Reducing the Risk of Sexual Abuse: Safe Sanctuaries is one of the “social structures that are consistent with the gospel” (Book of Discipline, 122) allowing our sanctuaries, classrooms, mission encounters, camps and retreats, and all spaces where we gather to worship and serve God to be places of trust.
Training is required for all persons having direct contact with children, youth, and adults with special needs in all activities connected with local congregations, annual conferences, and camp settings. The minimum standard of training shall include training every 2 years about the Safe Sanctuaries Policy; training in the supervision of children, youth, and vulnerable adults; and training in the identification and reporting of abuse.
Those who wish to serve in ministries with children, youth, and adults with special needs must be actively engaged in the life of the congregation for at least six (6) months prior to service, including worship, Sunday School, mission opportunities, and other ministries so that the people serving with children, youth, and adults with special needs are known in the congregation. Groups of children and youth will be supervised by two non-related, non-cohabitating adults, and each supervising adult will be four years older or more than the oldest child or youth in the group.
Safe Sanctuaries training stresses the importance of face to face training and conversation when online training is used. The opportunity to talk through case studies or issues specific to a particular context is imperative so that each person working with the most vulnerable has an understanding of what is expected.
Not putting appropriate policies, procedures, and guidelines in place allows for the risks of abuse to increase. Congregations who develop and live into Safe Sanctuaries find it a deterrent to predators who are looking for easy access to the vulnerable. Each congregation needs to honor children, youth, and adults with special needs enough to protect them from bodily harm, emotional damage, and spiritual destruction.
- If you are interested in working with children, youth, and adults with special needs you must go through training. Call Rev. Deborah Suddarth at (901) 853-8383.
- If you have already been through a classroom training session and would like to renew a certification, click above for the quiz.
Anyone who has access to or works with children, youth, or adults with special needs will have a background check prior to interaction with them. The initial check should cover seven years prior to service with subsequent background checks every two years. Background checks include but are not limited to criminal record checks, sexual predatory list checks, social security number check, and address history check.