Preventing Child Sexual Abuse In Ministry

Navigating issues related to child sexual abuse is a challenge and requires instruction.  Unfortunately, there are many issues to navigate. Ministry leaders need good information to  prevent sexual abuse. Pastors and counselors need good information to provide healing and  comfort to child victims and adult survivors. Administrators need good information to correctly  handle the business angles related to sexual abuse risk and risk mitigation. Parents need good  information to shepherd the children entrusted to their care. 

A library of Video Instruction can also be viewed or sampled.  

Understanding Sexual Abuse Risk 

Navigating child sexual abuse issues starts with an understanding of the Preferential Offender, the ‘grooming process’ and how the risk unfolds in ministry contexts. 

Child Sexual Abuse in Ministry Contexts – Understanding the Risk

Peer-to-Peer Child Sexual Abuse Risk  

Protecting children from other children requires an understanding of Peer Sexual Abuse,  imbalances of power, where the risk is most likely to occur and steps to address it.
Peer-to-Peer Child Sexual Abuse Risk – Protecting Children from Other Children

Preventing Sexual Abuse Risk 

Preventing child sexual abuse risk in ministry contexts begins with an understanding of the risk;  the next step is understanding and implementing an Effective Safety System.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse – An Effective Safety System

MinistrySafe membership provides access to the necessary Safety System elements and a Control  Panel to manage each element: training, screening, criminal background checks, policies and  more; view a Video Demo

Effective Screening – Keeping the Wolf Out of the Sheep Pen 

Screening is a critical element of an Effective Safety System, but it is an element where most  ministries struggle. Ministry leaders must understand how each element of a screening effort  (application, reference check, interview) play a role in identifying high-risk indicators related to  a Preferential Offender. 

Effective Screening – Keeping the Wolf Out of the Sheep Pen

Criminal Background Checks – Not a Silver Bullet 

Most ministries are performing criminal background checks, but lack an understanding of this  important resource. Good instruction is necessary to better understand the limitations of a  background check (nature of sexual abuse offenses), state and federal law that limit information  that can be provided, and best practices on choosing a search and how often to refresh.
Criminal Background Checks – Not a Silver Bullet!

Reporting Abuse – The Church’s Blindspot 

Ministry leaders must better understand the nature of sexual abuse allegations and state law  reporting requirements. 

Reporting Abuse – The Church’s Blindspot

Correctly Responding to an Abuse Allegation 

It is not a matter of ‘if’ … it is a matter of ‘when’. It is critical that ministry leaders understand  how to correctly respond to a sexual abuse allegation – whether the allegation is recent or  historical. 

Responding to an Allegation – How to Navigate a Sexual Abuse Crisis at Your Church

False Allegations – An Uncommon Occurrence 

Many ministry leaders fail to report abuse under the mistaken notion that doing so would create  an injustice to the accused – this must be corrected. Instruction is necessary regarding the  relevant statistics related to allegations, and the legal balancing in favor of child sexual abuse  reporting. 

False Allegations – An Uncommon Occurrence

Step-by-Step Guide to Reporting 

Most ministry leaders do know how or to whom to make a report; learning how to make a report  usually only happens when a crisis arises. This is not the time to ‘figure it out’. Ministry leaders  must (1) understand state reporting requirements; (2) create a reporting plan before a crisis; and  (3) communicate that plan to all ministry stakeholders. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

MinistrySafe is an organization led by sexual abuse attorneys Gregory Love and Kimberlee  Norris, who have over 60 years combined experience addressing sexual abuse matters. Through  MinistrySafe, Love and Norris serve ministries of all sizes and denominations, including most  state Baptist Conventions, NAMB, GuideStone, LifeWay and most of the Baptist seminaries.  Love and Norris teach the graduate-level course Preventing Sexual Abuse in Ministry Contexts as  Visiting Faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. 

In an effort to provide the ‘good information’ for the variety of ministry needs, Love and Norris  have been serving as Guest Editors of Church Executive Magazine, creating a series of articles  addressing the variety of informational needs.