April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Is your ministry safe?
Consider these facts:
***Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving over 6 million children.
***The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations—losing on average between 4 and 7 children every day due to child abuse and neglect.
***More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrators in some way.
To keep kids safe in your ministry, follow these three steps for child abuse prevention:
1. Conduct Background Checks – A background check is still the best source for uncovering information that the courts tell us is “due diligence” for church leaders to know.
2. Create Awareness – The GuideOne Center for Risk Management suggests forming a safety and security team that will serve to oversee all risk management efforts, develop proper policies and procedures, and make sure they are implemented by the church staff, volunteers, and congregation leaders.
3. Train for Safety – The best method for preventing child abuse can be summed up in three words: Train, Train, Train. Staff training should include appropriate touch, discipline standards, and how to recognize the signs of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
While we can’t wrap a security blanket around every child and every program—we can take steps to achieve a higher level of safety. Perhaps King David expressed it best when he said, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” (Psalm 37:3).
Download your free copy of Next Level Safety for complete information on preventing child abuse at your church.
[Editor’s Note: April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities. Learn more on the National Child Abuse Prevention Month website. https://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/]