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Safe Sanctuaries Training for First Church Newark

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Transcript of Safe Sanctuaries Training for First Church Newark

Opening Prayer
Gracious and most merciful God, You have brought us together in witness to Your love of all children. Open our hearts and minds in this moment and prepare us to receive your message.

Show us Your will, and fill us to overflowing with courage to face the reality of child abuse. Give us energy and dedication enough to make this, Your church, a holy and hallowed place where all Your children may be safe and secure as they grow in faith and in their knowledge of Your presence in their lives. Amen.
Biblical Mandate
“Today we must remember that our churches are holy places of sanctuary for the children of God. Our Churches must continue to be places where people of all ages can come together for worship, study, and service, with the assurance that they are safe and secure in the community of faith.”

(Joy Thornburg Melton, Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth, © 2008 Discipleship Resources, p. 7)
Scripture Readings
Exodus 22:21-23 (The Message):

Matthew 19:13-15 (The Message):

Luke 19:46-48 (The Message):
“... any organization involved with children and youth is a place where abuse could occur.” Consider these risk factors:

Churches behave as relatively trusting organizations, relying upon members and leaders to act appropriately.
In more than 85% of reported incidents of abuse the perpetrator was someone the child already knew and trusted.
Churches don’t always take screening of volunteers and/or employees seriously.
Churches routinely provide opportunities for close contact between adults and children/youth.

Abuse can happen anywhere. Anytime. Anybody. We need to be intentional to work to prevent child abuse.

“While a church cannot guarantee the safety of every person, every church can be responsible for reducing the circumstances that could lead to harm or injury.”
(Melton, p. 33)
The Church at Risk
At least 2 trained unrelated adults (18 years of age or older) who have been part of the congregation at least 6 months (unless they are part of an outside program like Freedom School, Boy Scouts, etc.) shall be present at all times during any function, program, and/or activity sponsored by FUMC involving youth, children, or vulnerable adults.
There must be a span of at least 3 years between the age of the children/youth and the volunteer/staff member.
All classrooms will have an unblocked window in the door.
The classroom door will remain open if one adult needs to leave the room for a brief moment.
FUMC Staff & volunteers must always avoid the appearance of impropriety. They must take precautions to avoid being alone with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult. Individual counseling should be conducted in an environment that provides visibility to at least one other adult.
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
During the Baptismal ritual, parents, sponsors and the congregation are all examined as to their willingness to raise the child(ren) in the way that leads to faith. The child is named and baptized, and then the child is presented to the congregation. It is at this point, that the congregation accepts a holy responsibility in this child’s life. The entire congregation responds:

With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal. (UMH Baptismal Covenant III, p.48-49)
Precedent Set at
the Baptismal Ritual
Safe Sanctuaries Training
for First Church Newark

The First United Methodist Church is committed to following the Safe Sanctuaries Policy and its procedures
in order to provide the best environment for all God's people to thrive and grow. This is simply one more way to take seriously the words of covenant we share each time we baptize a child, youth, or adult: "We will surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness that they may grow in their trust of God."

The First Church policy is available in every second floor classroom and in the second floor gathering space.

Questions? Email our First Church Office Administrator, Vicki Miller (vmiller@firstchurchnewark.org).

Now that you've finished the presentation,
please click on the completion form link below:
filling out this form will
verify that you have completed this digital training, and that you agree to follow First Church's Safe Sanctuaries Policy:

In the Baptismal covenant, we are pledging to live God-honoring lives that lead the child to the life of faith. We commit to support the parents in leading their child. We are promising to keep our church a holy and safe place in which children of all backgrounds may come to know God and experience His love.

When we take seriously our own pledge, we are in essence, vowing to make our churches a place where child abuse does not happen.
Our Pledge to the Children at Our Church
(ref. National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect)
When Safe Sanctuaries was first published (1998), there were 2 million incidents of abuse reported each year. As of 2008, 3 million incidents were being reported each year; this equates to:

8,219 children abused every day
343 children abused per hour
about 6 children abused per minute
one child abused every 10 seconds

Among 18 year-olds, 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 7 boys have been abused (these are only the ones that were reported!) (Melton, p. 34).
Preventing Abuse: Statistical Information
"abuse in which a person deliberately and intentionally causes bodily harm to a child. Examples may include violent battery with a weapon (knife, belt, strap, etc.), burning, shaking, kicking, choking, fracturing bones, and any of a wide variety of non-accidental injuries to a child’s body.”

Signs of
Physical Abuse
hostile or aggressive behavior
fearfulness of parents or other adults
destructive behavior
inexplicable fractures or bruises
burns, facial injuries, or pattern of repetitious bruises
What is Abuse
and How Can We Recognize It?
“abuse in which a person exposes a child to spoken and/or unspoken violence or emotional cruelty. Emotional abuse sends a message to the child of worthlessness, badness, and being not only unloved but undeserving of love and care. Children exposed to emotional abuse may have experienced being locked in a closet, being deprived of any sign of parental affection, being constantly told they are bad or stupid, or being allowed or forced to abuse alcohol or drugs. Emotional abuse is often very difficult to prove and is devastating to the victim.”

Signs of
Emotional Abuse
severe depression and/or withdrawal
severe lack of self-esteem
failure to thrive
suicidal attempts or threats
speech and/or eating disorders
extremes in seeking adult approval
extreme passive/aggressive behavior
What is Abuse
and How Can We Recognize It?
Neglect Abuse:
“abuse in which a person endangers a child’s health, safety or welfare through negligence. Neglect may include withholding food, clothing, medical care, education, and even affection and affirmation of the child’s self-worth. This is perhaps the most common form of abuse.”

Signs of
Neglect Abuse
failure to thrive
pattern of inappropriate dress for climate
chronic hunger; begs/steals food
untreated medical conditions
poor hygiene
What is Abuse
and How Can We Recognize It?
Sexual Abuse:
“abuse in which sexual contact between a child and an adult (or an older, more powerful youth) occurs. The child is never truly capable of consenting to or resisting such contact and/or such sexual acts. Often, the child is physically and psychologically dependent upon the perpetrator or the abuse. Examples of sexual abuse may include fondling, intercourse, incest, and the exploitation of and exposure to child pornography or prostitution.”

Signs of
Sexual Abuse
unusually advanced sexual knowledge and/or behavior for age
depression~ cries without reason
promiscuous behavior
runs away from home and refuses to return
difficulty sitting or walking
bruised/bleeding in genital area
frequent headaches, stomach aches
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
unusual anxiety about being left in nursery or SS class
reluctance to participate in church activities
comments like “I don’t want to be alone with…”
nightmares about childcare workers/teacher
unexplained hostility to teacher/adult
What is Abuse
and How Can We Recognize It?
Ritual Abuse:
“abuse in which physical, sexual, or psychological violations of a child are inflicted regularly, intentionally, and in a stylized way by a person or persons responsible for the child’s welfare. The abuser may appeal to some higher authority or power to justify the abuse. The abuse may include cruel treatment of animals or repeated threats of harm to the child, other persons, and animals. Reports of ritual abuse are often extremely horrifying and may seem too grim to be true. Children making such reports must not be ignored.”

Signs of
Ritual Abuse
disruptions of memory or consciousness
unexplained mistrust and mood swings
eating disorders
fear of the dark
agitation or despair~ occur in cycles
fear of ministers, priests, or others wearing robes or uniforms
nightmares or sleep disorders
any of the symptoms of sexual abuse
“To prevent child abuse in our churches, we must not only recognize signs of abuse, but we must recognize that the abusers of our children are more often than not familiar adults trusted by the children.” Less than 20 % of child abuse is perpetrated by strangers; that means, then, that
most of the time the victim was related to or acquainted with the abuser.

Abusers come from all segments of society. They can be found in any part, regardless of race, economics, ethnicity, or social status. They look just like us. Some are charismatic. Some are sociable. Some are very compassionate toward children. Some are married and have children. Some are young. Some are older adults. They may be Sunday School teachers, nursery workers, preschool teachers, children’s choir helpers, Vacation Bible School leaders, camp counselors, youth counselors, pastors or anyone else.
What is Abuse
and How Can We Recognize It?
Who Are the Abusers?
Every serious incident that results in physical injury (including any cut that is worse than a paper cut; bruises, bumps, or falls; nosebleeds, etc.) will be reported as follows:
a verbal report of the incident will be
given to the First Church Administrator of Family & Youth Ministries, or the pastor
a written report will be completed utilizing the Incident Report Form: copies of this form are available in the Safe Sanctuaries folder in each of the second floor classrooms and in the second floor gathering space; the form will be filled out and submitted to the First Church Administrator of Family & Youth Ministries and the pastor as soon as practicable following the injury
Children younger than six years of age should be assisted
in the restroom by an adult as needed. Elementary school age children should be escorted to the restroom by an adult. Adults escorting children to the restroom should first check to make sure the restroom is safe and then wait outside the restroom for the child(ren).
All children or youth participating in overnight activities will have the written consent of a parent or guardian. Overnight mixed gender activities will be supervised by at least 2 males and 2 females.
For overnight trips, there will be two adults for each gender that is going. There should be separate rooms for the adults and the children and youth. If that is not possible, the adults sleep in a different part of the room from the children and/or youth.
Staff & volunteers will release children in their care only to parents, guardians, or other authorized persons.
Staff & volunteers will use positive reinforcement, positive redirection, and parent conferences to discipline children and youth. No inappropriate language or corporal punishment will be permitted under any circumstances, including but not limited to spanking, hitting, grabbing, or shaking.
Every incident of alleged or suspected abuse and/or neglect of a child, youth, or vulnerable adult will be immediately reported to each of the following:
First Church's Director of Family & Youth Ministries
First Church's Lead Pastor
County Children's Services Agency and/or the Police or Sheriff Department

This reporting is done by the person having
first-hand knowledge of the suspected abuse/neglect.

Every person having knowledge of any incident of alleged or suspected child abuse will submit a written report to the lead pastor following the incident. See the Safe Sanctuaries Policy (in the second floor Gathering Space and classrooms) for exactly what this report should include.
The pastor or the pastor's designee will immediately report any incident of alleged or suspected abuse to the parent(s) or guardian of the child, youth, or vulnerable adult involved, the First United Methodist Church's insurer, the Leadership Chairperson, and, as appropriate, the Staff Parish Relations representative. Otherwise, this information is kept in strict confidence.

Any incident of alleged or suspected child or youth abuse involving a pastor will also be reported immediately to the District Superintendent.

Communications with the media concerning any incident of alleged or suspected abuse must be made only by a First Church-designated spokesperson.
To this end we have provided trained, loving, caring, nurturing individuals to serve as Sunday School teachers, Bible School teachers, choir directors and helpers. We have sought to create a sacred space for learning, growing and caring. We have shown our love and care by giving time in worship each week for the children to learn something of God‘s love and grace. We have developed ministries for children and youth in order to meet the needs of our families.

We have attempted to be as loving, caring and nurturing as possible in all that we do.
Living Out Our Pledge
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
Supervision (cont.)
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
Reporting Physical Injury
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
Reporting Alleged or
Suspected Abuse
A person
of any incident of alleged or suspected child abuse will not be permitted to volunteer at any child or youth activity until the incident has been fully investigated and a determination has been made by the First Church Lead Pastor and staff person in that ministry area that no actual abuse occurred.

having committed actual abuse of a child, youth, or vulnerable adult will not be permitted to supervise or have interaction with children, youth, or vulnerable adults from that point forward. A covenantal relationship must be arranged if he/she wants to return to church. A covenant may be designed to allow them to return to worship, with appropriate parameters and behavior monitoring as determined by the First Church's
Lead Pastor and Leadership Chairperson.
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
Reporting Alleged or
Suspected Abuse (cont.)
First Church's
Safe Sanctuaries Policy:
Reporting Alleged or
Suspected Abuse (cont.)
Abusers are usually
people who have greater power in relation to a child, and who use that power to harm a child
. Victims are usually vulnerable. The abuser gains power over a child in one of several ways: size, position, knowledge, money,… indeed, there is an
imbalance of power

When a child’s vulnerability and an abuser’s misuse of power combine with the opportunity to exploit the child without being discovered, then child sexual abuse may, and often does, occur.
Imbalance of Power
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