(From the July 2012 edition of HopeSpeak)
Denomination: The Episcopal Church
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.)?
The Episcopal Church has a 30-year tradition of actively focusing on responding to this important issue. In 1985, the Episcopal Church General Convention—the Church’s legislative body—passed its first resolution on the topic. Since then, several very substantive measures have been passed by subsequent General Conventions. At the most recent General Convention in 2009, the procedures for discipline of clergy accused of such violations were amended.
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?
An Office of Pastoral Development of the House of Bishops oversees a process of providing trained professional responders in a timely manner to parishes and dioceses dealing with situations involving clergy abuse.
Parishes and dioceses may access the Church Pension Group website for sample policies for their adoption which cover all aspects of this topic. You may access this web page by clicking on this link: https://www.cpg.org/administrators/insurance/preventing-sexual-misconduct/overview/.
In addition, the Church Insurance Agency Corporation, a part of the Church Pension Group, has worked with Praesidium, Inc. (http://www.praesidiuminc.com/) to create both live and online training options entitled Safeguarding God’s People. There are three major modules: Preventing Sexual Exploitation in Communities of Faith, Preventing Child Sexual Abuse, and Preventing Sexual Harassment of Church Workers.
There is a system in place that provides for the reporting of allegations of abuse by an individual. The individual may report to an appropriate member of the parish pastoral staff or the parish institutional leadership. If the nature of the allegations makes such reporting inappropriate, the individual could report their allegations to the Diocesan Office. A third option would be to report their allegations directly to the Episcopal Church.
Does your organization’s policy include the abuse of vulnerable adults, as well as children?
The Episcopal Church has expanded its response to this issue to include not only abuse inflicted by members of the clergy, but abuse by any person associated with the Episcopal Church who fills a role which places them in charge of any activities involving children and adults.
Submitted By and Position:
Neva Rae Fox
OFFICER, PUBLIC AFFAIRS Communication
The Episcopal Church
Phone: (212) 716-6080