Nov 20, 2015

Lower the Risk of Abuse in Your Ministry with These Guidelines

We recently attended a seminar led by attorney Greg Love.  Greg is the founder and director of  Ministrysafe.com.   His firm specializes in helping churches protect their children against sexual predators and abuse.

Here are some notes from the seminar that can help protect the children in your ministry.
  • Sexual abuse is any tricked, forced, manipulated or coerced sexual activity for the pleasure of the abuser.  It can be physical, verbal or visual.  Touch is not required.
  • Abuse is a significant problem.
    • 60 million abuse survivors in the U.S.
    • 1 in 4 females have been abused
    • 1 in 6 males have been abused 
    • 66% do not tell anyone until adulthood...if ever
  • The church is on the front line.
  • Major breakdown is when churches fail to recognize the behaviors of a predator, fail to communicate to leadership and fail to report to authorities.
  • Policies help protect the children.
  • If there is an allegation, the church is required to provide a roster of all persons (staff, volunteers and parents) who may have been in contact with the alleged abuser.
  •  Profile of an abuser:
    • has no visual profile - the old "stranger danger" public awareness ads gave a wrong perception
    • 90% of victims know and trust their abuser
    • many abusers are preferential abusers - preferring a specific age and gender range
    • average male abuser begins victimizing at age 13-14
    • abusers appear helpful, trustworthy, responsible, skilled caregiver, creates this percetion to lower barriers or questions and to gain access 
    • selects a target who is on the fringe, in need, unconnected, looking for someone to trust, from a broken family - grooms the victim
    • abuser normally does a "barrier test" through social media and texting
    • abuser finds way s to keep the victim quiet through secrecy, shame, embarrassment and threats
  • Your prevention should include:
    • grooming process information
    • policies and procedures
    • oversight
    • awareness training
    • know how to interview potential volunteers and ask questions that will help you identify abusers
  • Churches are mandatory reporters of abuse.  When in doubt, report. 
For more information and helpful abuse prevention tools from MinistrySafe, check out this link.  Free Video Training is available for:
  • 5 Part Safety System
  • Sexual Abuse Awareness Training
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Appropriate background checks
  • Systems for monitoring and oversight.

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