Safe Ministry Policy

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    This document describes the approved approach for the Kiski Area Youth Network (KAYN) designed to keep our ministry participants safe. It also acts to explain the ministry policy to those who are interested.

    Introduction

    a. The need for a ministry policy on safety as well as harassment, exploitation and abuse prevention. The board of KAYN has become increasingly aware of the reality of sex offenders in our society. It is likely that over time, our ministry will have contact with those who are sexual offenders or those who have been victims of sexual abuse. What responsibility does KAYN have to protect the participants and volunteers? What responsibility does it have toward those who may have been a victim of sexual abuse? We hope to address those questions in this document. This is no small issue or problem. Sexual perversion, and the acting out of it, occurs at alarming rates in our society. The statistics are staggering, such as these from Family Watchdog: · 1 of 5 girls will be sexually molested before her 18th birthday. · 1 of 6 boys will be sexually molested before his 18th birthday. · 2 of 3 sexual abuses are perpetrated against teenagers or younger children. · 90% of sexual assaults are committed against someone the perpetrator knows. · There are 400,000 new victims of sexual assault every year in the US. · There are over 550,000 registered sex offenders in the US. · There are over 100,000 sex offenders that fail to register in the US. We think it is unwise to ignore this issue because the reality is; sexual offense likely has touched the lives of our attendees. Integrity demands that we protect our ministry participants from the evil intent of sexual predators as well as first time offenders that succumb to temptation. The board of KAYN intends, as best we can, to deal with this issue in the most Christ honoring way we can. To be sure, any policy will be a living document that will be amended as we learn and grow. Our goal is to honor Christ by: protecting the participants in our care; ministering love to those who have been sexually victimized; informing and teaching our ministry as a whole; and ministering appropriately to the sexual offender. b. Purpose: It is the purpose and intent of KAYN to provide a safe, secure environment for our participants and volunteers with particular attention to those who are most vulnerable. c. Goal: Our goal is to protect our participants from sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse. It is also our goal to protect employees, volunteers and participants from false accusations.

    Definitions

    a. Safety - The condition of being protected from harm, danger, risk, or injury. b. Sexual Exploitation - Sexual activity or contact in which one who carries out the activities of the ministry takes advantage of the vulnerability of the person being served by causing or allowing that person to engage in sexual behavior with the one carrying out the activity of the ministry. c. Sexual Harassment - Repeated or coercive sexual advances toward another person contrary to his or her wishes. It includes behavior directed at another person with the intent of intimidating, humiliating, or embarrassing the other person, or subjecting the person to public discrimination. d. Sexual Abuse - The National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse defines child sexual abuse as “any sexual activity with a child, whether in the home by a caretaker, in a day-care situation, in any organized ministry, whether at the main facility (ministry) or away, or in any other setting, including on the street by a person unknown to the child. The abuser may be an adult, an adolescent, or another child provided the child is four (4) years older than the victim.”

    Screening

    a. All Staff Members and directors i. Background Check once every three years ii. Annual Search of Sex Offender Database for each staff member and director. b. Volunteers who work with children in an ongoing basis i. Interview prior to assignment. ii. Background Check once every three years

    Education

    a. Board and Staff Member Training - Mandatory On-Line Awareness Training updated every three years as long as the member participates on the board. b. Sexual Abuse Risk Training - Awareness and Ministry Policy Training will be offered annually. All ministry leaders and those who minister to minors are to attend an orientation and awareness training meeting and be updated every three years. Meeting will consist of reviewing this policy document and any current industry data.

    Adequate Adult Supervision and Safeguards

    a. A supervision ratio of 1 adult to 10 children is required for overnight and off-sight activities. b. Events with students are to be staffed with at least two individuals age 18 or above unless event is held in a public location. c. Signed Parent/Guardian permission forms are required for all out-of-town, overnight and/or special event youth activities. d. Youth ministry workers must have no arrests or convictions for child abuse, or any crime dealing with the welfare of a minor. Youth ministry workers must have no accusations or allegations of child abuse. e. The Safe ministry Policy document is to be signed by all KAYN volunteers: i. All suspicions of child abuse/sexual abuse should be reported immediately to the KAYN Director or a member of the board. ii. Any verbal or non-verbal sexual behavior with the minor is prohibited. iii. Dating of a minor is prohibited. iv. Discretion should be used in dealing with all youth, especially regarding physical contact. Innocent gestures can be misinterpreted. v. Romantic/sexual attraction for a minor should be discussed with the KAYN Director. vi. Sexual gestures to staff or volunteers by minors should be reported to the KAYN Director. vii. At least two adults should be present at all times unless meetings or events are in a public location. viii. If One-to-one meetings and conversations with a minor should occur, these will be only in a public, visible place. ix. Driving alone with a minor should be avoided as much as is reasonably possible, with particular care extended to troubled teens. Special care is to be taken when driving alone with a minor: 1. Do not sit close to one another in the car. 2. No physical contact. 3. Do not stop the car to talk. If you must stop, turn the light on inside the car. If at all possible, get out of the car to talk. 4. Avoid physical contact in saying goodbye (hugs/kisses). 5. Be aware of the time you leave and the time you arrive at the destination.

    Procedures for handling complaints of harassment, exploitation or abuse

    a. Duty to report. Suspicion of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse will be taken seriously and reported in accordance with law. When time and circumstances permit, the report should first be made to the KAYN Director or board member. b. Allegations and suspicions of inappropriate behavior of any staff member or volunteer will be referred immediately to the Board. c. Complainant can attempt to resolve the matter directly with the respondent. d. Complainant can take one or two people to help mediate with the respondent. e. Complainant or respondent can raise the matter with the Board. In this case, the Board would typically appoint a Response Team to address or recommend a course of action. f. The board will comply with all applicable reporting laws and regulations.

    Shepherding the Victim/Survivor

    The statistics regarding the number of people KAYN may come in contact with that have been sexually abused is staggering. In some cases, those that have reached adulthood may not have found healing from the emotional scars. This results in lives, behaviors and relationships that are still hindered and haunted by the abuse. We want to give attention to ministering the Gospel to the victims of sexual abuse and to sexual offenders. Some of the ways we as a ministry are currently doing this are: • Awareness • Small group support as need arises • Counseling • Referrals when more intensive, long term counseling is required There are other ways as well. Our prayer would be that, through God’s power and grace, those who find healing and freedom from the crippling pain of past abuse would be the ones who become the compassionate ministers best able to come alongside those who also have been abused.
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