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June 12, 2019

Creating an Abuse Response Plan in Your Church

By New Churches Team

It’s uncomfortable to think about a possible sexual abuse case happening within your church. Many of us find this situation so difficult to discuss, that many times questions go unasked and unanswered. This is such an important topic that sexual abuse prevention policies have been created to protect the children and the church body. These policies should be followed closely and reviewed regularly. Here’s how you can implement these policies within your church.

The Purpose of the Sexual Abuse Response Team

The first step in responding to sexual abuse allegations is to have a response plan. The first action to put a response plan in place is to have an emergency response team, or Sexual Abuse Response Team. This team can be made up of three people. It is suggested that your team be made up of at least one male and female and have expertise that will strategically benefit the Response Team. For example, this includes people with Social Services backgrounds, medical backgrounds, counseling backgrounds, and early childhood education background.

When an allegation of this nature occurs, it is essential that the church is immediately able to place this allegation into the hands of people with experience in reporting sexual abuse and that no one with a vested interest in “protecting the church” would be in charge of deciding whether or not an accusation is considered potentially viable.

  1. The Sexual Abuse Response Team is responsible for meeting with the minor reporting the abuse and their parents in a safe place to verify the allegation being made.
  2. The Team will advise the family and the minor reporting abuse of their counseling resources.
  3. If the allegation could possibly be true, report the abuse to law enforcement or the Department of Social Services in the county where the minor resides.
  4. Communicating with the church elders what they need to know in order to effectively provide pastoral care, discipline, and modifications to the church’s policy. The church elders are responsible for overseeing care for the victim and the victim’s family, as well as disciplining care for the perpetrator, and the general care for the congregation.
  5. The Response Team is also responsible for documenting the findings on the forms provided.

Adult-to-Minor Allegations

Adult-to-Minor cases make up about 60% of reported sexual abuse within a church context.

To read the rest of this article, and to watch the entire video training, click here for the full video and post.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.

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