How your church can take steps toward awareness and prevention.
Did you know that child sexual abuse is the number one reason churches are sued? This is a big issue in the church—and, unfortunately, an issue that is rarely discussed. When it comes to a topic like child abuse, a natural response is to believe it could never happen in your church.
Richard J. Mathews, former General Counsel for the Boy Scouts of America, cautions against this thinking. While a common initial reaction is to focus on “protecting children in [your] care from sexual victimization from external threats,” the Boy Scouts’ abuse crisis shows that it’s just as important to pay attention to those threats within your organization.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and to recognize this month, we’ve unlocked five articles (including Mathews’s) that will help your church create a child abuse prevention plan. Below is a sample of what you’ll find.
- In “Child Sexual Abuse,” attorney Richard Hammar stresses how important it is to properly vet your employees and volunteers. It can be difficult to find all the volunteers your church needs—and when you enforce background checks and training, your volunteer pool may decrease even more. After reading this article, however, you’ll see how it’s the wisest decision for your church.
- Some people may pass a background check and finish the proper training to become a volunteer, but you may still feel uneasy about letting them work with children. Is it okay to deny a “gray area” volunteer?
- What should your screening process look like when it comes to hiring an employee or recruiting new volunteers? This article will help you understand what kind of screening processes to implement at your church.
- What is a background check, exactly? What’s the cost of running one? And how often should you update your background check procedures? You’ll find the answers to these questions and more in “Answering Church Leaders’ Common Questions About Background Checks.”
National Child Abuse Prevention Month is the perfect time to make sure your church has a prevention plan that’s in place and up-to-date. Take advantage of the practical guidance offered in these free articles—and if you order our newly-revised child abuse prevention training program Reducing the Risk this month, you’ll get free shipping when you use the code rtr417.
Use these tools to get started, and then let us know how your church has implemented your prevention plan by contacting us via Facebook or Twitter.