For All workers with children
The congregation of Highland Hope UMC is committed toproviding a safe and secure environment for those who participate in ministries and activities sponsored by the church. The following policy statements reflect our congregation’s commitment to preserving this church as a holy place of safety and protection for all who would enter and as a place in which all people can experience the love of God through relationships with others.
- No adult who has been convicted of or plead guilty to child abuse (sexual, physical or emotional) should volunteer to work with children or youth in any church sponsored activity.
- Adult survivors of child abuse need the love and support of our congregation. Any adult survivor who desires to volunteer in some capacity to work with children is encouraged to discus his/her willingness with our church’s pastor(s) before volunteering and accepting an assignment
- Adult volunteers with children shall observe the two-adult rule at all times so that no adult is ever alone with one child.
- Adult volunteers with children shall attend regular training and educational events provided by the church to keep volunteers informed of church policies and state lawsstate laws regarding child abuse.
- Adult volunteers shall immediately report to the event coordinator any behavior that could be perceived as abusive or inappropriate.
Indicators of Youth Abuse
Possible Signs of Physical Abuse
- Hostile and aggressive behavior towards others
- Fearfulness of parents and/or other adults
- Destructive behavior toward self, others and property
- Burns, facial injuries, pattern of repetitious bruises
Possible Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Severe depression and withdrawal
- Severe lack of self esteem
- Threatening or attempting suicide
- Eating and/or speech disorders
- Going to extremes to seek adult approval
Possible Signs of Neglect
- Pattern of inappropriate dress for climate
- Begging or stealing food or chronic hunger
- Untreated medical conditions
- Poor hygiene
Possible Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unusually advanced sexual knowledge and/or behavior for age and developmental stage
- Depression-cries often for no apparent reason
- Promiscuous behavior
- Running away from home and refusing to return
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Bruises/bleeding in vaginal or anal areas
- Frequent headaches, stomachaches, extreme fatigue
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Specific Church Related
- Unusual nervousness or anxiety about going to a class or activity alone
- Reluctance to participate in church activities that were previously enthusiastically approached
- Comments such as “I don’t want to be alone with _______” in reference to an adult.
- Nightmares involving a youth group adult leader or other adult as a frightening character
- Unexplained hostility toward a youth group adult leader or a teacher
Possible Signs of Ritual Abuse
- Disruptions of memory or consciousness
- Unexplained mistrust and mood swings
- Eating disorders
- Fear of the dark, especially at sundown or a full moon
- Agitation, anxiety or despair that seems to occur in cycles
- Fear of ministers, priests or others wearing robes or uniforms
- Nightmares or sleep disorders
- Any of the symptoms of sexual abuse