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Rescue

Pre-Establish Your Response and Take Bold Action

As you can imagine and have probably experienced for yourself, child sexual abuse is a difficult subject for most adults to talk about, let alone the children who are its victims. When abuse is observed, disclosed, or suspected it creates an emotionally charged situation for all involved. It is therefore crucial to have policies in place that clearly define the actions to be taken by individuals and the church corporately, to ensure the response is objective and applies equally to all, without the opportunity to be swayed by any individual based on trust, respect, or power.

 

Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled “in-house.”

 

Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled “in-house.” Unfortunately, through many high profile cases, we’ve seen the devastating impact of organizations attempting to resolve the issue internally. Examples include individual cases such as Penn State employees covering up observed and suspected abuse by Jerry Sandusky, as well as the widespread cover-ups in the Catholic church and the YMCA. In these cases, child molesters were not held accountable for their actions, and in many cases, they continued to have access to children resulting in additional victims. And if we want to prevent abuse, it is also essential to have detailed policies for how to respond to inappropriate behavior that falls short of breaking the law. 

Pre-establishing your response and being prepared to take bold action includes documenting, communicating, and enforcing the following key policy components:

  • What behavior and actions are illegal in your state (and each location where you have a presence)?
  • How should your team respond if they observe a child being abused?
  • How should your team respond if a child discloses they are being abused by someone at church? At home? Or somewhere else?
  • How should your team respond if they suspect a child is being abused but they don't have proof?  What would make them suspect?
  • How should your team respond to observed, disclosed, or suspected abuse of a child by another child?
  • Who are mandated reporters by law in your state (clergy, staff, volunteers)? What is the state's reporting process? What are the consequences for failure to report?
  • Does your church have an internal reporting process? Does it comply with state laws?  Does it in any way hinder the protection and rescue of a child who is being abused? Does it in any way hinder the evidence collection process or legal investigation? 
  • What is your reporting policy for staff members who are not mandated reporters (i.e. volunteers)? 
  • How do you handle child sexual abuse that is disclosed during privileged communication with a member of clergy? Do you report it to the authorities anyway?
  • What are your organizational consequences for staff, volunteers, and/or congregation members who are accused of child sexual abuse? During an active investigation? If there is not enough evidence to convict? If there is not enough evidence for the police to file charges?
  • What is your organizational policy for inappropriate behavior that falls short of breaking the law? Who is to be notified and what are the consequences? 
     

If you have not thoroughly discussed, documented, and communicated the answers to these questions - to your staff, volunteers, and congregation members through a formal policy, let me be the first to say that you are NOT prepared to effectively respond to allegations of abuse and take appropriately bold action. I encourage you to prepare yourself and your church, and I refer you back to my book, 8 Ways to Create their Fate (Best Practice #7), which fully documents the complex considerations necessary to effectively protect and rescue children from sexual predators. 

I have included links below to some basic resources that will help you and your team understand when you need to report abuse.

 

Safe Kids Court Watch - John David's Case

Sharing post from Safe Kids Social Media Court Watch...

PLEASE take just a moment of your valuable HOLIDAY time to do something sooooo important--help save a little boy by calling Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums. The hearing is in Harris County Texas tomorrow 9:30 am so there is little time SO PLEASE ACT NOW!

Read more: Safe Kids Court Watch - John David's Case

For Mothers of 'Lost' Children by Robin Karr

So many mothers are feeling the devastation of losing their children as "the system" that was designed to protect them fails and even facilitates their abuse. Robin has so beautifully expressed the pain and helplessness I'm sure so many mothers feel. Thank you Robin for being so vulnerable and willing to share with others so they won't feel alone. 

Read more: For Mothers of 'Lost' Children by Robin Karr

California Governor Signs Mandated Reporter Bill

On September 29, 2014, California Governor Brown signed AB 1432 into law. This bill requires the State Department of Education to develop and disseminate training on recognizing signs of child abuse for mandated reporters. It also requires school personnel to be trained annually within 6 weeks of the start of the school year or new employment. This is another important step toward protecting our children!

Read more: California Governor Signs Mandated Reporter Bill

  • icon Care Leaders
  • icon Children & Youth Program Leaders
  • icon Church Leaders
  • icon Healing and Deliverance Ministers
  • icon Intercessory Prayer Ministers
  • icon The Church Body's Role

Twenty percent of the population has been sexually abused and that doesn't count the indirect victims such as siblings, parents, spouses, and children. That means at least twenty percent of your congregation are victims - maybe more as God often calls us in our deepest pain and despair. When survivors are struggling with the repercussions of their own childhood abuse they may turn to the church for help. Survivors may struggle with flashbacks, body memories, substance abuse, marital problems, physical health issues, or psychological issues including life threatening eating disorders, severe depression,or suicidal thoughts. Some may be diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and be needlessly placed on psychotropic drugs rather than addressing the trauma of child sexual abuse. So it is critical for care leaders to know how to recognize a survivor, assess their needs, and provide or refer them to the appropriate resources to keep them safe and provide the long-term care they need. 

The church may also be the first place a parent turns when they find out their child was, or still is being abused. This is an emotionally charged time for everyone involved so it is important to have pre-established plans for how you will respond ensuring the safety of the child, abiding by the law, and helping provide for the short-term and potentially long-term physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial needs of everyone in the family. These plans are even more crucial if the abuser is a family member. Care leaders may include care ministry directors, lay ministers, recovery leaders, church therapists, chaplains, prayer team members, and all other team leaders or people who have care ministry responsibilities.

We encourage you to learn more about recognizing signs of sexual abuse in children and in adults and to take our free on-line advocacy classes on supporting adult survivors and parents whose children have been abused.

 

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Church leaders who are responsible for programs that serve youth are an integral part of God's plan to prevent abuse that may happen within or through church programs. By virtue of building trusting relationships with the children in their care, these leaders are also a vital part of the rescue team - it is crucial that they understand how to recognize, respond, and report; observed, disclosed, or suspected abuse of any child in their care, whether the abuse allegedly occurred within the church or outside of the church. In fact, clergy and youth program leaders are considered mandated reporters in most states and may be subject to penalties for failure to report to law enforcement or their local child welfare agency.

We need church leaders who are responsible for children, to actively participate in the development and implementation of child sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures and ensure all staff and volunteers who serve youth are trained and monitored. Youth program leaders include children's pastors, youth pastors, heads of school, missions directors, camp directors, and any other person who has direct or indirect oversight of child or youth-serving programs.

We encourage you to learn more about preventing abuse as well as recognizing the signs of abuse in children and taking bold action. 

 

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Church leaders play a key role in the resolution of the child sexual abuse pandemic because all areas of prevention and restoration fall under their realm of responsibility. It is therefore crucial that leaders in the church understand the vision for all components of God's plan outlined on this site including Intercessory Prayer, Preventing Abuse, Reporting Abuse, Speaking From the Pulpit, Survivor Support, Offender Discipleship, and Healing Prayer. This will empower them to raise up those within their congregation who are gifted in each area, ultimately creating a broad and deep program that protects God's children, supports those who are impacted, and adheres to the law. Church leaders include pastors, priests, reverends, vicars, ministers, deacons, preachers, church council members, board members, missions directors, chaplains, overseers including bishops/cardinals, and all other church members in senior leadership roles, regardless of demonimation. 
 

Because child molesters want to spend time where children congregate,
your church is a target. 

 
If your church has a youth or children's program, child molesters will want to work or volunteer there. One researcher refers to youth-serving organizations as a "well populated hunting ground."1 We can't be naive to the enemy's schemes and how he will use people to hurt God's children. So it is essential that you implement informed best practices to ensure the protection of the kids in your care and we can help you do that.
 
Our Founder, Diane Cranley, has written 8 Ways to Create their Fate: Protecting the Sexual Innocence of Children in Youth-Serving Organizations which will guide you and your staff to create an environment where child molesters virtually cannot succeed without being caught and therefore won't want to work. It is based on eight simple best practices, that when implemented will significantly lower the risk of children being abused while in your care. Your proactive approach toward prevention is a partnership with God to protect the plans he has for his children. The side benefit is that it will also protect your church against lawsuits and potentially even lower your insurance rates and increase your coverage limits.  

Protecting the children in your care is your first responsibility! 

Beyond prevention, we are calling you to lead the charge across all areas of spiritual hardship created by this pandemic; from the perpetrators and those struggling not to abuse - to the children and adults who have suffered the transgression of sexual abuse and are now fighting for their freedom from oppression and captivity. Freedom and the restoration of all things is available through prayer and deliverance ministry and we can teach your staff and congregation how to pray and effectively bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free! 

Bind up the Brokenhearted - Set the Captives Free 

Please order 8 Ways to Create their Fate today to learn how to prevent abuse and visit the other topics on this site to find resources for support and healing.

 
 

1Kenneth V. Lanning and Park Dietz, “Acquaintance Molestation and Youth-Serving Organizations,” J Interpers Violence (May 2014): 1,3, doi:10.1177/0886260514532360

 
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"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." (John 10:10 NIV) and what better way to do it than to steal the sexual innocence of our children and make them believe it was their fault? Since most victims don't tell, the enemy spends the next several decades pouring salt on those open wounds, often giving the enemy strongholds through unconfessed sin, unforgiveness, and agreements with his lies. But Jesus proclaimed, “If you obey my teaching,” he said, “you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NIV) Claiming the truth and power of Christ's death and resurrection through facilitated prayer can demolish the work of the enemy in a survivor's life, bringing them full freedom and the abundant life God pre-destined for them before time began. Healers and deliverance ministers are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth, to carry out his ministry of healing the brokenhearted and setting the captives free. There is no greater need for this work than in survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

We encourage you to learn all you can about healing prayer through us as well as other reputable resources.

 

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God's word calls us to not only pray for the saints but it urges us to pray for all people, without ceasing. God has anointed people in the body with the gift of intercessory prayer and these prayer warriors are at the center of God's plan for fighting the child sexual abuse pandemic in the spiritual realm. His word says, "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matt 18:18 NIV) 

The Kingdom is in need of intercessors who are led to make this pandemic a focal point of their ministry, engaging in relentless prayer, and wielding God-given weapons that have divine power to demolish strongholds. Intercessors may already lead a team, feel called to start a team, feel led to join a team, or simply to pray individually. All of these roles are valuable and welcome in God's plan!

 

We encourage you to learn more about intercessory prayer over the child sexual abuse pandemic and use our prayer guide so that we are all praying in agreement.

 

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Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.           1 Corinthians 12:27(NIV)

The child sexual abuse pandemic has many facets and in order to overcome this destructive scheme of the enemy, God needs us to actively engage in all of them. We encouarge church staff and the body as a whole to understand their role in prevention and in setting the captives free. There is so much to be done but together we can and will overcome. Please click on the role or roles below that apply to you and learn how you can become fully equipped to join us in this kingdom work.

 

Make a commitment - our kids our counting on us all!

 

Your church and community needs saints who are willing to:

  • Pray daily for all aspects of this pandemic
  • Recognize the signs of abuse in children and give them permission to tell so they can start their healing early
  • Talk comfortably about abuse, even from the pulpit, so adult survivors will find safety in disclosing what may be a lifelong secret
  • Get trained on how to prevent child sexual abuse within the church and at home and invite others to become knowledgeable as well
  • Establish effective boundary policies within the youth and children's ministries to deter child molesters
  • Disciple registered sex offenders and those struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts about children
  • Provide healing prayer and deliverance from the spiritual strongholds surrounding childhood sexual abuse

 

Please spend some time looking through the topics on this website to see how the Lord leads you to participate. We encourage everyone to get started by taking our free on-line training!

 

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