Abuse Protection Policies
See below for resources for child and youth protection guidelines, background checks, permission and medical release forms, and a copy of the Indiana Conference Abuse Protection Policy.
Local Church Guidelines for Abuse Protection Policies
(As printed in The Indiana Annual Conference – The United Methodist Church: Abuse Protection Policy for Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults)
We strongly encourage every church in the Indiana Annual Conference to develop and follow its own Abuse Protection Policy. Such policies protect children and vulnerable individuals as well as the volunteers and staff who serve them. Each church is encouraged to prepare a policy that best fits its congregational setting. A policy and its accompanying implementation procedures should include the following elements:
- A description of the role staff and lay members who work with children and vulnerable adults;
- Procedures to be used in recruitment and selection of all employees and volunteers who will work with or have regular access to children, youth, and vulnerable adults;
- A plan for training all employees and volunteers about all aspects of the protection policy, including provisions for routine re-training;
- Procedures designed to reduce the risk of instance of abuse of any type and assure that instances of real or suspected abuse are promptly detected and reported to the appropriate internal and external authorities;
- A procedure for reporting incidents of known and suspected abuse of children, youth or vulnerable adults to appropriate church leaders, including district leadership, and to appropriate civil authorities in accordance with the laws of Indiana;
- Information about resources and strategies for adults who have questions about the policy or who confront situations that make them uncomfortable;
- A plan to provide for the safety, protection, and ongoing emotional support of those who may have been victimized;
- A plan for reporting known or suspected incidents of abuse to family members, the congregation and the public, as appropriate, while protecting those involved;
- A plan for dealing with allegations against as church worker, church employee, or church volunteer; and
- Annual review of the protection policy and procedures and of the church’s liability coverage for employees and volunteers.
A copy of the local church policy should be on file in the church and District Office. Administrative bodies of the local church shall be responsible for implementing and monitoring their own policy and accompanying procedures.
To see the full Indiana Conference Policy, click here.
Resources for Creating a Policy
- For Church Mutual insurance resources, click here.
- For Safe Sanctuary resources from the General Board of Discipleship, click here.
- For a process for developing your policy, we recommend the book Safe Sanctuaries – available from Cokesbury.
Background Check Resources
The policy of the conference recommends at minimum that background screenings for all volunteers with youth and children include a National Sex Offender Registry screening and a Multi-State Felony Background check. We recommend starting with a conversation with your insurance provider about screening options. Click here for background screening information.