We know that 85% – 90% of sexual abuse occurs within the child’s “safe world” – home, school, church, sports, scouting and other approved activities. Too often “Church” and “Sexual Abuse” are paired in the news due to criminal activity rather than effective prevention work. Through the Safe Church Program, the Collins Center is dedicated to bringing ground-breaking sexual abuse prevention to the local faith communities.
Originating in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the Samaritan Counseling Center, Safe Church now has a national reach. The Collins Center, serving Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, is one of 10 national sites now trained to offer this program, creating safe havens in churches where adults are committing to keeping children safe.
Church by church, the program is empowering and equipping adults to play the primary role in the prevention of child sexual abuse, which currently affects 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys before they are 18 years old.
Teams from each congregation meet together six times over the course of a year, to learn how to detect and prevent sexual abuse and to respond quickly when warning signs are present. Participating churches are offered guidance on the creation of new or improved policies with best practices to protect children, education for congregants, worship resources, a retreat for adult survivors, mandated reporting training for staff and volunteers, and healthy boundary curricula for children and teens.
Currently the Collins Center is proud to partner with the following three congregations:
The program runs through May of 2017. Please contact Jackie Hieber, Prevention Coordinator, for more information on this program and how your church can join or support the work the local faith community is embarking on.
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The Safe Church Program worked with the following churches in 2015-2016:
The Safe Church Program worked with the following churches in 2014-2015: