INFORMATION FOR LEADING OTHERS
INFORMATION FOR LEADING OTHERS
As a leader in your church, please use the resources on this website to create a safe environment that protects children, prevents abuse, and provides spiritual support for survivors. Take the Standing Up for Children: A Christian Response to Child Abuse and Neglect training to recognize abuse and keep children safe.
We are willing to assist you in finding resources to help you develop policies and a ministry to survivors of abuse. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Although every state requires certain professionals and institutions to report suspected child abuse, the legal requirements vary, especially for pastors. Christian leaders should be aware of what the law requires of them. Since states also change their requirements, information regarding the law in their state needs to be up-to-date.
Pastors, teachers, and congregational leaders should check with district or national leaders to learn about their legal and moral requirements. Even aside from the legal requirement, Christians should consider the need to protect a child who is being abused. For more on that subject, see the article on this page, Pastoral Theology Brief: Matthew 18.
Find a state by state description of laws regarding mandatory reporting.
I am providing pastoral counseling to someone who has significant trauma from childhood sexual abuse. Where should I turn for help?
Counseling survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is challenging. You will need to refer to a professional counselor who specializes in this type of therapy. This is long term counseling that takes years of treatment.
However, there is much you can do as a pastor. You can recommend some books to the survivor: “On the Threshold of Hope” by Diane Langberg and “Healing the Wounded Heart” by Dan D. Allender. If you have the time to meet with this person once or twice a month as her pastor, that would be helpful as CSA has the potential to confuse a person spiritually.
In many ways you are the student, and the survivor is the teacher. It is helpful to listen a lot and not do a lot of talking. Find out where she is at spiritually and how the abuse has affected her relationship with God. Find out which passages of Scripture she finds comforting and which she does not. That will reveal how you might help her spiritually.
Though you are not an expert in CSA trauma therapy, you have a role in the healing process: your expertise is spiritual care. The best approach is the team approach. Your counselee may be willing to sign a consent form that allows the therapist to share significant information that will help you provide spiritual support and encouragement.
While abuse by a juvenile can impact a child emotionally, physically and spiritually, the process of dealing with a juvenile abuser and the outcome of that different process can be quite different. Ministry leaders and the families they serve should familiarize themselves with the issues and access quality resources and expertise to determine what kind of intervention is required. We recommend reading “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)
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.
These guidelines, developed with the help of law enforcement, abuse experts, and church workers, provide carefully crafted counsel for churches. Safety of children and youth is foundational to the document, while finding safe ways for congregations to serve an offender spiritually within his specific legal restrictions.
Download Dealing with Sexual Offenders, the Congregational Guidelines document produced by WELS Special Ministries.
Visit our FFTC counselors page for resources that may help in finding a counselor.
Experts are available to help churches and schools develop effective policies for their ministry. We can provide sample policies templates and provide guidance concerning best practices. E-mail [email protected].
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.
Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens. They promote programs and resources families; churches and communities prevent child abuse and neglect.
RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. Resources include a national hotline (800.656.HOPE), resources, information, and education and training. RAINN
A comprehensive report prepared by the United States Department of Justice that details our current knowledge about adults and children who commit sexual offenses. The Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative report may help clergy or others who must monitor convicted sex offenders in a congregation or in directing sex offenders to appropriate treatment and other resources that research indicates can lower the risk of recidivism.
The American Academy of Pediatrics: Evaluation Sexual Behaviors in Children. Parents, clergy, teachers, and others may struggle with discerning a child’s sexual behaviors. This article helps sort out normal and abnormal sexual behaviors in children and offers guidance when professional assistance is necessary.
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.
Zero Abuse Project has a number of resources for parents, schools and churches in teaching children personal safety.
The Search Institute has developed tools for parents and schools to use in teaching children perseverance and resilience, including a connection to faith.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published a guide to assist youth-serving organizations in limiting the possibility of child abuse within an organization.
(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
Shared Hope International offers resources to assist in understanding and responding to the trafficking of children.
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.”