Recognizing the growing threat of child abuse and its presence even among God’s own people, the 1996 General Conference adopted a resolution on “Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse in the Church” which states, “God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual and ritual abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong.” Safe Sanctuaries is the movement and initiative to fulfill this call upon us – to make our churches safe places for the young and the vulnerable and those in ministry with them.
Santuarios seguros: Prevencion del abuso infantil y juvenil en la iglesia (Spanish Edition available from Amazon)
What happens when there is a breach of this call? Here are some lessons from a church sexual abuse scandal.
Conference Safe Sanctuaries Policy – North Carolina Conference
PowerPoint Training Presentation – an orientation to the work of Safe Sanctuaries
Sample Policies – a source to help you get started writing your policy (while the language deals specifically with child abuse, consider how they may be expanded to care for youth and vulnerable adults)
Trak-1 – Source for criminal background checks for Safe Sanctuaries implementation
All churches in the NC Conference are to have a Safe Sanctuaries policy in place. Should your church need assistance with educating your church members on Safe Sanctuaries best practices, the district can send a trainer to your church to conduct the training (60min onsite session) or provide your church with the materials to conduct its own training. For more info or to schedule a training session at your church, e-mail the District Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you will be connected with the Assistant to your District Superintendent.
First Steps to a Safe Sanctuaries Policy – suggested procedure and ideas for local churches as they design and implement their own policy.
The Two-Adult Rule – simple steps for safety and protection
Traveling with Youth: Abuse Prevention Strategies – helpful tips for making trips safe for everyone
How I Came to Love Permission Slips – how to use these crucial forms for contact and medical notification of the children and youth who participate in your events
Safe Sanctuaries and Vulnerable Adults – tips for using your policies to protect adults in need of extra care and attention
Safe Sanctuary in the Nursery – tips for areas of potential concern in the nursery
Trustees Issues for Safe Sanctuaries – looks at property and insurance considerations that relate to Safe Sanctuary policies for the local church
Protecting Your Image – tips for working with church web pages and social media
Guidelines for a Response Plan – suggestions for procedures to include in your local church Safe Sanctuary Policy and training