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Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Empowering Adults and Children through Education

EMPOWERING ADULTS

Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse: Introduction to What Churches Can Do

The gospel calls us to engage in ministry with children and youth. Yet any organization involved with children is a place where abuse could occur, as well as a place where children who have been abused in other settings may participate. Tragically, churches have not always been safe places where children can be nurtured in their faith and grow strong, or where they can disclose abuse that has occurred somewhere else. In this one-hour session, participants are introduced to the key elements that can help congregations respond to the challenge of protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual abuse, including developing policies, education for adults and children, on-going training for staff, and safety procedures and guidelines.

Open Communication between Parents and Children: The Best Prevention

PREVENTION of child sexual abuse is a process of both education and understanding. Just as it is crucial we understand the steps perpetrators take to engage children in sexual acts, it is equally vital we practice and encourage open dialogue with our children beginning at a very early age. In this one hour session, parents and others learn how to explore their own attitudes, give children age appropriate, accurate information about their bodies, teach children about the continuum of touch, talk to children about personal safety, and communicate values.

EMPOWERING OUR CHILDREN THROUGH CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

One of the most effective ways to prevent sexual abuse is by educating children about what it is, how it happens, how to recognize danger signs, and what to do if it occurs. The Faith Trust Institute has developed excellent Christian Education curriculums for children ages 5 -8; ages 9-12; and teens. We help you to prepare your congregation, parents and teachers for introduction of the curriculums; train your teachers; and provide additional sessions for processing and discussion as the curriculums are implemented if desired. The central piece in each session is the Biblical story.

Major themes include:

  • I am a child of God.
  • My body belongs to me.
  • My feelings are a part of God’s creation.
  • My feels are clues about what is happening to me.
  • I can say “NO”!
  • God will comfort me.
  • No one has the right to touch me and make me feel bad.
  • God cares about the suffering of people.
  • I have learned ways to protect myself.
  • God gives me strength.
  • I can talk to a trusted adult.
  • The church can be a place to go for help.
  • People who have hurt someone should be sorry for what they have done.

Older group adds:

  • I have rights and responsibilities
  • Just because others do something doesn’t mean its right for me

HOW IT WORKS

Step 1:
This two-hour session helps to prepare teachers and parents for introduction of the curriculums. Participants view and discuss the powerful video Bless Our Children, which depicts one congregation’s quest to implement a curriculum of sexual abuse prevention into their children’s religious education. The video and discussion includes practical methods to educate others in the congregation about the need for and appropriateness of such a curriculum; strategies to address possible resistance; and actual classroom examples and case studies.

Step 2:
We schedule a 2.5-hour training session for your teachers. The first hour focuses on defining child sexual abuse, recognizing signs, the grooming process, mandated reporting, and what do to when a child discloses. The second hour focuses on the curriculums and teaching methods. During this period of time, the church may also want to schedule additional educational sessions for adults on child sexual abuse prevention.

Step 3:
You schedule one or more groups of children to study the curriculums, which range from 6 – 10 weeks. If requested, we will come in mid-course and hold a discussion with parents or other interested members of the congregation. We will also, at your request, schedule a de-briefing session for the teachers after conclusion of the courses.

Total Hours: 4.5 – 7

To learn more about the curriculums or to purchase, go to Faith Trust Institute.

For more information, contact Linda Crockett, Director of Clergy & Congregation Care, at 717.560.9991 or email Linda

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