“A volunteer from the church was arrested today for sexual assault on a 14-year old girl.”
It took me a minute to process my husband’s words. Unfortunately, a few minutes later I was reading the newspaper article about the incident and the circumstances that led to his arrest. While the alleged abuse did not happen on church property or during a church function, it is apparent that the relationship between the accused and the victim’s family began at church.
This situation reaffirms the fact that abuse can–and does–happen everywhere! Our pastor spoke at church on Sunday, giving the church family the opportunity to process the situation together. I can only imagine that this was one of the hardest things he’s had to do in a while.
It got me thinking, how do churches know what to do in this sort of a situation? A few months back, I shared about the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention organization. They have great information and training that show churches how to respond and what can be done to prevent possible abuse.
Here are the seven steps they give that will minimize the risk and help us protect the kids in our homes and ministries:
* Learn the Facts
* Minimize Opportunity
* Talk About It
* Stay Alert
* Make a Plan
* Act on Suspicions
* Get Involved
This is a great place to start. Working work through these steps will help reduce the risk of this sort of abuse ever happening in our own churches. It takes a concerted, united effort to do this. But we can’t make any more excuses.
Does your screening process need updating? Call us today at 1-800-267-9040 and let us help you protect the children in your church.