PREVENTION IN CHURCHES AND FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS
Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes a child … welcomes me." Our Christian faith calls us to offer teaching, kindness, and protection for children. Tragically, churches have not always been safe places for kids. Child sexual abuse, physical abuse, exploitation, and ritual abuse occur in churches, large and small, rural, and urban.
It's hard to imagine, but it happens everywhere. We don't like to think that any person in the Sunday school, youth ministry, children's ministry, or any other part of the church would harm a child. But it is THAT belief that attracts the perpetrator to your church. Also, churches provide opportunities for close contact and for close personal relationships with children. This is wonderful for healthy adults, but for an abuser, this is just the place where he will easily find his next victim or victims.
Child sex offenders often disguise themselves as harmless and caring people. They usually place themselves in a leadership role. Most importantly, these predators have the ability to create a sense of trust with both the child and their parents and are crafty at luring children into situations that may allow the offender to abuse the child.
You can help put an end to child sexual abuse by implementing a comprehensive child protection program and training your staff, childcare workers, and adult volunteers that includes Safeguard from Abuse Awareness Training.
As a church or a faith-based organization, you have the unique opportunity to set a new standard within your community. Who better than you to make the commitment to raise awareness of child abuse. You can be a leader to your community as well as a leader among other faith-based organizations by setting a higher standard and showing that you will do whatever it takes to keep children safe when they are with you. Another aspect to consider is that clergy, in most states, are considered Mandatory or Mandated Reporters.