Parents place a great deal of trust in church leaders and staff to keep their children safe from abuse in many different settings. It’s a huge responsibility that church personnel can’t take lightly. Too many have found out the hard way that it’s not good enough to assume, “That would never happen here.” Leaders and staff need to know what steps to take to minimize risk and respond to allegations or reports of abuse.
- Up to one in three girls and one in seven boys will become victims of sexual abuse according to Briere and Eliot. (cited here – http://www.nsopr.gov/en/Education/FactsMythsStatistics) Briere, J., and D. M. Eliot, “Prevalence and Psychological Sequence of Self-Reported Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse in General Population.” Child Abuse & Neglect, 2003, Vol. 27, Issue 10, pp. 1205–1222.
- While background checks are a great precaution when hiring staff, these checks won’t catch a great majority of those who are a risk to children. (http://blog.ministrysafe.com/sexual-abuse-fire-drill, also linked to below)
We found some resources that we thought you might find useful as you consider keeping children safe in your church environment and activities.
MinistrySafe is a program launched by husband and wife Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris. They’re both attorneys who specialize in cases of child abuse. They’re blog post ‘Sexual Abuse Fire Drill’ could be a helpful guide for ministries to make sure they have a plan in place if there is ever a suspicion, allegation or report of abuse.
The Christian Reformed Church has a denominational ministry called Safe Church; follow the link to see if they have any resources you might find helpful.