The Church of the Nazarene and the Oregon Pacific District recommend and encourage all churches to develop and maintain a policy for the provision of a safe and secure atmosphere for children and youth. To assist with this endeavor, we wish to provide resources or links to resources to help our local churches in the development and implementation of protection policies. The NazareneSafe website also has several documents and videos available to assist you.
The Zero Tolerance Policy
The Church of the Nazarene has adopted a zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior with minors. All workers, leaders, and pastoral staff are to be above reproach in their conduct and to act in the best interest of others. This requires not only that they themselves refrain from engaging in any abusive or suspicious behavior involving minors; they will also be required to report without delay to the proper authorities anyone seen engaging in such behavior.
– The Board of General Superintendents
All citizens have a responsibility to prevent child abuse and protect children. An individual can help children in a variety of ways, from simply being a
friend to protecting them from abuse. Communities can help provide the resources children and families need, such as safe daycare or treatment
services for child abuse victims. Mandatory reporters of child abuse, along with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and law enforcement
We hope this booklet will help you understand child abuse, what to report, and when and how to report it, as well as give you an idea of what happens after you make a report of child abuse.
**To make a report in Oregon you can call 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse or neglect of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services.
What is a ‘Safety System’ and how is one created?
The seven-part video tutorial linked below answers the questions: what is a safety system and how is one created? The video tutorial is designed to help Nazarene Churches better understand the five key components of a system designed to keep children safe from sexual abuse. Viewers will learn the WHY, WHAT and the HOW of an effective Safety System:
- WHY a safety system is necessary
- WHAT a safety system includes
- HOW to implement an effective Safety System
Safety System Overview
For a step-by-step guide to creating a safety system in your church, see MinistrySafe’s website.
Policies & Procedures
Working with children is a privilege, not a right. Oftentimes, ministries adopt practices that are comfortable or convenient without considering the potential ramifications, thereby placing children at risk. Typically, change is difficult without an understanding of why change is necessary.
While many ministries implement policies as a stand-alone solution, written policies alone do not adequately address this risk. Written policies are rarely effective when:
- No one knows the policies exist (with the possible exception of the creator).
- The policies do not fit the organization’s needs, and are ignored.
- Policies are too extensive or restrictive, and therefore disregarded.
Policies and Procedures should reflect other Safety System elements. Without the why provided by Sexual Abuse Awareness Training and accountability through Monitoring and Oversight, even the best policies are likely to fail. Effective Policies and Procedures reflect training; without training, policies are just paper.
Policies are what you do, not what you say you do
Without effective implementation, a written policy is worse than useless—it can be harmful. From a legal standpoint, a written policy creates an internal standard that must be followed. When it isn’t followed, a written policy can create more problems than no policy at all. The answer isn’t ‘adopt no written policies’, rather, to adopt written policies that fit and reflect staff training.
Policies fit the ministry precisely
Where written policy is concerned, one size does not really fit all. Policy picked up from the internet, borrowed from a contemporary or cobbled together is likely to fail. When the policy does not apply to a specific job description or responsibility, staff members and volunteers are unlikely to comply.
Policies and Procedures must fit the ministry, and sample policies available through Nazarene Safe™ include:
- Responding to Abuse
- Reporting & Responding
- Children’s Ministry Policies
- Youth Sports & Athletics Policies
- Camp Policies
- More available upon request
Policies and Procedures, implemented by staff members and volunteers who understand the why, are an essential element of creating a safe environment for children.
Training—the Foundation of a Safety System
Sexual Abuse Awareness Training is the foundation for an effective Safety System. This training provides information regarding the ever-increasing problem of sexual abuse in ministry, the basic characteristics of a sexual abuser, the grooming process by which an abuser picks and prepares a child for abuse, and key risk indicators of child sexual abuse.
Topics in this training include:
- Definition of sexual abuse
- Common errors and misconceptions related to sexual abuse and sexual abusers
- Abuser characteristics
- Grooming process (grooming children AND gatekeepers)
- Common grooming behaviors
- Impact on children—long and short term
- Reporting responsibilities—to authorities & supervisor
- What to do if a child reports abuse
The Nazarene Church has partnered with MinistrySafe to create Nazarene Safe™. Online Sexual Abuse Awareness Training is available to members and is the foundation of an effective Safety System.
To begin your membership to MinistrySafe and access everything you need to implement Nazarene Safe™ at your church, click here.