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Sexual Misconduct, Child Abuse, Sexual Harassment Litigation And Accusations, The Critical Cause, Neglect
Sexual Misconduct, Child Abuse, Sexual Harassment Litigation And Accusations, The Critical Cause, Neglect

Sexual Misconduct, Child Abuse, Sexual Harassment Litigation and Accusation, The Critical Cause, Neglect

Assisting ministries with developing, perserving and restoring trust, with excellence.

As a person boards an airplane today, they may find the screening and checking which is required bothersome, but most would not think of boarding without it being done, because of their perceived view of the risk involved today. In like manor people are likely to avoid attending or working with your ministry when these are missing for the same reasons. We believe effective risk management is necessary for a ministry to be dynamic and growing today. We offer to assist your ministry with time saving up to date information, suggested safeguards and other written procedures, workshop at your ministry location, that are effective in bringing your risks into a more manageable position.

The area of sexual misconduct has caused and is causing a growing issue for ministries today in our culture. You may think this to be something that would be more of an issue for larger ministries, but it affects all sizes and denominations. Many ministries believe no one in their ministry would do such, but they forget the bigger issue of today's culture, accusations which can happen to anyone when your "safeguards" are missing. Too often, these issues involve ministries with less then 200 attendees. We have seen many for ministries under 50. Larger ministries are more inclined to have procedures "safeguards" in place, where as those of 200 or less do not. Far too often smaller ministries believe they know everyone and have few children, and should not be bothered to take necessary precautions.

Today's culture produces some interesting people that can surprise even the most dedicated in your ministry. Usually those you might feel look like they could be likely offenders are not, and those least suspected are. This includes those that may have been involved in your ministry for years, and then it surfaces. A careless choice at the wrong time, involving the wrong person, in the wrong place can produce some very painful results. Erroneous assumptions can be the cause of some issues that could have been avoided with some proactive procedures "safeguards" agreed to and put in place before something surfaced.

  • Critical points to understand for today's culture, the courts believe children under age 18 do not lie about these issues.
  • Another critical point, realizating that accusations can surface when an individual has something again you and you allow such a person to put you in a compromising position when they know your "safeguards" are missing, by being in the wrong place, with the wrong person, at the wrong time, and thus doing the wrong thing.
  • Effective checks and balance developed for your safeguards are critical elements for your staff and those who attend.
  • You can choose to learn from the experiences of others or your own, the choice is yours. Note I Thess 5:22 ...abstain from all appearance of evil.
  • Lastly, today's courts are not very kind to ministries lacking written procedures that they follow.

Today it is critical that the ministry's risk factor probability and consequences for their possible frequency and severity is balanced with possible financial and procedural prevention resources which fit the resources of the ministry.

*Today's thirteen critical issues surrounding ministry sexual misconduct, child abuse, and sexual harassment litigation and ACCUSATIONS, which can CAUSE THE ULTIMATE MELT DOWN OF YOUR MINISTRY because of neglect. All are based on neglect, the fertile environment for the development of litigation. Your ministry can bring effective control over these issues of neglect by being proactive and working with developing, preserving, and restoring trust, without ministry compromise and done with excellence.

  1. Neglecting, screening and background checks. At risk, prudent practices for hiring paid staff and volunteers that can develop liability issues.

A signed release is necessary. We suggest this for all ministry leaders. Please note our web site for the critical elements that should be included in your release. http://www.phelpsfinancial.com/risk/religious/employeevolunteer

2. Neglecting, child to adult ratios.

A minimums of 2 adults over age 18 for each 20 children under age 18 and 1 added adult for each added 10 or portion thereof and for children age 3 and under, a ratio of 1 to 2.

3. Neglecting, attendance records.

For children 18 and under for all ministry events whether formal or informal events on the ministry calendar, any sponsored event should be included, even informal practice times.

4. Neglecting, disengagement from ministry leadership.

Ministry leadership disengagement by the accused is critical until the issues are settled.

5. Neglecting, written procedures that properly defined critical terms and read by leaders..

We believe it critical to define your terms. Neglecting to do so will allow the court to do that for you which can define them in such a way you may not appreciate or fit your theology. Definitions should be written according to what your church theology teaching is and backed with quoted scripture for their bases. As critical, all ministry leaders should sign and date a form that documents they have read your procedures and agree to abide by them which the ministry should keep indefinitely. This should be an annual event for all ministry leaders whether fulltime or part-time, paid or volunteer.

6. Negecting, to follow written procedures. At issue, possible self incrimination

7. Neglecting, proper treatment of the accused and the possible violated or victimized persons. At issue, possible prudent issues.

8. Neglecting, data security and privacy, including quality backups that meet privacy issues, data should be kept indefinately for only those that need to know. At issue, possible criminal litigation for data security.

9. Neglecting, a knowledgeable watch eye for persons of high accusation potential and its enviromental causes with possible effective defusig plans. At issue, accisatons without validity.

10. Neglecting, effective, timely, and acceriate communication by a properly trained person which is prepared to cover issues during and then the following 90 days after an event to properly set that which must follow. At issue, uninformed and missing communication can result is a building issue of disctruction and possible added litigation.

11. Neglecting, prudence for known, accused, or convicted persons. They should not allow to be placed in the same position to reduce a possible repeating issue. Forgiveness and restoration is one thing within the ministry but the culture and the legal system will be very unforgiving should a repeating issue for the same person present itself which could result. At issue, punitivge litigation, criminal charges again leaders and mounds of growing distruction.

12. Neglecting, effective checks and balances for ministry standards, safeguards and procedures for your staff and those who attend are critical today. The lack of the checks and balances will leave your staff with missing security and a missing desire to serve. Those that attend may feel possible issues of missing trust and security. These neglects can provide an enviroment for possible false accusationss or missed reporting. The accountability of each ministry worker is ncessary as well as accountability of those who attend. For a dynamic and growing ministry today both ministry workers and those who attend must be in the frame of mind with agreeable expectations that are written and followed, and a spirit of willingness to work together. It is a big decision to offer to be a leader in a ministry today as well as a big step for those who attend, choosing a ministry they feel they can trust to meet their needs. 13. Neglecting, timely and proper reporting as required by your state.

Proper reporting requires, a report of the facts to your ministry risk manager who should report these to your insurance agent, and then if required to legal authorities as required by your state laws. Neglecting to do such could cause one who knows, a bad liability issue and a legal issue which could include for some prison time. You need to know what your state laws are regarding this area. State specific reporting requirements can be reviewed at this location click here to link. The national gov't offical site for this information updated regularly.

Properly secured records are critical. Only persons that need to know should be able to review. In reviewing these six items please keep in mind your ministry can dramatically reduce possible risks factors for these neglects. Are your written procedures in place and your term properly defined? Is your data properly secured?

*Please be reminded of the terms of use for material on our web site. We offer risk management information which we trust will provoke action. We are not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services, safety, inspection, health inspections, or lawful considerations. Therefore, we urge you to have all material that you might use, to be reviewed with your legal and other professionals before use.

Rev. 04/12/07

Last updated on Sun, 11/27/2005 - 00:46.
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