Child Abuse

Sexual harassment and abuse create tragic stories for individuals and organizations. How do we prevent abusive or harassing behavior by basic best practices?

A Florida preschool recently learned a hard lesson about the importance of good child protection.

This article was published in the 2014 Evangelical Missionary Society's annual publication number 22 called The Missionary Family: Witness, Concerns, Care.

Link to a pdf file of the article.

Failing in the child protection arena has two possible worst-case outcomes for organizations. You need to get these policies right the first time. Organizations need to work on their child protection policies. 

Physically abusing children in intimate ways is an endemic evil that destroys lives. Religious organizations must devote time, energy, and money to prevent, stop, and heal abuse whenever it is found. This paper examines the current landscape of this kind of abuse, then it addresses prevention and wise approaches to investigations. 

I am always amazed at how easy these management issues become once an organization (or family) implements them. I got to thinking about some of the ways a parent can act and relate that can help prepare their child to not be abused. I think of four behaviors right away: 1) On the radar, 2) Chatter, 3) Buddy, and 4) Touch. 

For abuse to happen, three factors must be present. First, there must be a perpetrator who desires to abuse. Second, there must be a child who will take the role of a victim. Third, there must be an environment that provides enough privacy for the perpetrator to act. If prevention and training can stop any one of the three factors necessary for child sexual abuse, the abuse will not happen.

The evil of child sexual abuse is not defined by the immediate reactions of the child. Even if the child does not immediately experience it as negative, intervention and healing is needed. We cannot defy our biology, which shows that our brains do not mature until late in adolescence, and we need mature brains to make reasoned choices from the options we are given. 

Trauma from child sexual abuse presents itself in surprising ways. These ways are important to understand in order to help heal children. We appear to have a window of time in which to care for and heal children before their lives are ravaged by the sexual abuse they experienced. 

When a dependency and neglect case is on the juvenile court docket, things have already gone wrong with the child and his or her family. Tangled relationships and unhealthy situations are almost certain. Although the court is entrusted with protecting the best interests of the child, other parties have certain rights and obligations.

People connected with the child may be joined in the case, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Those involuntarily joined are “respondents” and “special respondents.” Respondents are parties and include parents, guardians, and legal custodians who are alleged to have abused or neglected the child.1 ... Read More →