Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan
Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in the Church Reduce risks by improving selection, supervision, and education.
From Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
No church is immune to the problem of child sexual assault, regardless of size, location, or denomination. Child sexual predators exist, and they’re always looking for opportunities to interact with children. They may volunteer to work with children in your nursery, Sunday school, or youth program. How are you going to manage this risk? Strengthen these areas within your ministry.
Use the Six-Month Rule Don’t give any volunteer worker the opportunity to be involved in nursery, children’s or youth work until he or she has been associated with your church for at least six months.
Screen All Workers • Investigating prior church membership and volunteer work.
• Check references.
• Develop an application form and have your attorney review and modify it.
Use the Two-Adult Rule On or off premises, always have at least two adults supervising each room, vehicle, or other enclosed space—even if only one or two children need care.
Other Preventive Measures • Discourage the use of teenagers as nursery workers.
• Increase supervisors for large groups
• Prohibit situations in which one adult is alone with children in changing areas or restrooms.
• Use a “claim check” procedure so that children are released only to a parent, guardian, or other authorized person presenting the “check.”
• Don’t permit participation in off-premise events, especially when they involve overnight stays, unless an adequate number of adult workers will be present.
A good way to educate your church employees and volunteer children or youth workers is to use Reduc- ing the Risk, a turnkey training and implementation for a child sex abuse awareness program.
• Become familiar with state and federal laws dealing with child abuse so you know how to comply with them.
• Train your staff to watch for and identify inappropriate behavior and to report such conduct.
• All workers should be trained to prevent situations in which an individual attempts to isolate himself with one or more youths.
Representatives from various state and federal agencies are available to provide information and may be willing to assist you in your worker education program. A good place to start may be the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families.
• What are the benefits of adopting a six-month rule in our church?
• Do we currently do extensive screening and background checks for new volunteers and employees? In what areas can we expand our safety procedures?
• What can we do to become more familiar with the state and federal laws dealing with child sexual abuse? n
Christianity Today | ChurchLawAndTax.com
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