Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth

by Joy Thornburg Melton. Discipleship Resources, 2008.

Some may put their heads in the sand and say “Oh, no; not here!” when it comes to discussing abuse and religious communities. Yet clearly, without intentionality, accountability, and clear policies, children, youth, and at-risk adults are vulnerable to predators. Educator, church leader, and attorney Joy Melton combats this vulnerability by offering congregations an education and implementation process to protect children, youth, at-risk adults, and ultimately themselves. The process includes working with volunteers, best-practices with respect to keeping children and others safe, how to educate the congregation about abuse, and how to respond to allegations of abuse. Melton also addresses less-discussed aspects of abuse, such as how to work with convicted sex offenders who desire to be part of the community. Sample forms and a detailed list of additional resources complete this practical and user-friendly resource that is for clergy, lay-leaders, and educators from numerous religious traditions.