Protection For Your Church Against Child Abuse Charges
Leonard J. Bell
With more and more cases of child abuse charges being levied against churches, let us give a few basic guidelines to keep your church and ministry safe in these last days.
When churches are taken to court over accusations, the following three things help to legally define the church’s actions:
* Written Records
* Written Rules For Workers
* Screening Of All Workers
In 1980, this new development did not exist. By 1994, it had become the rule. When an accusation is brought against you by a child, the courts seemingly no longer believe you. They believe the child. In court, they will call expert witnesses to prove that “children don’t lie.”
* Your Word vs. Child’s Word = Child Wins
* Your Defense = Written Records!!!
* Your Word + Written Records vs. Child’s Word = You Win!
I What Kind Of Written Records Do You Need?
A Attendance records both on the bus and in the classroom
B Written records from each classroom and bus every week of any incidents involving discipline problems, threats by children, suspicious behavior. This would include detailed description of what took place, worker witnesses, and riders that saw the incident.
C These should be kept on file indefinitely
II Written Rules For Workers
A These should be gone over with each worker and prospective worker
B Any questions should be clarified
C A form should be signed by each worker stating they agree to abide by the guidelines
III Screening Of All Workers
Each worker should fill out a screening form listing former places of service, any criminal charges and their result and a list of references