Protocols to help protect against sexual abuse while meeting virtually

Don’t let your guard down during COVID-19

September 1, 2020

Churches across the nation are diligently working to minister in the midst of COVID-19. As churches determine their method of meeting for the fall, some may attempt to establish in-person meetings, some will continue virtual gatherings for an extended period, and others have developed hybrid plans for gathering similar to school district programs. Regardless of the meeting venue, churches should be as diligent about guarding against sexual abuse as pre-COVID-19. 1“Child Abuse Statistics,” Darkness to Light, accessed August 21, 2020, http://www.d2l.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/all_statistics_20150619.pdf.

Virtual gatherings

Several well-established measures to prevent child sexual abuse are easily transferrable to virtual gatherings. Implementing the following protocols help reduce the risks in online meetings.

Physical gatherings

While many churches are not yet ready to meet in face-to-face gatherings, most are working toward a plan for physical meetings either now or in the future. Churches should contact parents and leaders for their input regarding this decision. Several factors play a significant role in deciding when it is safe for children’s groups to meet in person. 

In conclusion, do not be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. Be proactive. Make a plan. Establish policies. Screen volunteers. Provide training. Make decisions as you can. Amend plans as needed. Remember, there is no handbook for ministering to families during a pandemic. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” Following the principles in this verse allows churches to move forward in ministry to families safely.

Faye Scott

Faye Scott accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at the age of thirty-three. Just a few years later, she sensed God’s call on her life and surrendered to fulltime ministry. Faye enrolled at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) in 1995 where she has since earned a Bachelor, Master … Read More