Present a proposal showing the need to form a task force to do further research on this issue to your administrative board, council or staff parish. This governing board should accept the responsibility of choosing members for this task force. Because this could be a time consuming responsibility, an existing committee should not be asked to develop your church’s policy and procedures.
The members of this task force could include the pastor, a representative from your pastor/staff parish, trustees and education committees, and other persons who work with the vulnerable persons in your church. This task force will need to meet regularly and in an ongoing basis to update the policy and guidelines as needed.
Safety and protection are very important issues, many people within your congregation may not be aware of the need to develop and update a policy and supporting procedures for your church. Some educating of individuals and the congregation as a whole is usually needed. There are many resources to assist you in this educational process. The Safe Sanctuary Task Group especially recommends Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church by Joy Thornburg Melton, Safe Sanctuaries: The Church Responds to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Adults by Joy Thornburg Melton, and Safe Sanctuaries in a Virtual World by Joy Thornburg Melton and Michelle Foster.
The purpose of the task force should be to:
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