Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response

A Message from David Johnson, Executive Director

Caring well is about protecting those who are most vulnerable from harm whether they are children, youth, persons with special needs, or people who are in crisis. That is why we have recommended that churches form teams to address this issue, inform the congregation about the problem, do background checks for workers, require training for volunteers, and have policies and procedures in place that will help prevent sexual abuse from happening. But we also must learn how to respond appropriately when or if there is an incident of abuse in a church. This goes beyond who is required to report the incident or to whom. It is about responding with care, compassion, and concern. We recommend that churches follow the prevention and response practices on this page as you strive to be a church that cares well.

SBC Abuse Prevention Toolkit

The desire and goal of this toolbox is to make every church the safest place on planet Earth for every child, student, and adult who comes to a church. These tools are not designed to force anything upon your church, but instead, to give your church the tools and resources needed to make your church a safe place.

Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Recommended Practices

The following practices are recommended to assist individual churches in preventing sexual abuse in their congregations. These are general recommendations that may need to be adapted to fit the needs, resources, and ministries of the individual church and should not be considered a comprehensive list or uniformly applicable to every church. These practices are based upon those of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Sample Policies and Procedures

A sample Policies and Procedures for Worker Selection and Child Protection from Real Life Church in Yuma.

Reporting Abuse

If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578. All calls are confidential.

If you would like resources on how to report suspected sexual abuse, click the button below to download resources provided by Arizona Baptist Children's Services.

Help your church be safe for survivors and safe from abuse

The Caring Well Challenge provides churches with a clear pathway to immediately enhance their efforts to prevent abuse and to care for abuse survivors. Will your church join congregations from around the country by committing to the challenge over the next year as an important next step in addressing the abuse crisis?


Volunteer Screening and Training

(Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments)

• Organizational assessments
• Online training
• Policy review
• Independent investigations

• Research and stats
• Online training

• Awareness training
• Legal consultation
• Background checks