Thanks, Theresa, for setting up this particular thread. It addresses some issues I am wondering about just now. How long a perpetrator is required to be disciplined, punished, under observation, or under some kind of special plan?
There are psychological aspects of a safety plan in the aftermath of an investigation. In my opinion, a safety plan needs to ensure that appropriate boundaries are established and maintained, children and specific victims are protected, and appropriate information is shared with those who need to know.
If, as the result of the investigation, the perpetrator is removed from the church or mission, documentation needs to be maintained in such a way that the person can be turned away if they show up. If the person stays within the community, church, or mission station an explicit plan needs to be maintained and followed. This would include specific items like supervision, accountability, not being alone with children, and other important issues. I would wonder, and would expect, that the whole community would know about this. Maybe you can clarify this, Theresa. These arrangements for boundary-keeping need to be reviewed regularly, and especially brought up when responsible parties for these particular rules are changed.
With regards to protection, I'm assuming that if a person stays in the community, there is a clear-cut description of what behaviors are grounds for immediate dismissal and separation. Once again it seems like a plan would need to be communicated with all parties, Theresa.
I may have already dealt with this above, but I am concerned that any sort of plan for sharing information be clearly thought through. While we need to balance personal privacy of all parties, the person who is been found to be in violation may have less privacy than other people. To a certain extent, I think that this helps the person in the recovery process, because if he or she knows that everyone knows what an infraction looks like, his or her behavior probably can be more self monitored.
My main concern with issues of information and boundaries has to do with the issue "as time goes on." By this I mean the natural tendency for people to forget, standards to be relaxed, small infractions observed and yet not commented on, etc. This allows behaviors to creep back in over time. Therefore, policies need to be reviewed regularly, communication between the person and the authorities needs to be regular and appropriate, and parents and children need to be reminded about how to stay safe.
My main questions from this post have to do with the level of openness, and the scope of information sharing between parties in the community. I hope you can address that in the next post, Theresa.
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion
- Status Update or Solicitation? When Non-Solicitation Contracts and Social Media Collide
- Posting Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse on Social Media Results in a Large Payout for the Accused
- Guest Post: Why Churches Need an Executive Pastor, Part 3
- The Future of the FLSA Overtime Rule
- Employee or Independent Contractor? Answering the Question in the Internet Age