SafeChurch Participates in Federal Roundtable

Samaritan SafeChurch Participates in Federal Roundtable on Ending Child Sexual Abuse

DC Linda on panel at DOJ 12-16On December 19, Linda Crockett, Director of Samaritan Counseling Center’s SafeChurch/SafePlaces program, participated with other leaders from the Just Beginnings Collaborative Cohort (JBC) in a roundtable in Washington DC hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. Based in Brooklyn, JBC strengthens the capacity of leaders and organizations working to build a movement to end child sexual abuse.

The meeting of 17 JBC activists doing community based and culturally specific work to end child sexual abuse was attended by staff from several additional Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

Crockett’s panel focused on shifting the culture in youth-serving institutions from a liability oriented approach emphasizing background checks and legal compliance to proactive engagement in protecting children through open and ongoing discussion with all stakeholders, transparency, and comprehensive education. Citing her own work in Samaritan’s SafeChurch program, she noted: “the reputations of our institutions are too often prioritized over the safety of children and justice for survivors. Sexual abuse is a systemic problem, and can’t be addressed simply by focusing on individual offenders and victims.”

The majority of the JBC cohort are public survivors of child sexual abuse, and their personal stories, which serve as catalysts for the national leadership roles they have stepped into, were woven into the discussions during the day as they described the complex, nuanced work needed to end child sexual abuse.

The goal for the meeting was to establish a shared understanding and foundation for exploration of long-term strategies that move beyond individual healing for survivors, mandated reporting, and punitive measures for offenders. Crockett remains hopeful. “Protecting children from sexual harm is not a partisan issue. In this highly polarized political climate, one thing nearly everyone agrees on is that it simply is no longer acceptable that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused.”

Samaritan SafeChurch facilitates a culture-changing process in congregations and judicatories in the Susquehanna Valley, and engages people of faith within and beyond the church. Its national training program equips leaders in other locations to facilitate the SafeChurch process they designed. For more information on Samaritan SafeChurch, click here.

SafeChurch Focus

Building. . .

a faith-based movement to end Child Sexual Abuse

Moving. . .

beyond first generation “safe church policies and training” to shifting culture to inspire and equip adults to protect children from sexual harm in church and community

Connecting. . .

with others sharing a vision where people of faith take leadership to end the conditions that allow one in four girls and one in six boys to be sexually abused

Engaging. . .

survivors as sources of wisdom and leaders

Partnering. . .

with the Just Beginnings Collaborative to End Child Sexual Abuse