Since 1998, Safe Sanctuaries has been a trusted source of guidance for churches and other affiliated institutions as they work to reduce the risk of abuse in their communities through proven policies and practices. A changing world, however, requires a constant renewal of these trusted strategies along with new and updated approaches to the work of preventing abuse. Safer Sanctuaries: Nurturing Trust within Faith Communities builds on the strong foundation of past resources while also inspiring and preparing churches for the work of the future.
Safer Sanctuaries acknowledges the fears that swirl around the subject of abuse and encourages churches to respond with honesty, open communication, and accountability to the challenges faced in these communities. This approach allows communities to encourage flourishing instead of fear and build welcoming, thriving communities that are open and safe for everyone.
The seven sections of this resource walk through the theological grounding of this work, the psychology of abuse prevention, the basic guidelines for risk reduction, age-level specific guidance, step-by-step instructions on designing and implementing a churchwide policy, how to respond to abuse, and an affirmation and encouragement for the work ahead.
Safer Sanctuaries is also a comprehensive volume that includes chapters with guidance for working with:
- Nursery-age and preschool children
- Elementary-age children
- People with disabilities
- Older adults
- Camping and retreat attendees
- College students
Sample forms are also provided for help in screening workers, requesting background checks, checking references, and reporting suspected abuse.
Building a safer sanctuary can be a life-giving and community enhancing work of ministry for a congregation. It can be an empowering, joyful way of being in community that promotes the safety and security of all people.