Abuse Prevention’s mission is threefold: (1) to create awareness of various forms of abuse against persons of all ages, (2) to help churches reduce the risk of an incident of abuse, and (3) to promote healing through a just and effective response when abuse is disclosed.
To support this mission, Abuse Prevention offers education, training, resources, policies and protocols, and consultation services to Christian Reformed churches.
Synod 2005 approved important changes to the advisory panel process. When an adult brings charges of misconduct against a church leader, the church asks the abuse response team to convene an advisory panel to hear the charges. The panel is made up of trained church members appointed by classis to evaluate the allegations and conduct fact-finding.
Synod approved that any classis without its own advisory panel can access panel members from a neighboring classis. The alleged victim may also directly access the Classis Abuse Response Team to request an advisory panel process.
Synod also decided to make the services of an advocate available to the person bringing the allegation of misconduct. The advocate will be present when the accusations are deliberated.
Lastly, synod approved a process to reconcile the parties if the consistory or council does not take action in a matter where the panel finds strong support of the allegations.
102 churches participated in Abuse Awareness programs in February 2005
19 of 47 classes have an Abuse Response Team
Nine teams are located in Canada
330 churches reported implementing a child-safety policy