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Churches and Faith Organizations

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Introduction

TAALK has created this particular prevention best practices program from the perspective of the Christian Church. This is not to diminish the importance of the role that all faith organizations play in the resolution of the child sexual abuse pandemic but instead reflects the knowledge and personal affiliation of the writer. TAALK does not have the expertise nor do we currently have the funding to research the details of how to appropriately address the individual differences between world religions and how they serve the youth in their community. We know that the aspects related to prevention of abuse and supporting victims, families, and offenders apply to all faiths. We also trust that the aspects related to spiritual healing and the power of intercessory prayer will provide great value and insight across faiths as well. Thus we encourage all faith leaders to participate fully in the program taking the intent of each section and modifying the wording and implementation as necessary to reflect your specific beliefs. We are all in this together and our children are counting on us to find a way to be part of the solution. 
 

Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults and we all play a part in the solution. 
Predict: is to declare or indicate in advance; especially to foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or scientific reason.(1)


There are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America.(2)

From them experts have documented time after time, behavior patterns that appear BEFORE abuse occurs. So, with the right training, we can recognize when children are in danger and put best practices in place to directly reduce the risk of abuse in our homes, neighborhoods and youth-serving organizations. Faith organizations play a crucial role in educating their local community members.

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Introduction

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Personal Starting Point
Each of us has a set of past experiences that impact how we feel about the topic of child sexual abuse. Some people know someone who was abused or they may have been abused themselves. Others may struggle with an attraction to children or the thought of sexualizing a child simply destroys their sense of a safe world. These are experiences and feelings that could create a lot of discomfort.

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce Boundaries

Written boundaries are at the heart of protecting children. Without them, every day is filled with a myriad of subjective choices that are far too often hindered by our emotions, opinions, relationships, and quest for personal gain (acceptance, security, promotion, raise, etc.). When boundaries are established and documented in writing, they provide a mechanism for objective decision making that applies to everyone who comes in contact with children in your care. No exceptions!

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce...

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults. Whether you have ever stopped to acknowledge it or not, your children are surrounded by adults...but are they knowledgeable and outspoken about child sexual abuse on behalf of your children?

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Now that you've provided mandatory training for your staff and volunteers and invited your parents to join your accountability team, it's time to empower the children in your care. Educating and empowering children to experience a life free from sexual abuse is a multi-step process that unfolds as they mature and includes the five key components listed below. Depending on the age ranges you serve, you may or may not have the opportunity to engage children in all five components but at a minimum, every organization should be empowering children with the boundaries you have established.

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response and Take Bold Action

Adopt Standards for Responding to Observed, Disclosed or Suspected Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled "in-house" or "within the family." Unfortunately through many high profile cases, we've seen the devastating impact of organizations attempting to resolve the issue internally. Over the years we have also learned that countless children were faced with a secondary betrayal when they disclosed and their parents decided to keep it within the family. In both of these scenarios, victims are not validated and provided an opportunity to heal; and child molesters are not held accountable for their actions and in many cases they continued to have access to children resulting in additional victims.

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response...

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource Referrals

20% of the population in America has been sexually abused.(8) That's more people than the Center for Disease Control estimates will get the flu each year.(9) So needless to say, as you implement the Child Sexual Abuse Best Practices program, you will be talking with children, teens and adults who have personally experienced sexual abuse as well as parents who know or suspect their child has been abused. It's also inevitable that at some point you will be speaking with someone who is attracted to children who may or may not have crossed the line and abused a child.

Read more: Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource...

Faith Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Summary

High profile cases are bringing child sexual abuse to the forefront in a way we have never seen in the past. It is clearly a pandemic that knows no boundaries including gender, race, religion, geography or socio-economic status.

20% of our children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.(8) Parents and leaders of Youth Serving Organizations are who grant access to children and they are responsible for being proactive in their efforts to protect children. You are responsible for teaching them how. Our kids are counting on us!

At TAALK, we understand the grooming behaviors that happen BEFORE abuse occurs and have developed this program specifically to combat those behaviors. Although there are no guarantees, this program will take you and the adults and the children in your community well beyond awareness and empower all of you with an extensive list of actions that will have a direct impact on the safety of children.
 

 

 
 
  • 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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