Saturday, April 26, 2008

Protection Program Helps Keep Children Safe In Church

A Christian media ministry with a passion to keep children safe from sexual abuse released a new resource that will help churches and ministries properly screen, train and oversee the people who work with children.

Since the 1980s, when a surge of child sexual abuse cases in churches surfaced, allegations of abuse by clergy have decreased, yet allegations of abuse by church lay leaders and volunteers have risen sharply. Last year, more than 300 incidents were reported within church or ministry organizations, and in half of these cases the perpetrator was a volunteer or paid staff member. The reason? Many child sex offenders seek out welcoming environments where there is easy access to minors.

According to Richard Hammar, church law expert and the legal counsel for the national headquarters of the Assemblies of God, "Many churches and faith-based youth organizations still fail to implement proper screening processes for their workers and adequate training of staff and volunteers before placing them in service with minors."

Christianity Today International developed an all-new, DVD-based training kit: "Reducing the Risk: Keeping Your Ministry Safe from Child Sexual Abuse." This is the third edition of the "Reducing the Risk" series, which started 15 years ago. Its release coincides with National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The latest version of "Reducing the Risk" features DVD training for churches, complete with real-life stories from a victim and a convicted sex offender; a roundtable discussion with leading national experts; "what would you do" scenarios; and teaching from Richard Hammar.

The kit also offers a leader's guide, trainee workbooks, screening forms, and records files. Together, these tools enable churches to immediately implement a program that effectively trains ministry leaders and build the systems and procedures needed to make churches safe havens for children.

For more information about "Reducing the Risk" and keeping children safe from sexual predators, see

[Christian Newswire]

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