Creating Safe Sanctuaries

Presented by:                                                                    Training Video Script

The Abuse Prevention Team
of the West Michigan Conference
of the United Methodist Church


Creating Safe Sanctuaries


Policy Summary for Caregivers

Training Manual for the Abuse Prevention Policy

Of the West Michigan Conference

Of the United Methodist Church



Introduce self

Purpose of today’s meeting

Policy Summary for Caregivers

Following AP Policy, by now you should have seen and hope you have read the policy, but it   does help to go over it in a group. Jot down any questions you have and at the end or at the appropriate spot if I haven’t answered your questions I will do my best to do so at that time.


Let’s begin with an exercise that will give an idea about how much you really know about our subject today – Abuse – physical and sexual. This is an easy exercise; please answer true or false to the questions. (DO EXERCISE – CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE KNOWLEDGE INVENTORY) *** can add personal comments with each question. Very good, see you do know a little something about our topic. Now let’s get down to business.

I assume you have completed the application process with all it’s wonderful forms, interviews, and background checks and have passed them with flying colors.

I am not going to read the policy to you word for word, but I think it is important to read to you the Preamble of the Abuse Prevention Policy.**The Preamble states exactly the meaning of the whole Policy – all eleven pages worth. (May have one or more persons from the audience read for you.)

We have received a couple comments about how we have worded Adults with Special Needs, Children, and Youth. It is sort of like the joke about the Jewish mother who gave her son three ties. The next morning he comes down wearing one of them. His mother frowns and says, “What, don’t you like the other two?” We have tried to keep the wording as similar to the policy as possible to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Entrusted to our care,

Adults with Special Needs,

Children, and Youth.




Through baptism we renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness and reject the evil powers of this world. We will surround all God’s children with a community of love and forgiveness that may grow to be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life. The occurrence of abuse or neglect within the household of God breaks this covenant.Sadly, abuse remains a reality in today’s society both outside and within the church. The West Michigan Conference accepts its biblical and moral responsibility to address this issue. Therefore, this policy is intended to provide for the safety and health of adults with special needs, children, and youth during conference-related functions, events or activities.


Abuse and neglect cannot be tolerated or allowed to continue. Our adults with special needs, children, and youth must be protected. Too often a victim continues to be abused and/or a perpetrator continues the offensive behavior because it goes unreported. The perpetrator is unlikely to report his/her conduct, and adults with special needs, children, or youth often do not report it because of fear or a variety of other reasons. Therefore, it is everyone’s moral obligation to report all known and suspected cases of abuse or neglect. The reporting of abuse or neglect must be handled delicately and appropriately while protecting the right of confidentiality and privacy of all the involved parties.


This document hereafter shall be referred to as the Abuse Prevention Policy, or simply, this Policy.


The goals of this Policy include:

  1. Protecting our adults with special needs, children, and youth from abuse and                                     neglect.
  2. Protecting our care providers from false accusations of abuse; and
  3. Protecting the vitality of our ministries.


To reach these goals, the conference has adopted and implemented this Policy. This Policy is intended to supplement and not replace the continuing need of our Conference to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of both the victims and the perpetrators of abuse.


All camp ministry functions, events, and activities shall be in compliance with this Policy and the State of Michigan Department of Human Services Camp Licensing Rules and Regulations for Children and Adult Foster Care Camps.


Overhead 1 – Why do we need this Policy? *** To protect our charges (youth, children, and special people) and to protect ourselves – and to protect our ministries.

Overhead 2 – Abuse means *** don’t read yet


SCRIPTURE: Two passages (these passages set the tone for the day)

Matthew 19: 13-15

I Cor. 12: 11-27


Let us take a moment to ask God to be present with us on this journey today.

Light candle.

Creator God,

We have gathered here today to learn, discuss, and share on how we can make this community, our churches, our districts, our conferences, this community, even our homes a safer place for all of your children.

Be with us on our journey and help us to remember that we don’t carry the responsibility alone. Help me to recognize that my gifts will complement yours and that

2 + 2 + 50 make a million.

In Christ’s precious name, Amen.


I recognize that all forms of abuse are traumatic. There is always the possibility that discussions like this hit too close to home for some people. If you need help after today’s training let your event director, pastor, or someone else you can trust, know what is going on in your life. If GR the YWCA has a fantastic program for Women and families in crises due to rape and spousal abuse. The West Michigan Conference office has a list available of programs and counselors trained to help. This is available to everyone.


The video that we will be showing today is the same video used in schools and in the DHS (Department of Human Services) to train their caseworkers. If at anytime you feel the need to leave, please do. The subject of abuse is a painful one and we (the Abuse Prevention Team) do not want to create any more painful memories.




“Abuse” means harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of an adult with special needs, child, or youth by any person responsible for the health or welfare of an adult with special needs, child, or youth that occurs through  non-accidental physical or mental injury; sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment. [State of Michigan Compiled Law Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Sections 722.622.2©]: sexual harassment, sexual contact, sexual molestation, disseminating, exhibiting, or displaying sexually explicit material.


There are 5 primary forms of Child Abuse




  1. Physical Abuse

                The deliberate action that causes bodily harm to a child.

  1. Emotional Abuse

The verbal and non-verbal abuse that causes emotional trauma. The  recipient of this kind of abuse is told that they are unworthy, bad, and unloveable.

  1. Neglect

                Not providing the physical needs that endanger a persons health, safety, or welfare.

  1. Sexual Abuse

                Sexual contact between persons or unequal age and or power. Talk more here!!!!


Children do not always have to be touched to be sexually abused. The non-touching form of sexual abuse includes such things as someone talking to a child in words that are sexually explicit (containing graphic details about sexual activities) to encourage or forcing a child to watch adults and/or other children engage in sexual acts, to exposing one’s genitals or that of the child, to an obscene phone call.


EXAMPLES OF NONTOUCHING – person insists on watching a child get undressed, go to the bathroom, or take a bath (voyeurism) – the person gets sexually aroused while watching.


There are also “hidden” sexual abuse – this is where father (or mother) keeps going into the bathroom when his/her daughter/son is taking a bath – “just an accident” or catches the child undressing or someone who keeps having a child sit in their lap or a parent who encourages a child to sleep with him/her. Although not abusive at first, with frequent repetition, these instances may signal a potential risk for abuse.


  1.    Ritual Abuse

        The regular, intentional, and stylized: sexual, emotional, and/or physical violence.




        Growth was occurring in Wesley United Methodist Church. Families with small children, young married couples, singles and families with older youth were all flocking to this medium to large church in a small suburb. The pastor was grateful but a little concerned. The numbers in the Sunday school classes were going up and up. Soon there wouldn’t be enough teachers to go around and with all the new babies, volunteers were few and far between to staff the nursery, what was he going to do? He needed help and he needed it now. One Sunday a group of people camp to the pastor after service and said that they “loved to work with kids” and would be willing to help out where they were needed most – younger age Sunday school and nursery. Life was good, so it was thought. Little did they know that evil was lurking within their walls. One Sunday morning, a young couple went downstairs to collect their daughter from her Sunday school room. Before they were even halfway there, the little girl ran towards them screaming – Mummy, Mummy please run away. They’ll kill you if you come, so  their parents worshipped, transported to a nearby location where they were ritually abused, and returned to the premises with threatening demands that they not tell. Nearly 50 girls and boys from over 20 families were found to have been severely abused, both physically and sexually. They were terrified into silence. The investigation was long and very painful. The courts found 4 people guilty and sentenced them to prison. The children say that there were many more persons involved but police were unable to find them. These people are still out there – waiting and watching for the right time, right place and then they will start again hurting the little children again. (This is a true story – the names have been changed to protect the children.)


  1. What policies and procedures might have prevented this situation? (encourage audience participation)

                Examples: screening process, have a policy that requires new help work with an experienced worker (someone who has been in the church longer than 6 months)

  1. What steps should be taken for intervention and healing? (encourage audience participation)


It would help to have open sessions for the families to come and cry, etc…



Overhead 4





(Have your audience repeat this seven times – state that now the OWN this statement.) Please never forget – the victim is never responsible.


Abuse in any form in intolerable.

What about hugs and hand holding? Is there anything wrong with them?

(NO/YES) invite the audience to comment on these two subjects.


This is also a topic most of you will cover in your counselor meetings and when you set the rules for your camp. The APT is not telling you to ban all forms of contact. Everyone needs to be touched. We all need warmth and affection. You need to use common sense. At most camps the tradition calls for a Hug Line. This is where all the campers line up and give everyone down the line a hug. Be sensitive to the moods of all the campers – not everyone will want to participate. Let them choose, don’t force someone to do something that is uncomfortable. That’s okay. Respecting space is very important.


EXERCISE: Will everyone please stand up. Okay, now turn to the person on your right: ask that person – May I rub your shoulder? (have them giver shoulder rubs for about 10 seconds.) Okay. Now turn to the person on your left and do the same thing. HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN SOMEONE ASKED PERMISSION BEFORE APPROACHING YOU?

During camp and even in our churches, we have lots of chances for good touches. Touches that feel good, such as hugs, pats on the back, and even holding hands (during prayer times!!!)


—Use common sense and do not allow paranoia to rule.


WE CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT ABUSE WON’T HAPPEN AT OUR ACTIVITIES but we can take every step we can to reducing circumstances that can lead to abuse.


Knowing the facts in important: (overhead 5)


According to the 1998 Statistics from the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse of the United State of America:

3 million cases were reported

Research in 1999 showed that one of three girls and one of six boys will be abused before

they reach the age of 18 and this is being challenged with the results higher than the

previous data. They now estimate one in two girls and one in four boys will be abused.

It is believed that for every case of abuse that is known, ten or more cases continue in


do the math: 250,000/month


6 children are abused per minute

1 child per 10 seconds

3,000 died from abuse in 1998



Remember: Just because someone has some of these signs it doesn’t mean that it comes from abuse. (As an example tell of something that happened in your home or job.)


Possible Signs of Physical Abuse deliberate action

–          Hostile and aggressive behavior towards others.

–          Fearfulness of parents and/or other adults.

–          Destructive behavior towards self, others, and/or property.

–          Unexplainable fractures or bruises inappropriate for child’s developmental stage.

–          Burns, facial injuries, pattern of repetitious bruises.

Possible Signs of Emotional Abuse, verbal and non-verbal unworthy and unlovable

–          Exhibits severe depression and/or withdrawal.

–          Exhibits severe lack of self-esteem.

–          Failure to thrive.

–          Speech and/or eating disorders.

–          Goes to extremes to seek adult approval.

Possible signs of Neglect, Not providing for physical needs that endanger health, safety.

–          Failure to thrive.

–          Pattern of inappropriate dress for climate.

–          Begs or steals food, chronic hunger.

–          Depression.

–          Untreated medical conditions.

–        &nbs, p; , Poor hygiene.

Possible signs of Sexual Abuse – More than just sexual contact

Usually age and power difference

–   &n, bsp;      Unusually advanced sexual knowledge and/or behavior for child’s age and developmental stage.

–          Depression – cries often for no apparent reason.

–          Promiscuous behavior.

–          Runs away from home and refuses to return.

–          Difficulty walking or sitting.

–          Bruised/bleeding in vaginal or anal areas.

–          Exhibits frequent headaches, stomach aches, extreme fatigue.

–          Sexually transmitted diseases.

Possible signs of Ritual Abuse

–          Disruptions of memory or consciousness.

–          Unexplained mistrust and mood swings.

–          Flashbacks.

–          Eating disorders.

–          Fear of the dark, especially at sundown or a full moon.

–          Agitation or despair that seems to occur in cycles.

–          Fear of ministers, priest, or others wearing robes or uniforms.

–          Nightmare or sleep disorders.

–          Any of the symptoms of sexual abuse.




Frequently the victim know and trusts his or her abuser.

Over 80%


CAST STUDY #2  (This can also be used as a skit.)


Kristy is fifteen. Last summer she attended the annual conference youth camp with several other teenagers from her church. Upon her return, she confided to a friend that Steve, a 26-year old seminarian and counselor, “feel in love” with her, that they met several nights for sexual trysts after lights out, and that she was sure he would be calling her soon. When weeks went by without a call, she tried to reach him at the seminary. At first, he refused to take her calls, then spoke with her to say that while their relationship had been wonderful, it was over now and they should simply cherish the memories. Kristy was devastated;   her friend insisted that she speak to the associate pastor at their church.  Investigation turned up three other teen girls with similar stories about the same counselor over a two-year period. One parent says he called the camp director last summer to report his concern over his daughter’s story of a romance with an older counselor, but he never heard anything.


[This can also be presented in skit form. Ask for volunteers fro the audience to help with a dramatization.]

Characters: Kristy – 15-years old, Steve – 26-years old, a girlfriend, a pastor.



  1. What policies and procedures might have prevented this situation?
  2. What steps should be taken for intervention and healing?


Frequently the abuse will tell their victim “this is our little secret” so that the victim won’t tell. When are secrets safe and when are they unsafe?


SAFE SECRETS are when you are asked to keep something to yourself that DOES NOT HURT THE TELLER OR THE KEEPER. For example: Daddy takes Jimmy to the department store. Jimmy asks Daddy what he is doing. Daddy says, “can you keep a secret, I’m buying Mummy a present.” This is a safe secret. No one is being hurt.



UNSAFE SECRETS are when the victim is told not to tell anyone or someone will get hurt. Usually the victim is the one who will be hurt. For example: John the next door neighbor invites little Sally over to watch cartoons with him. While Sally is in the house, John abuses her. He tells her that this is their little secret and not to tell anyone. He goes on to tell Sally that no one would understand and they would punish her for letting John touch her. Sometimes the unsafe secrets contain threats against the victims family.

CAN YOU THINK OF ANY MORE EXAMPLES OF ‘UNSAFE SECRETS’? (give a few minutes here for the audience to discuss this topic – be aware that children, youth, and adults with special needs will have lots of SECRETS)


During family sharing time, the discussion turned to keeping secrets. Laurie whispers to her camp counselor – YOU – that she knows all about secrets. She has one right now but she can’t share it with you.

When you ask why, Laurie says she just can’t.

Warning bells should be going off very loudly. Laurie has a secret. She must believe she can trust you because she told you she has a secret. Now what? [Many counselors are caregivers feel helpless when faced with these types of situations. This exercise will give you some pointers of what to do and what not to do.]


(Some suggestions for this part.)

  1. Ask open-ended questions. Oh, you have a secret? Is it a good secret? Etc…
  2. Keep reassuring the child that secrets are okay if no one gets hurt. Tell them that you are a good listener.
  3. Do not say to a victim, “what’s the matter with you, don’t you trust me?” Don’t pressure the child/youth to tell what’s going on. This will only alienate the child.   If  they don’t want to talk, say “That’s okay. I’ll around if you want to talk sometime.” Leave all options open. If and when a child tells you the secret, please do not let your emotions get the better of you. Maintain a calm and cool effect.  Sometimes this is why kids don’t tell adults about abuse.
  4. Do not say, “Well it’s about time you told someone.”
  5. Do say, “Thank you for trusting me with this secret. May I tell (event director)  your secret so we can keep you safe.”

Abusers can be anyone!

Need to work on retraining our children on how to

identify dangerous situations without scaring them.

Warning children to stay away from strangers does little to

protect them from the reality of sexual abuse in their own homes

by people they know and trust.

We need a strategy against abuse happening in our churches and at our activities.

This training is part of that strategy.

Protection for the Adults with

Special Needs,

Children, Youth, and

YOU and not just at camp or

Conference Events, but in everyday

life, in college, or at home.

Our plan included:

*Screening of care providers

Police background checks

Phone calls to references


6 month rule

2 adult rule, take 2 kids, announce your leaving, go publicly, no short cuts, at camp pick a public spot for private talks with campers, be sensitive to the feelings of both camper and counselor, when working with special needs people use common sense – think of safety needs and also respecting the persons of privacy (the second person could wait outside the door.)

open door

annual orientation come together, talk

5 year, you must be 5 years older than the care receiver!

No workers under 16

Window in classrooms

Procedures for reporting this Policy make reporting mandatory! It is not up for discussion! If you don’t think something is being done, you go to the next level! Please be aware that the health officer at camps are required to report. (Take time to talk about “the next reporting level”.)


Reporting Alleged Abuse or Neglect is a must***


  • The alleged victim is NEVER at fault.
  • We do NOT have to prove the abuse.
  • Abuse does not stop by itself. Intervention is necessary!
  • Do not investigate.
  • Report incident to event director.
  • Secure safety of the child.

Confidentility is essential for all concerned!!!


Mary is an active member of the Asbury United Methodist Church, a small congregation in a small town. When she took her seven year old daughter, Denise, to her church school classroom, they found it empty. She told Denise to stay there while she went down the hall to find the teacher. During Mary’s short absence, the teenage son of other church members entered the room and molested Denise. Mary called the police, who responded quickly and began investigation. The pastor, Rev. Stone, was incensed that the police had been called without his permission. He issued “rules” that required all actions in such cases to be handled by him. Rev. Stone also called both families to the front of the church during the following Sunday’s service for a surprise “ritual of mutual forgiveness”

What policies and procedures might have prevented this situation?

What steps should be taken for intervention and healing?

Not open for public discussion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whole section in policy for how to report depending on who is responsible for the alleged abuse. For most of you, you report to the event director. What if it is the event director, then report chairperson of the sponsoring group of the function, event, activity, or program. They will be responsible for further reporting.

Any questions??