Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in the Church

Reduce risks by improving selection, supervision, and education

No church is immune to the problem of child sexual assault, regardless of size, location, or denomination. Child sexual predators exist, and they're always looking for opportunities to interact with children. They may volunteer to work with children in your nursery, Sunday school, or youth program. How are you going to manage this risk? Strengthen these areas within your ministry.

Use the Six-Month Rule

Don't give any volunteer worker the opportunity to be involved in a nursery or children's or youth work until he or she has been associated with your church for at least six months.

Screen All Workers

Use the Two-Adult Rule

On or off premises, always have at least two, unrelated adults supervising each room, vehicle, or other enclosed space—even if only one or two children need care.

Other Preventive Measures

  • Discourage the use of teenagers as nursery workers.
  • Increase supervisors for large groups.
  • Prohibit situations in which one adult is alone with children in changing areas or restrooms.
  • Develop a “claim check” procedure so that children are released only to a parent, guardian, or other authorized person.
  • Don't permit participation in off-premise events, especially when they involve overnight stays, unless an adequate number of adult workers will be present.
Increase supervisors for large groups and prohibit situations in which one adult is alone with children in changing areas or restrooms.

Educate Your Workers

Representatives from various state and federal agencies are available to provide information and may be willing to assist you in your worker education program. A good place to start may be the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families.