It is important to balance safety and risk with the rights and autonomy of individuals living with disabilities. This can be challenging and confusing, especially for caregivers, but it is important that the right balance be struck.
What do you think churches should do to provide a safer environment for individuals with disabilities?
Abuse thrives in silence and secrecy. We must not allow it to thrive in our churches. Instead our challenge is to prevent abuse and to respond effectively when abuse occurs. - From Safe Church Ministry, A Church Leader's Role
In the pictures, people look happy, hiding the fact that many are forced, manipulated or threatened to produce them. Children are exposed to graphic images as they do their homework. Marriages, relationships, and individuals are harmed by its use. Yet we don’t talk about it. Internet pornography doesn’t belong in Christian community
Unfortunately, it is in the context of close interpersonal relationships that persons with intellectual disabilities are often abused. Because of these potential risks, Friendship Ministries has developed model guidelines for churches to follow in preventing abuse.
“Guiding children's behavior is a major commitment from caregivers ... Through it all, keep your sense of humor, and remind yourself of your successes and of the important role you play in caring for children.” -- Elaine Goodwin, Ed.D.
Proverbs reminds us that words also have the power to heal: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” I recall certain moments of trouble or worry in my life and how the kind and comforting words of a stranger warmed my heart and brought me peace.
To make churches safer places, leaders must begin by recognizing that some families in the congregation may be experiencing violence. You can't tell from the outside which families are affected.
Outings, retreats and social events at the church can be fun for children and youth. However, fun can turn into tragedy if supervision is inadequate. How can your church provide supervision that will ensure the least risk possible?
Despite the abundance of evidence showing that teen dating violence is a serious issue in North America, awareness of the problem is low. According to The Rave Project, teen dating violence is more common than you might think. Here are some surprising facts about teen dating violence...