Faith communities offer children wonderful opportunities to develop spiritually and to be part of a larger, caring community. Close caring relationships with adults are an important protective factor “>There is no such thing as a “typical” sex offender.

Protect your faith community by speaking out

Openly addressing the potential risk of sexual abuse taking place within your faith community can protect both children and your community. Some people think that simply by talking openly about the potential risk of sexual abuse occurring within the community, they are sending a message that children are not safe there. The opposite is true. Child sexual abuse thrives in an atmosphere of silence and denial “>i background from working or volunteering in the community.

Limits of background checks

However, criminal background checks will only bring to the surface people whose sexual abuse was reported to authorities, and who were prosecuted and convicted with a criminal sexual offense. Law enforcement estimates that 88% of sexual abuse is never reported to authorities. This means that nine of ten people who have sexually abused children will not have a criminal background.

Comprehensive policies are needed

In addition to background checks, comprehensive policies and practices can be your best protection against children being harmed in your faith community. These policies make it clear that your organization is committed to creating a safe environment free of sexual abuse. See the links below for information on creating a policy for your faith community.

Culled from