Angela Lewton: How to Predator-Proof Your Ministry From Child Abusers

Children are vulnerable! That’s why as children’s ministry leaders you have the responsibility of doing all you can to protect those in your care. It’s a big task, but up-to-date information and suggestions can help assist your organization reduce risk and increase child safety.

What to Know

Unfortunately, whenever children gather together on a consistent basis it will attract predators. Many organizations go to great lengths to provide the highest level of safety because current statistics surrounding abuse are alarming. For example:

  • Over 859,500 registered sex offenders in the U.S. alone
  • Only 3 percent of sexual offenders have a chance of getting caught
  • Over 80 percent of child victims know their abusers

These statistics illustrate that predators are everywhere, and the problem shows no sign of slowing down. Oftentimes, organizations work off a set of false assumptions, and the “It’ll never happen here mentality” becomes the norm. False assumptions include:

  • Abuse will never happen in our facility. It only happens in places like [X], you insert the descriptor.
  • I know everyone around me. They’re friends, coworkers, family, people I see almost every day.
  • Our facility is safe for kids, why would someone target us?
  • Predators are monsters! I’d know one if I saw one.

It’s these false assumptions that cause organizations to put their guard down and become a possible target for someone wanting to harm a child.

So how can organizations take a proactive stance to protect themselves and communicate clearly they will not be passive about child safety?

Key Steps in Protecting Children

  • Establish a Child Protection Policy that outlines the policy for reporting abuse and any other policy violations.
  • Complete a background check on everyone that comes in direct contact with children. For long-term employees or volunteers repeat the check every 18-24 months.
  • Be consistent and follow the organization’s established policies. Make no exceptions, no matter how well you know the adult.
  • Become familiar with mandated child abuse reporting laws in your state.
  • Educate staff and volunteers.
  • Always have a secure check-in & check-out process.

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Leaders