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Practical Sexual Abuse Policy

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Anxious eyes. Child confined in a net cage

RIL News receives useful tips on guidelines and prevention of sexual abuse and assault and therefore we now can publish a proven policy against sexual abuse. 

 Because of the pedophile scandal reported in RIL News we receive useful tips and advice from individuals and churches. Tips are received also from churches with its roots in the Laestadian revival movement, including the United States.

We want to share with other churches this combined knowledge and experience of other Christians, and therefore we will publish some material based on existing experience and preventive work which has been applied by others for several years.

Problem decriptions and their solutions

We plan to publish also articles about destructive behaviors of perpetrators and the effects on victims of assault and sexual abuse, along with tips about how to help correct and support the involved and their families.

Se also material for download on this page.

Rolf Lampa

RIL News

 

Example Policy

Sexual Abuse Policy

 

I. Preventive Policies:

1.          Open Door Policy:

In order to safeguard our minors our church has an open door policy. As much as possible, all adults in church positions working with minors one-on-one shall work in a room with a second adult present. When an adult and minor are working or conferencing together in a room without other minors or adults present, as much as possible, the door shall remain open.

2.          Background Checks:

Positions working with minors, including but not limited to, pastors, ministers and teachers are required to get a background check. If a background check reveals a prior sexual misconduct-related offense, that person will be permanently ineligible to be involved in any way in the care, supervision and/or teaching of minors including providing counseling. This includes nursery, daycare, or overnight activities involving minors or mentorship of minors. 

3.          Waiting Period:


A minimum of a 6 month waiting period is required before new church attendees are allowed to volunteer in any position involving minors.


II. Addressing Circumstances of Sexual Abuse:

1.         Statement of Purpose:


This section of the policy is intended to provide the church with a means whereby circumstances of abuse can be addressed.  This section of the policy addresses the following areas: the church, abuse, abuser and victims, all of which are hereby defined:

 

A.     The church:  Defined further as church leadership:  Apostolic Lutheran Church of Hockinson Board members, Officers of the Board, Pastors, Lay Preachers and Teachers.
B.     Abuse:  Abuse occurs when an individual uses his/her position of power and/or authority to control another person for his/her own gratification.  This policy addresses sexual abuse of a minor.
C.     Abuser:  Any person who violates a minor as stated above in a sexual manner.
D.     Victims:  Those minors whose person has been violated by said abuse, of whom the Christian church on earth has been given the responsibility.

2.         The Responsibilities of the Church:


Silence is not required or expected from a victim of child abuse even if their abuser has made a confession of their sin, but such a victim is encouraged to seek out a person they can speak to in confidence.

A.     The church is exhorted by God's word as recorded in I Timothy 3:1-13 to place in positions of leadership those whose lives are according, and to continue to exhort with all long-suffering those who have been asked to serve.

B.    It is the responsibility of the church as a whole, and specifically, church leadership, to respond to allegations of inappropriate and ungodly behavior among it’s members towards minor children.

3.         Reporting of Cases:

The church will observe the laws of the land in regard to sexual abuse of a child.

A.     The church should in good faith strive to make itself reasonably aware of the laws of the State of Washington as they pertain to sexual abuse of a minor.

B.     The Board is encouraged to keep records of information discussed at Board meetings concerning substantiated allegations of abuse.

C.     The church is encouraged to assist the abuser to self-report.  If the abuser will not self-report and the church is to report an abuse case according to good faith, the church will appoint two or more disinterested persons to report the abuse.

4.         Follow-up:

The church is encouraged to continue to uphold those involved and his/her family to the edification of the church and to the glory of God.  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.  I Thessalonians 5:15.

A.              The first responsibility of the church is to the victim of abuse and should provide protection and support for the victim and the victim’s family as deemed necessary within the abilities of the church.

B.             The church may refer counseling as to bring about healing and forgiveness.  This is intended primarily for the victim in the form of private counseling or support groups as well as counsel for a penitent abuser.

C.             The church is to encourage accountability and repentance of the abuser as to bring about restoration to fellowship with the body of Christ as evidenced by a changed life.

D.             The abuser will not be allowed to serve in any position in the church.

E.             The abuser is required to be accompanied by a qualified adult chaperone when on the church premises. It is the primary responsibility of the abuser to find and bring to the church board qualified potential chaperones.

1.      After initial approval by the Board the board will contact the potential chaperone to have a background check completed. No abuser or former abuser should volunteer to be a chaperone.

2.      Chaperones shall at all times know the whereabouts of the person being chaperoned while on the church premises.

3.      The chaperone shall ensure that the person being chaperoned uses only the handicap bathrooms and shall ensure that no other person is within the bathroom.

4.      The Chaperone shall become familiarized with the subject of sexual abuse. The pastors are available to assist with recommended literature for this.

 

F.                  The church may meet with any known abuser and/or victim as to establish additional parameters concerning situations wherein they may be attending the same Hockinson church function.

 

Footnote: The original policy originates from Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church, Brush Prairie, Washington, USA. The document was sent to RIL News by the secretary Roger Christopher. Published with courtesy. The Policy can be copied by churches, modified and used as a template for an own policy. The original was last modified and ratified in December 20:th, 2009.

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