Abuse and neglect of children occurs in families from all walks of life, of all incomes, religions and ethnicities. Factors contributing to neglect and abuse include: parent or caregiver risk factors, family risk factors, child risk factors, and environmental risk factors.
Understanding risk factors can help professionals working with children and families identify maltreatment and high-risk situations so they can intervene appropriately. Although children are not responsible for the harm inflicted upon them, certain characteristics have been found to increase their risk of being maltreated.
In response to news of a lawsuit filed against a local school in Nashville, TN, the Rev. Thomas McKenzie, who leads church of the Redeemer, wasted no time reminding his congregation that suspected child abuse within their community should be reported to law enforcement immediately. McKenzie emphasized the need for churches to revisit their obligation to children in their care.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a relative or a caregiver, you can make a difference and help the children you love grow up in a caring, loving environment. Protecting children includes understanding the nature of child sexual abuse, what a child needs most, and why abuse happens.
It’s imperative in our churches not only to openly recognize the prevalence of sexual abuse, but also to “connect the dots” to the person and work of Jesus.
The Lord blesses and protects those who are wronged; he sides with the powerless and the oppressed. He also amazingly offers grace and blessing to the oppressors who have abused power, though that blessing can only come on the far side of repentance.
As the spiritual shepherds of congregations, pastors are viewed as trustworthy authorities and granted the privilege of caregiving in various life situations. But what should a pastor do when a congregant confides that he or she has been or is being sexually abused; or when someone in the congregation exposes instances of sexual abuse involving others?
These are suggested resources that you may find helpful. These are independent sources whose opinions may not reflect or represent the views or position of C4SO. Their inclusion here is not meant to imply endorsement by C4SO.