|In The Spotlight!|
(From the July 2013 edition of HopeSpeak)
Denomination: Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA)
Does the organization have a clergy sexual abuse policy in place? If yes, where can this policy be found (provide URL, mailing address if a copy must be requested, etc.)?
How/where can victims or members of the congregation find out about the policy and proper procedures for reporting abuse? Is there a specific person or office to contact?
Specially trained Safe Church Team members also provide the Advisory Panel Process—used in situations of church leader abuse or misconduct. Someone who has been victimized by a CRCNA pastor or church leader can request an Advisory Panel by contacting a church council member, a Safe Church team member, or the Safe Church Ministry office directly. This process provides a more neutral “listening panel” of people who are not involved directly in the situation. The panel hears both sides, and then submits a report of its findings about the veracity and gravity of the allegation to the council of the accused. It is then up to the church council to take appropriate action. The guidelines also provide a course of appeal.
Does your organization’s policy include the abuse of vulnerable adults, as well as children?
In addition, we are promoting a safe environment program called “Circle of Grace”. We are subsidizing the costs of that program to make it easier for churches in our denomination use it. We believe it is one of the best faith-based tools available for building communities of respect and preventing abuse. More information about “Circle of Grace” can be found on our website by clicking on the sidebar “Education is the Best Prevention.
Of course, in the case of any suspected abuse or neglect involving a minor or vulnerable adult, our recommendation would be to report to the proper authorities immediately.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank “The Hope of Survivors”. We have a link to your website on our website. I have also referred many people to your site—it is an excellent resource. Thank you again for all you do. May the Lord add his blessing to your good work.
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