Safe Conduct and Church Safety
Safe Conduct and Church Safety
Healthy boundaries are essential to church safety and safe faith communities.
It is important to create safe spaces which are bound by covenant and demonstrate our core Christian values in every congregation. The problem of sexual abuse of children is not someone else's problem. Providing a safe place for all vulnerable populations - of children, youth, and those who are elderly or developmentally vulnerable, and the church leaders who supervise them - is a core value of our mission and ministry.
Church Safety and Safe Conduct Policies
Start here: A quick video & reading overview plan for church leaders and committees
The United Church of Christ Insurance Board (UCCIB), which provides property and liability insurance to UCC congregations, has written to its policy holders about the need for child protection management policies and procedures in local churches. The UCCIB program's current underwriter will be requiring that churches have such a policy to be eligible for Abusive Acts Liability Coverage.
- The UCCIB SafeConduct™ Workbench provides tools to help you develop and participate in your ministry’s abuse prevention program. These include access to services and other reference materials:
- Safe Conduct Policy Template
- Know Your Score (KYS) - a self assessment tool for congregations to identify gaps in abuse prevention.
- Online Trainings - from Praesidium
- Church Safety and Anti-Bullying resources from the UCC
- UCC links to a sample policy and forms for youth ministry. Disclosure Forms, Adult and Youth Covenant Templates, Medical Release Forms, and Media Release Forms.
More guidelines from the Southern New England Conference (see pp. 27-34)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship" (The section beginning on page 23 addresses active shooters.)
- Guidelines for Handling Disclosures
- Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect
- A basic Behavioral Covenant from Gill Rendle
- Mandated reporter information from the US Department of Health & Human Services
- Search for mandated reporting laws by state
Sex Offender Resources
National sex offender website from the US Department of Justice
Understanding your responsibilities as a staff or lay person serving a church in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts state law requires all volunteer organizations that provide activities or programs to children to conduct CORI background checks of the volunteers. The law also requires CORI checks any time there is a potential for someone to have unmonitored contact with a child. The Southern New England Conference strongly recommends that all MA churches conduct CORI checks of all employees and volunteers who have contact with children, i.e. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, choir directors, etc. and all paid staff.
The historic Massachusetts Conference adheres to the model CORI policy established by the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.