A Guide to Sexual Abuse Prevention in Religious Organizations

Sexual abuse is a serious concern in religious organizations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been the subject of multiple lawsuits over sexual assault, and some have argued that the church’s policies are not stringent enough to protect victims. This article examines how sexual abuse prevention policies are being implemented in religious organizations, including the Mormon Church.

The counseling sexually abused clients pdf is a guide that was produced by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. It provides information on how to help people who have been sexually abused in religious organizations.


As more victims of sexual assault come forward with accusations, religious groups are focusing their efforts on preventing sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse is more common than previously believed. According to the child abuse prevention group Darkness to Light, almost one out of every ten children will be sexually abused before they reach 18, and 60 percent of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone about the assault.

Coming out with accusations of sexual abuse may not be a safe or feasible choice for many survivors (particularly children) for a long time after the abuse occurs, or they may not even be able to comprehend or understand what occurred to them. Child sexual abuse may have a long-term impact on survivors, leading to drug addiction, PTSD, despair, and other issues.

According to RAINN, the overwhelming majority of children (about 93 percent) are abused by an adult they know, typically via a religious group or another trusted institution (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

What Role Do Religious Organizations Play in Sexual Abuse Prevention?

Faith groups, according to the child sex abuse prevention organization Stop It Now, must understand that children may be at danger of harm. Despite the fact that the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church has garnered national news, sexual abuse among believers happens in all religions.

According to Stop It Now, every religious community should have a policy in place to prevent sexual abuse. Many child-serving organizations have implemented a “two adult rule” to guarantee that no kid is ever left alone with only one adult. If a one-on-one contact with a kid is required, child advocates recommend having such sessions where others can observe, if not hear, the encounter.

“If a kid requires spiritual counseling, it would be acceptable to establish a policy that any contact between an adult and a child take place in the presence of others,” Stop It Now suggests.

How Can Religious Organizations Prevent Sexual Abuse?

Nobody wants to believe that their kid might be a victim of sexual abuse at any time and in any place. However, the blind confidence that some believers put in persons of religion may be exploited by those in positions of authority.

Many victims of sexual assault, whether they were priests, scout leaders, church volunteers, or youth organization leaders, admired and adored the offenders. The common factor is that each of the perpetrators had a position of authority that children would be reluctant to challenge.

Programs to Prevent Sexual Abuse

Several organizations provide online and in-person trainings to assist people avoid, identify, and respond to accusations of child sexual abuse.

Stewards of Children is a two-hour training session offered by Darkness to Light that teaches people how to successfully prevent and report child sexual abuse. Educators who underwent Stewards of Children training boosted their reporting of previously undetected child sexual abuse by 82 percent in the 12 months after the program, according to a Texas research.

GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has launched a Safeguarding Initiative to assist churches, schools, and other faith communities in implementing “best practices” programs to safeguard vulnerable members and address the root causes of abuse.

According to the GRACE website, GRACE Certification Specialists are mental health professionals, former prosecutors, and pastors who offer on-site building risk assessments and expert training for every church group, including leaders, adults, adolescents, and children. GRACE also outlines measures for the religious community to do in order to provide a healing atmosphere for victims of abuse.

The United Nations Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women and Girls gives religious groups advice on how to have a positive impact.

1631369455_309_A-Guide-to-Sexual-Abuse-Prevention-in-Religious-OrganizationsThe Centre encourages religious groups to create a resource for members who have been victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic abuse, or stalking in their church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Leaders of religious groups should get training from specialists who deal with such victims, according to the Centre, in order to be better equipped to assist their members.

Some religious groups form partnerships with local sexual assault and domestic abuse organizations to provide a safe haven for individuals who want to integrate their religion into their recovery.

Faith-based organizations are also urged to establish policies that offer appropriate responses to both victims and abusers, as well as to educate leaders on the significance of confidentiality and the reporting procedures for child abuse. A reporting process should be in place for any clergy or spiritual leadership wrongdoing.

Religious Authoritarians Engage in Sexual Grooming, According to Researchers

Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, and Susan Raine, a sociologist at MacEwan University, investigated how individuals in positions of power within religions nurture their victims.

Raine discussed their findings with a University of Alberta reporter.

Raine stated that some abusers spend months or years to build a connection with a kid or adolescent with the intention of sexually assaulting them. According to Raine, the religious authoritarian typically begins by caressing the victim in non-sexual ways, gradually progressing to sexual, but the innocent kid may not understand the development is abusive or may believe he or she has given permission.

“Abusers rely not only on their adult positions of power and authority, which is powerful in and of itself,” Raine said, “but also on claims about God’s will – the ultimate indisputable authority for religious believers – and a figure who may inspire terror as well as wonder and love.”

The accusations of sexual abuse may appear implausible to the family at first because the abuser has become such a familiar person to the abused kid and the child’s family, she added.

While Raine does not want society to see all religious leaders as evil actors, she does believe that sexual abuse prevention is more about the risks posed by someone who is familiar to the family and frequently trusted. Predators may appear in the shape of a community leader, coach, or family, and are not limited to religious groups.

Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse

In states throughout the nation, a rising number of victims of childhood sexual abuse are coming forward with accusations of their assault. Survivors have brought lawsuits against their abusers as well as the institutions that they claim enabled the abuse by neglecting to safeguard victims or deliberately covering it up. So far, lawsuits have been brought against the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious groups.

If you were sexually abused by a clergy member, church leader, volunteer, or fellow student, you may be able to hold the institution and people responsible for the abuse accountable, even if the abuse occurred years or decades ago.

Bringing a case, particularly one involving something as horrific as child sex abuse, may be intimidating, but Top Class Actions works with lawyers who have expertise filing sexual abuse claims. An expert lawyer can assist you in determining if you have a claim, navigating the intricacies of litigation, and maximizing your possible reward. Don’t put off holding a wrongdoer accountable for their acts for another day.

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