Defeating the Demons: The Prevention of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Christian Ethics Today, 2010. Accessed April 14, 2017.

Instances of sexual abuse by clergy are increasing in numbers, and the results are destroying lives. It must stop and so must the triple “demons” of “denial, ignorance, and minimization,” says this article in the Journal of Christian Ethics, published by Christian Ethics Today. In response, the article takes a proactive stance on clergy sexual abuse and suggests four categories of preventive measures: “personal awareness, warning sign[s], support systems, and professional safeguards.” “Awareness” means that clergypersons must first acknowledge that they are vulnerable to temptations, such as power and control, both of which can play a role in sexual abuse. Physical or emotional boundary violations are examples of “warning signs.” Accountability groups and personal counselors are just two of the suggested ideas of “support systems.” Lastly, an example of “professional safeguards” is ethics training for clergy. This brief article is helpful and practical. It is appropriate for judicatories, clergy, and congregations from all religious traditions.