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The information provided for discipling registered sex offenders, addresses known offenders who have been detected, charged, arrested, convicted and placed on the National Sex Offender Registry. But 86% of sexual assault goes unreported to authorities and only a portion of the reported cases have sufficient evidence to press charges, let alone secure a conviction. So the offenders that appear on the registry represent a very small portion of the sex offenders who actually pose a danger to your children. This is why our prevention program and on-line training for all staff, volunteers, and parents are an integral part in God's plan to protect children. 

 

86% of Sexual Assault Goes Unreported to Authorities

 

There are three other groups of potential offenders that may present a danger to the children in your care that you should know about and plan to disciple:

Self-Disclosed Offenders

There may be times when offenders disclose to a church leader that they have sexually abused a child. Your first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the children in your care and all access should be immediately suspended until an appropriate investigation has been completed by the authorities.

Clergy are mandated reporters in about half of the states and are thus required by law to report suspected abuse to either law enforcement or child protective services. Some of those states but not all, provide an exception for privileged communication between a clergy member and someone who discloses as part of the process of confession. It is very important that you know the mandated reporting laws in your state, including specifications for clergy, and adhere fully to the law (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/clergymandated.pdf) However, I highly recommend that your child sexual abuse prevention policy designates all staff members and volunteers as mandated reporters with no exception for privileged communication, regardless of state law. Some denominations have made this policy across all of their churches. So either based on state law or organizational policy, you will need to report the disclosed abuse to local law enforcement or child protective services so that an appropriate investigation can be completed. Investigations should never be handled within the church and you cannot depend solely on the details disclosed by the offender. 

Offenders often disclose to their church leaders that they have sexually abused a child because they long to be free from the secret and they truly want the help of God and the community to keep them from re-offending. However, they may not disclose all of the pertinent facts or they may twist the truth to indicate the incident is outside the statute of limitations or that it happened when they themselves were a minor, in an effort to get the support they need without you involving the authorities. It is important that you let them know that you will support them through the process but that you will need to contact the authorities to ensure all legal aspects of the case are resolved.

Depending on the initial discussion with the authorities, you may end up providing spiritual support during the legal process if charges are brought against the offender, during a period of incarceration if convicted, or the authorities may not press charges for a variety of reasons. In which case you will need to support the offender with a strong safety plan and no access to the children in your care - refer to our recommended options for registered sex offenders. Remember, the offender told you for a reason. Do not let them down by not providing the kind of spiritual support, structure, boundaries, and referrals to professionals that are necessary to ensure the offender has the best possible chance not to re-offend.  

Self-Disclosed Minor Offenders

Forty two percent of childhood sexual abuse is at the hands of another child. If a minor has sexually abused and been detected, they were most likely sentenced to a treatment plan versus juvenile detention. In most cases, juvenile offenders' records are sealed and they would not appear on the sex offender registry. However, they or their parents may inform you of the incident. Similar to adult offenders who self-disclose, you have an obligation to talk with the police to ensure all necessary investigation and treatment has been completed and you should let the minor offender and their parents know your intent to do so. The minor offender was under no obligation to tell you about the abuse and you will need to determine on a case-by-case basis if it is appropriate to allow them to participate in your youth programs. If you do, you will need to provide spiritual support, structure, boundaries, and close supervision to ensure the safety of the other children in your care. 

Minor Attracted Law Abiding Citizens (MALACs)

Every person who is sexually attracted to children and crosses the line, thought about it for a period of time first. Imagine if this had happened to you or maybe even one of your children.  Where would you turn?  Who would be safe to talk to?  Who could help you before you act on the urge?

A third of the men were under the age of 16 when first attracted sexually to children. All of these men committed their first offense as juveniles, 1 to 3 years after becoming sexually attracted to children.

 

One study of offenders found that “A third of the men were under the age of 16 when first attracted sexually to children. All of these men committed their first offense as juveniles, 1 to 3 years after becoming sexually attracted to children.” and 83 percent of the offenders said they didn’t seek help because they either didn’t realize they needed it or there was no help available. We cannot be silent or even vague, and expect our youth to have good sexual boundaries with peers or with younger children. There are just too many inappropriate sexual influences in the world today. My book, 8 Ways to Create their Fate, details what we need to talk with our youth about to ensure we set them up for a life of successful appropriate relationships. 

Whether it is a youth or an adult, there are people who are struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts about children and you have the opportunity to be the one person they can trust with this shameful secret. Speak about this openly from the pulpit so that they know they can come to the church for help. If you have someone come to you for help with inappropriate thoughts and they have not acted on these thoughts and abused a child, there is no reason to call the authorities. Seek God's wisdom and discernment in your conversation to determine if a child has been hurt.

All that said, the person who is struggling does need professional help to create a strong safety plan and to determine the underlying cause of these inappropriate thoughts. Sometimes it is nurture and sometimes it is nature and the recommended treatment plan differs based on the cause. There are going to be a limited number of therapists who are willing to treat offenders and even fewer who are willing to treat MALACs without feeling the need to report them to authorities. I recommend you do your research ahead of time and have a referral list of therapists willing to treat both offenders and MALACs. 

Of course, MALACs will need on-going spiritual support - sound theology, structured spiritual disciplines, intercessory prayer, healing ministry, and a small group to hold them up and hold them accountable.  

  • 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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