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.
To Report Child Sexual Abuse
Call 911 or your local Child Protection Services agency or
Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD if you suspect abuse and need to talk it through
To Learn Your Part in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse or Find Resources for Healing
Visit or call 1-888-808-6558
If You or Someone You Know Struggles with Inappropriate Sexual Feelings towards Children
Visit or call 1-888-PREVENT
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers
of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
Child sexual abuse is the work of the enemy. We are in a spiritual battle and we will not win unless we recognize it as such and choose to fight it in the spiritual realm. TheChild Sexual Abuse Best Practices for Churches moves beyond the power of man to engage the power of God to claim victory over the enemy in the spiritual realm and therefore here on earth.
Intercessory prayer is crucial in all phases of the child sexual abuse pandemic including:
- Prevention (Prior to Abuse)
- Recognition (Abuse to Disclosure)
- Rescue (Disclosure to Safety)
- Accountability (Safety to Justice)
- Restoration (Justice and Beyond)
Whether you engage your existing prayer team or establish a specialized team, God needs your prayer warriors to stand in the gap for children, parents, survivors and offenders in your Church body and your community. Gaining an understanding of the intricacies of the child sexual abuse pandemic and the specific prayers that are needed in each phase will empower your prayer team to interceed for the community as a whole as well as the needs of specific families.
Establishing and communicating an entry point for survivors and their families to seek help is essential. So many adult survivors and parents whose children have been abused walk through this dark and difficult time alone because they don't know where to turn. You can bring them hope and strength in their time of need.
Adult survivors will need emotional and spiritual support as well as guidance to create an effective support system and healing plan based on either programs you choose to offer or through referrals.
Parents whose children have disclosed abuse need a different level of care initially. While they will need emotional and spiritual support as well as guidance on creating an effective support system and healing plan in the long term, they will be faced with much more pressing needs and decisions in the initial hours and days after disclosure. Parents are likely to be in shock and may even find it hard to believe their child. They may be overwhelmed with fear including:
- Fear they might be wrong and accuse an innocent person
- Fear of embarrassment, shame and public humiliation
- Fear of being blamed and having their kids taken away
- Fear of facing their own past (if they're a survivor of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or an offender)
- Fear of loss of income, home, food (if the offender is a financial provider)
- Fear of nuclear family break-up (if incest)
- Fear of extended family break-up (if generational incest)
- Fear of a family member going to prison
While these are all valid concerns, parents will need spiritual support to overcome these fears and wise counsel to help them do the right thing - to believe their child, to protect their child and to report the abuse. Parents who believe, protect and report create a stable foundation for their child's healing. Parents will also need guidance on how to gather and preserve evidence that will allow the authorities to hold the offender accountable so that their child is validated and other children are protected.
Adult survivors of sexual abuse will need on-going support as they unravel the consequences of their abuse. One of the most valuable support methods is peer-to-peer support because fellow survivors are the only ones who can truly understand what you've been through and they can understand it without the survivor having to share the details of their story which can be traumatizing. There are a variety of Christian resources you can use to help guide survivors through the healing process but even if you elect a less formal approach and just provide time each week for survivors to talk with one another, you'll see tremendous progress as they learn:
- You Are Not Alone
- It Was Not Your Fault
- To Diffuse the Power of Your Secret
- To Stand in Your Identity in Christ
- To Break Free from the Emotions of the Past
- To Claim the Truth of God's Word
- To Take Your Thoughts Captive
- To Re-Establish Your Moral Code
- To Recognize and be Victorious Over Spiritual Warfare
- To Identify and Resolve Your Triggers
- To Shift the Blame from You to Your Abuser
- To Take Back Your Power of Choice
- To Establish Boundaries and Learn to Say "NO"
- To Grieve the Loss of Innocence, Childhood and Family
- To Acknowledge Your Goodness and Your Progress
- To Forgive and Let God Be the Judge
- To Shift the Focus from Yourself to Others