What Is Abuse? [Ministry Mandated Reporting]

I learned a lot in seminary, but there are some things they don’t train you for in seminary.

One of those issues is concerning how pastors are to handle situations relating to abuse.  Many pastors believe a myth that they don’t have to report something that is shared in a counseling session.  That is simply untrue.

Some pastors and churches are in legal danger for neglecting to report issues of abuse or molestation.

Due to having to deal with certain unfortunate situations in my years as a pastor, I learned a lot by asking questions of friends who deal with such issues in their professions.  I was shocked to be educated on certain things.

I decided to pull together an expert panel who could help churches and ministries navigate through the legal requirements concerning abuse.

In three video sessions, I asked a lot of questions, and they gave some incredible feedback.

We are making these videos free to use in any format that is helpful for your context.

Use the videos to train your staff or volunteers.  You have freedom to use in any format, but please do not adjust the format without contacting us.

Session 1: What Is Abuse? 

Often in our culture it can be unclear how to distinguish between discipline and abuse or to know what sexual violence actually is.  In this session, we asked our expert panel to address these questions:

  • Will you define child abuse?
  • Will you define sexual violence?
  • Does verbal child abuse classify as an abuse to be reported?
  • At what point do we say, “Yes, this is a crisis situation that needs to be reported?”
  • Are you aware of child abuse and sexual violence happen in a church building?
  • Have you seen child abuse and sexual violence happen outside a church building but was reported to you by a someone on a church staff?
  • Will you share with us statistics of what you see in our state and community?