INFORMATION TO SUPPORT OTHERS
INFORMATION TO SUPPORT OTHERS
Do you want to know how you can help prevent abuse and empower abuse survivors, even if you have not experienced abuse? We hope this website will help you understand and respond to the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of abuse and neglect. Search the website and become familiar with the information and the resources it offers.
Let your fellow church members and your friends and family know that help exists. Advocate for protective policies for children and committed Christian care for survivors.
We are also willing to assist by answering any spiritual questions you may have or to help you find a professional who can help.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Suggestions for those who want to say and do the right things for someone whose safety and dignity have been violated in this way.
According to 34 major studies involving more than 19,000 abused children, a significant number of children suffer “spiritual injuries.” This can happen when the abuser uses religion in the abuse of a child. For example, a parent may beat a child while telling his son or daughter that the beating was ordained by God. Spiritual injuries can also result because a child is confused by God’s response to the abuse.
For example, a child may have asked God to stop the abuse and is saddened or angry that God did not answer the prayer in the way the victim desired. Research has found that left unaddressed, spiritual injuries can also impair our physical and mental health.
There is research suggesting boys may delay disclosing sexual abuse longer than girls—perhaps as long as 20 years. Studies indicate boys have myriad fears that keep them quiet including fears of being labeled weak or gay as a result of sexual abuse. In our society, we often make jokes about boys who are sexually abused by older girls or women. As a result, a boy sexually abused by a woman feels guilty for not “enjoying” the victimization. In designing church policies and in implementing personal safety programming, it is critical to keep in mind these differences and to specifically address fears that may be unique to boys.
Many survivors of abuse and neglect lead productive lives free of many of the adverse medical and mental health conditions previously discussed. How quickly, and to what extent a victim of abuse heals is dependent on a number of factors.
There is a body of research on resilience which finds that simple things such as keeping a child in school, getting them involved in sports, music and other activities that build self-esteem and model non-abusive responses to conflict can be very important. There is also a substantial body of research that maintaining a connection to faith, including a healthy sense of spirituality, can reduce the potential short and long term impact of abuse.
Our website includes a number of resources for parents and churches to use in teaching personal safety to their children and in developing church policies that limit the possibility a child may be abused inside the faith community.
If your neighbor stole your car, you would report him to the police. Your abuser stole something from you much more valuable than a car. He stole a part of your very life and self from you. In doing so that person committed a crime and needs to suffer the consequences of his or her actions. It is not unforgiving or unchristian to report such a person. In fact, it is wise to do so. It forces the person to deal with the reality of what he or she did. It also reduces the likelihood that the person will abuse others in the future.
God established the church to help us forgive. He established the government to provide temporal justice and curb lawlessness in society. As Christians we enjoy the benefit of both realms.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has a 24 hour hotline if you believe you have seen a missing child or encounter sexually exploitive images. NCMEC also has resources that parents, churches and schools can use in teaching children online safety.
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services that provides a number of resources to respond to the risk of child abuse and neglect among children with disabilities.
It is important to recognize the differences when dealing with sexual behavior of young people:
“Recognizing and Responding to Developmentally Appropriate and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors of Children,” by Victor I. Vieth. Currents in Theology and Mission 45:3, pages 50-55 (July 2018)
Statistical analysis and perspectives on juvenile sex offenders can also be found in the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) summary of research on youth who commit sexual offenses against other children.
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment is a Christian organization of child abuse prosecutors, psychologists, and other professionals who provide training, publications, and other child abuse prevention resources to families and churches.
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Child Abuse Resources. This website, created by a Missouri Synod (LCMS) Task Force on child abuse, contains articles, prayers, coloring books and other resources that may help churches and families in responding to the sin of child abuse.
Standing Up for Children: A Christian Response to Child Abuse and Neglect. All churches and schools need to be safe places where leaders actively work to prevent abuse. Freedom for the Captives (FFTC) offers online training videos taught by experts Mr. Victor Vieth, director of education and research at Zero Abuse Project and Prof. John Schuetze, a seminary professor and counselor. To learn more, check our training webpage. To request the training for yourself or your group, please complete our online learning registration form.
(SMART) is a United States Department of Justice program that monitors federal law on the registration of sex offenders. The SMART website has resources that can help churches or others understand registration laws in a particular state. Tags: Advocates, Ministry Leaders
Zero Abuse Project (ZAP) is an organization committed to transforming institutions to effectively prevent, recognize, and respond to child sexual abuse. Zero Abuse Project offers many excellent training courses, including “Keeping Faith: Empowering the Faith Community to Recognize and Respond to Child Abuse.”