We are a community who cares about the vulnerable and commits to doing our part to ensure the safety of everyone within our community.
We use these five steps:
Step 1: Know the Warning Signs
Knowing the warning signs means that we can recognize the early signs of an inappropriate relationship between an adult and children and can identify potential abuse before it.
Some warning signs are:
An adult who prefers the company of children to adults
An adult who finds ways to be alone with children
An adult who discourages other adults from participating in or monitoring their activities with children or youth
An adult who give inappropriate or frequent gifts to a particular child
An adult who wants to wrestle or tickle children
An adult who allows children to engage in activities their parents wouldn’t allow
An adult who uses bad language or tells dirty jokes to children
An adult who shows children pornography
Step 2: Control Access through Screenings
Controlling access means we are careful about whom we allow to work with our children and require everyone to meet our standards prior to ministry. All employees and those volunteers who work with or around children must attend a Virtus® Protecting God’s Children for Adults Awareness Session and have successfully completed a criminal background screening.
Step 3: Monitor all Ministries and Programs
Once adults have been screened, all ministries and programs should be supervised to ensure proper policies and procedures are being followed to keep children safe. If an abuser knows that someone is watching, they have more trouble finding opportunities to abuse without getting caught.
Step 4: Be Aware of Child and Youth Behavior
Being aware means parents and caring adults should know what is going on in the lives of the children within their care and pay attention to subtle signs of a problem. Communication is key. When we observe and communicate with our children, we are more likely to detect the signs if they are in danger. We can notice a sudden change in behavior. Potential symptoms of sexual abuse include if they become moody or aggressive, lose interest in school, or stop taking care of their personal hygiene.
Step 5: Communicate Your Concerns
Communicating concerns means confronting and telling someone when you are uncomfortable with a situation, or discussing suspected abuse with a state official and supervisor. It means paying attention to your own feelings and not waiting until it is too late. Only by communicating concerns can we use our knowledge to protect children. Even if abuse is not occurring, it is still important to let others know when you have concerns. This is one of the most difficult, but important, steps in the process of eliminating abuse.