The church should be a safe place where people can worship, learn, work, love and receive care in a manner that is free from sexual misconduct. All forms of sexual misbehavior by clergy and lay leaders with church members are unacceptable within the life of the church.
Early in the life of the ELCA, this church expressed clearly its intention to take whatever measures it could to help prevent sexual abuse and misconduct within the ELCA.
- Extensive training and education resources are available from the ELCA churchwide Web site under the heading Called to be a Safe Church.
Child Protection Policies
- The “Youth Protection Policy for Synod-sponsored Youth Events” (pdf file) was adopted by the Synod Council in 2013, and highlights policies to care for and protect children including our synod’s background check policy.
- Developing/revising a Child Protection Policy in your congregation? Call the synod office. We can provide guidance and direct you to other congregations with existing policies.
- Review the “Information on Raising Awareness of or Responses to Sexual Abuse” resource list (pdf file). This list points to child/youth protection, sexual harassment and general resources; and policy samples.
Reporting of Misconduct
- Most states require allegations of abuse against a minor to be reported to state authorities. You should call local law enforcement authorities or go to your state government Web site and find the appropriate office for reporting child abuse.
- Sexual misconduct committed by congregational employees should be reported to the pastor, council president or other congregational officer; or other direction provided by the congregation’s policy.
- Synods usually have responsibility for addressing allegations of clergy sexual abuse, administering appropriate discipline, and responding to those who have been harmed. The Metro D.C. Synod has adopted a “Statement of Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Members of the Clergy and Rostered Laypersons,” which includes a list of persons who will receive reports of misconduct.
- Review the synod’s “Statement of Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Members of the Clergy and Rostered Laypersons” (pdf file) in its entirety.