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Safe Sanctuaries


Sexual Abuse - Sexual contact between child and adult, such as fondling, ... Up to 88% of child sexual abuse is never reported ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Safe Sanctuaries

  • Safe Sanctuaries
  • Nebraska Annual Conference
  • 2009
  • Policy and Procedures
  • for
  • The Local Church
  • Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, Esq.
  • C. Irene Howard, Esq.
  • United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust

Why Do We Need an Abuse Policy?
  • Children in our care need to be safe
  • We have a biblical command
  • General Conference Resolution
  • To protect staff and volunteers against false
    abuse allegations

Risk Reduction Requirements
  • Child safety first
  • Support of staff and volunteers from false abuse
  • Prevent loss of positive church reputation
  • Prevent loss of in victim judgments and legal

False Allegation
From Predators
Ministry Protection
Statement of Covenant
  • We will -
  • Screen all staff and volunteers
  • Establish operating procedures
  • Train all staff and volunteers
  • Have a reporting strategy


Recruiting, Screening, Training
  • All staff and volunteers wishing to work with
    children or youth must
  • Fill out an application
  • Provide personal references
  • Give permission to run a professional background
  • Attend Safe Sanctuaries Training

Church Staff Responsibilities
  • Provide application and reference forms
  • Make sure resulting information is kept strictly
  • Conduct Safe Sanctuaries Training
  • Supervise staff and volunteers to assure
    procedures are being followed
  • Review policy and procedures annually

Training Components
  • Points covered
  • Child Abuse it does happen
  • Types and signs of abuse
  • How to report accidents, incidents or suspected
  • Procedures to protect children, youth and those
    who work with them

Child Abuse Statistics
  • 3 million cases of child abuse reported each
  • 8,219 per day
  • 342 per hour
  • Nearly 6 per minute
  • 1 every 10 seconds
  • Source National Center for Child Abuse and

Estimated Rates of Sexual Abuse
By age 18 1 in every 3 girls 1 in every 7 boys
are sexually abused (numbers are
underestimated since many are reluctant to
report) Source National Center for Child Abuse
and Neglect
Deaths per Year
  • 2,000 deaths each year are attributed
  • to abuse and/or neglect
  • Source National Committee for the Prevention of
    Child Abuse in the United States of America

  • Types and Signs
  • of Child Abuse

Types and Signs of Child Abuse
  • Physical Abuse - Deliberate or intentional bodily
    harm, non-accidental
  • Hostility and aggression towards others
  • Destructive behavior toward self, others
    and/or property
  • Unexplainable fractures or bruises
  • Fearfulness of parents and/or other adults
  • Burns, facial injuries, repeated bruises

Emotional Abuse - Spoken and/or unspoken violence
or emotional cruelty Depression and/or
withdrawal Lack of self esteem Threatens or
attempts suicide Speech and/or eating
disorders Extreme passive/aggressive
behavior Excessively seeks adult approval
Indicators of Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse - Sexual contact between child and
    adult, such as fondling, intercourse, incest,
    pornographic exploitation or exposure
  • Advanced sexual knowledge and/or behavior
  • Depression
  • Promiscuous behavior
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • Bruising/bleeding in vaginal or anal areas
  • Frequent headaches, extreme fatigue
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Neglect Ritual Abuse
  • Neglect - Endangering a childs health, safety,
    or welfare
  • Failure to thrive
  • Inappropriate dress for climate
  • Chronic hunger
  • Depression
  • Untreated medical conditions
  • Poor hygiene

Ritual Abuse - Regular, intentional physical,
sexual or psychological violations of a child to
appeal to a higher authority or power
Disruptions of memory Unexplained mistrust
and mood swings Flashbacks Fear of Dark
Nightmares or sleep disorders Any of the
sexual abuse symptoms
Signs Abuse Occurred at Church
  • Unusual anxiety about going to a church activity
  • Reluctance to participate in activities that were
    previously enjoyed
  • Comments that one does not want to be alone with
    a given person
  • Nightmares of a frightening experience with staff
    or volunteer
  • Unexplained hostility toward staff or volunteer

Registered Sex Offenders They are in Your
Local Geographic Area
  • Complete a professional background screen
  • Search state specific sex offender website
  • Search

Registry Statistics
  • Most children who are or will be sexually abused
    will not be victims of someone on the sex
    offender registry
  • Up to 88 of child sexual abuse is never reported
  • 265,000 convicted sex offenders represents less
    than 10 of all sex offenders living in
    communities nationwide
  • From Stop It Now! Georgia, Prevent Child Abuse
    (PCA) Georgia

Types of Molesters
  • Preferential
  • Prefers sexual activity with children and seeks
    them out
  • Situational
  • Takes advantage of a situation to sexually abuse

Profile of a Child Molester
  • Known to the child 80 of the time
  • Generally between 20-30 years of age
  • 20 abuse before age 18
  • Often married with children
  • 1 in 4 offenders is a member of the family or
    one entrusted with care
  • of the child
  • About half are friends of child or family
  • 2 out of 3 who are caught and punished will
    abuse again

The Impact on Church Victims
The reputation of an innocent person is damaged
along with the churchs when a false allegation
is made
If a child is abused in the church, his or her
faith and relationship with God are forever
  • What Do We Report?
  • Know Your State Law

Reporting Procedures
  • Accidents when an unintentional act occurs and
    a child is hurt
  • Incident when an action is observed that does
    not require reporting to DFCS, but does require
  • Suspected Abuse when one sees, has been told
    of, or suspects child has been abused in some way
  • See ministry area staff person or church website
    for appropriate forms

State Reporting Example Georgia Law
  • The purpose is to provide protection of children
    whose health and welfare are adversely affected
    and further threatened by the conduct of those
    responsible for their care and protection.
  • Mandated reporters include child service
    organization personnel. Failure to report is a
  • Anyone making a report in good faith is immune
    from any civil or criminal liability.

How a Report is Made...
Reporting should be confidential in order to
protect reputations
General Operating Procedures
  • The following procedures pertain
  • to all ministries involving
  • children and youth

Church Membership Criteria
6 Month Rule for Volunteers Anyone working with
persons under age 18 should have been a church
member for 6 months prior to service OR Provide
name of staff in former church to contact, or Be
assigned to a position supervised by a cleared
person, or Be given a non-child contact task
until 6 month period is satisfied
Two Adult Rule
  • Basically, this means
  • If it can be avoided, never be alone with a
  • If working with a group and second person is
    unavailable, work with the door open, or in an
    area that is observable by others

Windowed and Open Doors
  • Doors in the nursery, childrens and Youth areas
    have doors with windows
  • Nursery has half doors
  • Preschool area has windows in the walls
  • Rooms occupied by children and youth need to be
    observable from outside the room

Appropriate Touch
  • Good touch, Bad touch can we touch at all
  • Never be the first to hug, always be the first to
    let go
  • Perfect the side-hug

Should you hold a child on your lap?
As long as it is age- appropriate and happens in
an open area
Age Requirements
  • In order to be in charge of the group, the
    leader must be at least 18 years of age
  • Workers should be at least 5 years older than the
    group being supervised

Identify Yourself
  • Wear a nametag

Your Name Here Church Name United Methodist
Or identifying clothing Coach shirt,
Uniform shirt, jacket or apron
Security Bracelets
The parent/guardian for each child gets a twin
band bracelet at the entry door. One band goes
on child, the other one is kept by parent or
Nursery and Childrens Area Sign-In
Nursery and Childrens Area Check-Out
Security Monitors are stationed outside
childrens areas on Sunday Mornings
Only persons with bands or proper ID are allowed
At exit doors, Monitors match, then remove parent
and child numbered bands
Be Watchful!
  • Because bands are matched and removed at exit
    doors, no child wearing a wristband should be
    outside nursery or preschool areas
  • Return any unaccompanied banded child to staff
    at the nearest childrens area

Releasing Children or Youth
  • Procedures for releasing older children vary,
    depending on the program and age of child or
  • 1st 2nd graders - Parents pick up
  • 3rd-5th graders - Released with written
  • Mid-school and High Schoolers
  • UMYF, Sunday School, Mid-Week observe to see
    with whom they leave.
  • Leaders, pay attention!

  • Basics -
  • Use positive words
  • Establish rules and expectations
  • When necessary, tell parents the good, the bad,
    then the good (Sandwich Rule Good PR)
  • Involve church staff or volunteer when necessary
  • Plan strategy when child threatens self or others

Program Information
  • Parents should receive all program details
  • Start and stop times
  • Location
  • Basic program content
  • Cost
  • Lodging information, if off-site

Ministry Specific Procedures
Each ministry has age and activity specific
procedures All staff and volunteers should be
given that information prior to working in that
ministry Procedures include what to do in case of
illness or emergency
Staff should change diapers Nursery doors are
locked at all times for highest security Only
one parent may enter to avoid congestion in
narrow hallways Nursery staff is proud to give
tours, but, for security reasons, please dont
ask to tour during high traffic times
The Potty Policy
  • Diapering -
  • Another adult present
  • Done in visible area
  • Toddlers and Preschoolers -
  • Adult supervises, but allows child independence
  • Potty accidents requiring help
  • Open door
  • 2 adults
  • Inform parent

Restroom with Bigger Kids
  • Do not allow child to go to restroom alone
  • Take at least 2 children
  • Tell other adult (leave classroom door open)
  • Check restroom before kids go in
  • Do not assist child unless there is an emergency

Ministries Involving Older Children and Youth
  • Off Site Trips
  • Before departure -
  • Give and get all contact info to and from parent
  • Provide adequate supervision ratios
  • Same gender adultChild or Youth
  • 15 for elementary age
  • 15-7 for 6th-8th grade youth
  • 16-8 for 9th -12th grade youth
  • Get written or documented oral parent/guardian
  • Have at least 2 children/youth or an additional
    adult ride in personal vehicles

  • In a hotel setting -
  • No adult shares a bed with a child
  • Adult sleeps in separate room with creative
  • In a bunkroom setting
  • At least 2 same gender adults may sleep in the
    large room with multiple bunk beds

Youth Ministry
  • Personal relationships are a must
  • When meeting with a youth one-on-one
  • meet in a busy place
  • meet in the corner of a busy room
  • meet with the door open

Transportation and Youth
  • Never let them drive from church to off-site
  • Either plan to meet at the location or transport
    with adult drivers
  • Have at least 2 adults or 2 youth when driving
    personal vehicles

Leisure Ministries
  • Situation
  • Hundreds of adults and youth are needed every
    year to lead team / individual sports and sports
  • Problem
  • Church staff recruits coaches from a population
    about whom we may have no personal knowledge and
  • Solution
  • Non-member coaches must comply with the 6-month
    rule by providing home church staff contact as a
    reference or by coaching with a Safe Sanctuary
    Certified person present

More Leisure Ministries
  • Situation
  • Our facility is open and many activities often
    take place at the same time
  • There are often lots of people in the building
    for other programs
  • People come to the church on a regular basis
    seeking monetary assistance
  • Problem
  • We cannot be sure all who are present are safe
    to be with children

  • For activities inside the building -
  • Remember that our facility is open and is used by
    other programs when leisure programs are in
  • Remember that restroom and water breaks must be
    supervised for the childrens protection
  • Remember to count players often so you have the
    same number of players you started with

More Solutions
  • For activities on the field -
  • Again, count players often
  • Have the roster with parent contact and medical
    information including allergies, close at hand
  • Send only adults into wooded area to retrieve
    stray items
  • Encourage all to follow parking lot safety plan
    from Leisure Ministries Director

Coach - Tell the Parents
  • In a meeting with parents, coaches are to explain
    two important child-safety measures
  • Parents are to remain on site
  • If a parent must leave a practice or a game,
    he/she is to designate another adult on site to
    be responsible for his/her child and must inform
    the coach in writing who that adult-in-charge
  • Parents are responsible participant siblings
  • Siblings of players should not be unattended
  • Our facility is open and our playground is not
    visible from the field

One Last Thing
  • In all programs and settings, all staff and
    volunteers who work with
  • Nursery children under age 2
  • Children ages 2-5th grade
  • Youth in grades 6-12
  • Also, in our nursery, the childrens, youth or
    leisure ministries must

  • take time to teach
  • children or youth
  • ways they can protect
  • their own personal safety!

Why is all of this Necessary?
  • The Church is at risk
  • We trust
  • We have not normally screened staff and
  • Were open, accepting and loving to strangers
  • We encourage close personal relationship

Why We Need to Do This!
  • We MUST protect our children and youth from a
    lifetime of pain and injury causing loss of
    spirit, trust and faith
  • We MUST make sure our workers are supported in
    case of frivolous lawsuit
  • We MUST prevent loss of millions of dollars in
    legal fees and damages to victims
  • We MUST not cause one child or one adult to
    become a victim

What if we dont agree this is necessary?
  • Many insurance companies no longer insure
    churches who dont have ministry protection
  • Entitlement mentality in todays society
    results in lawsuits for allegations true or
  • The church is considered negligent if an incident
    should occur and no plan is in place
  • The church loses members, unity of its
    membership, reputation and thousands of dollars

Jesus said
Whoever welcomes one such child, welcomes me Mark
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of
these little ones, it would be better for you if
a great millstone were fastened around your neck
and you were drowned in the depth
of the sea. Matthew 186
WE PROMISEWith Gods help we will so order our
lives after the example of Christ,that this
child,surrounded by steadfast love,may be
established in the faithand confirmed and
strengthenedin the way that leads to life
eternal.Baptismal CovenantUnited Methodist
Hymnal, p.44
  • Questions?

What would you do if
  • you find yourself in a room alone with a child
  • you see a child in the hall wearing a pink or
    orange band and no accompanying adult
  • you are a female taking 1st grade boys to the
  • you are the only 3rd grade Sunday school
    teacher and Johnny says he is supposed to leave
    to meet his parents after class

What would you do if
  • a particular youth is habitually the last to be
    picked up from youth events. He/she asks for a
    ride home and youre the last adult left
  • you heard a youth was participating in
    unethical or illegal activities
  • you see a co-worker breaking one of the
    appropriate touch rules

What would you do if
  • as a soccer coach, you count your 4-year old
    players and have one less than you did at the
    beginning of practice
  • a parent of a player wants to run to the
    store during practice
  • an irate parent berates his/her child for
    performance on the basketball court

Just be SMART
  • S Be aware of surroundings
  • M Be mindful of manipulators
  • A Be aware of what to avoid
  • R Be ready to report issues
  • T Be timely about telling