Child abuse is a scary topic- a topic that many people, especially in our rural area, like to imagine doesn’t happen around here, but it does. Oh, it does because I can think of 3 different situations off the top of my head. Those situations, plus the numerous others I encountered while working with adult survivors of child abuse in this little area. Many times these cases involve family members, but I’m willing to bet those family members were also in public, interacting every day with people in the community in different ways, often as “pillars of the community”, hiding in plain sight. How would you feel if you learned someone you thought was a great person was a child abuser behind closed doors?
I have been to several conferences, listened to numerous stories, sat in on sex offender treatment groups, and listened to predators explain their actions with a performance demanding such pity from the listener that could earn the Academy Award for Best Acting. At one conference, we watched a video of a child abuser who chose his profession just to have access to children. He also interviewed at numerous organizations searching for the one he identified as being easiest to abuse within. This, and so many others, has prompted me to shout truth from the roof tops! On Tuesday at 2:15PM EST, I am offering a free Facebook live about how churches and other volunteer organizations can take active steps toward protecting children. Click HERE for a link to the event! The video will also be posted on my Facebook page for anyone who cannot make the live event. Of course, there is no strategy that will help 100% of the time, but my hope is help organizations do what they can to protect children in their care.
In the live video, I will discuss five areas organizations need to focus on: governing body, child protection policy, screening, training, and management. My goal is for this information to reach people concerned about children’s safety. People who are willing to speak up and encourage changes within, not only the church, but also any organization that provides access to children. Organizations that utilize volunteers in working with children are especially vulnerable to predators; this is why these programs must prioritize child safety over filling volunteer slots. This is why this training is so important for those organizations to hear.
On another note, if this has been a triggering post for you, please consider reaching out to professionals in trauma-informed care. Anchoring Hope Counseling has two qualified Licensed Professional Counselors that can help across the state of Virginia. If you are outside the state, please find a counselor who specializes in trauma in your state. I wish you the best on your journey to healing.
A few resources:
Learn about your state’s specific laws regarding child abuse, mandated reporting, etc HERE.
Click HERE for a free child abuse training specific to Virginia.