Abuse Prevention’s mission is threefold: to create awareness of various forms of abuse against persons of all ages, to help churches reduce the risk of an incident of abuse, and to promote healing through a just and effective response after an incident is disclosed. To support this mission, we offer education, training, resources, policies, protocols, and consultation services. In addition, we train classis Safe Church teams to assist churches.
In February, churches throughout North America participated in our annual abuse awareness event. The focus this year was “Promoting Education,” and a variety of booklets were made available covering many abuse-related topics. The next abuse awareness event is planned for September 2008.
Local events initiated by churches and classes also play an important role in the ministry of Abuse Prevention. For example, Safe Church teams in southern Ontario work together to jointly sponsor a one-day conference each March. The event provides workshops to educate and equip church leaders and members and plays an important role in awareness-raising, prevention, and response for churches in the region.
Over the years, many individuals have identified the need to further explore the role of forgiveness in abuse. In May, Abuse Prevention responded with a conference focusing on forgiveness, featuring keynote speakers Maureen Burns, Dr. David Augsburger, and Dr. Jaco Hamman. Many of those who attended were currently dealing with abuse-related issues in families or churches and found the experience valuable.
Beth A. Swagman, director
- 475 churches reported implementing a child safety policy.
- During abuse awareness events held in February, 30 churches in the United States and Canada ordered 1,500 booklets.