seriously; do not ignore it assuming it will go away

24 What to Do if You Suspect Abuse at Church or Home Report to the proper authorities as suggested by your church policy… Report to the proper authorities as suggested by your church policy… Report the allegation to your pastor and District Superintendent Report the allegation to your pastor and District Superintendent Report the allegation to the Department of Social Services Report the allegation to the Department of Social Services Report the allegation to your insurance carrier and attorney Report the allegation to your insurance carrier and attorney Report to the proper authorities as suggested by your church policy… Report to the proper authorities as suggested by your church policy… Report the allegation to your pastor and District Superintendent Report the allegation to your pastor and District Superintendent Report the allegation to the Department of Social Services Report the allegation to the Department of Social Services Report the allegation to your insurance carrier and attorney Report the allegation to your insurance carrier and attorney

25 What to Do if You Suspect Abuse at Church or Home Document all procedures in handling the allegation but do NOT try to investigate yourself Document all procedures in handling the allegation but do NOT try to investigate yourself Don’t confront the accused, but relieve him/her of all duties/contact with children until the investigation is complete Don’t confront the accused, but relieve him/her of all duties/contact with children until the investigation is complete Observe strict confidentiality about both the victim and alleged perpetrator Observe strict confidentiality about both the victim and alleged perpetrator Document all procedures in handling the allegation but do NOT try to investigate yourself Document all procedures in handling the allegation but do NOT try to investigate yourself Don’t confront the accused, but relieve him/her of all duties/contact with children until the investigation is complete Don’t confront the accused, but relieve him/her of all duties/contact with children until the investigation is complete Observe strict confidentiality about both the victim and alleged perpetrator Observe strict confidentiality about both the victim and alleged perpetrator

26 ResourcesResources Sample Policies (Protection, CyberSafety, Social Networking, Cell Phones & Personal Media Devises, Conduct Covenants) Sample Policies (Protection, CyberSafety, Social Networking, Cell Phones & Personal Media Devises, Conduct Covenants) Sample Forms (Photo Release, Medical Release, Sworn Disclosure) Sample Forms (Photo Release, Medical Release, Sworn Disclosure) Congregational Response Plan Congregational Response Plan Training Models Training Models (See links on Sample Policies (Protection, CyberSafety, Social Networking, Cell Phones & Personal Media Devises, Conduct Covenants) Sample Policies (Protection, CyberSafety, Social Networking, Cell Phones & Personal Media Devises, Conduct Covenants) Sample Forms (Photo Release, Medical Release, Sworn Disclosure) Sample Forms (Photo Release, Medical Release, Sworn Disclosure) Congregational Response Plan Congregational Response Plan Training Models Training Models (See links on


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