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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Counseling—In General

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-12.1
Key point 10-12.1. Churches can reduce the risk of liability associated with pastoral or lay counseling by adopting risk management policies and procedures.

Churches can implement a number of risk management strategies to reduce the risk of liability associated with pastoral or lay counseling. These include the following:

1. Reducing the Risk of Sexual Misconduct and False Accusations

Churches have adopted a number of precautions to reduce the risk of sexual misconduct by pastoral and lay counselors. These precautions also reduce the risk associated with false accusations. Consider the following:

(1) The "third person" rule

One effective way to deal with these risks is to adopt a policy prohibiting any male minister or counselor on staff from counseling ...

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