Over the last 15 to 20 years, the world has been rocked by repeated revelations of adults abusing their positions of power and trust to harm children, both within religious organizations and other contexts. We are committed to stamping out this scourge on our world. Children are some of the most precious and vulnerable among us, and Jesus Christ commanded us to care for the vulnerable.
As part of our commitment to this project, we are focused on the following strategies:
- Teaching healthy, safe boundaries. This can start as early as kindergarten with talking about bodily autonomy and respect for others. Children should know what is and is not appropriate contact between themselves and their friends, family, and other adults.
- Creating effective, efficient reporting mechanisms within religious communities. Each religious community should have a documented reporting procedure for allegations of abuse and multiple points of review and command. This will reduce the likelihood of problems being swept under the rug by a single administrator.
- Raising awareness of resources available to children and parents. Printed materials should be made available to parents at enrollment in any Christian education or Sunday School program, and informational meetings should be held throughout the school year. Parents should know who to talk to if a problem arises.
- Educating our communities about sexual abuse prevention. Each April is child abuse prevention month, and it is a perfect opportunity for communities to talk about this crucial issue, evaluate what they’re doing to protect their children, and develop new plans for continued improvement.
Working together and increasing transparency are essential to protecting our children and other vulnerable populations. Help us in our mission by connecting with ECCE leadership and learning more about how you can implement these important steps in your religious community.