First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Response to Allegations of Abuse
All allegations of child abuse will be taken seriously. The care and safety of the victim will be the first priority and he or she will not be held responsible in any way. Situations will be handled forthrightly with due respect for rights of privacy and confidentiality, for both the victim and any accused. Full cooperation will be given to law enforcement authorities.
The parents of any alleged victim of child abuse will be promptly notified by either the Pastor or other ministerial staff, with legal counsel. They will be informed of the steps that are being taken, and will continue to be advised of the status of the investigation. The safety and privacy of the victim will be a paramount concern. The church will demonstrate care and concern for the victim and his/her family.
The church will exercise care to treat the accused person fairly. If an allegation of child abuse is supported by evidence sufficient to cause reasonable concern with the Pastor, other ministerial staff, and/or Legal Committee, then the alleged offender, whether employee or volunteer, shall be suspended immediately from all church duties involving minors until such time as the allegations are resolved. Privacy and confidentiality will be preserved.
When an incident of child abuse arises, the Pastor, in consultation with other ministerial staff, legal counsel and the Chairman of the Trustees, will designate a spokesman for the church. This person will have all contact with the media and the congregation, and will handle all such communication in a discrete, informed and diplomatic manner. In appropriate circumstances, the church will develop a clear position statement regarding child sexual abuse, which can be released if an allegation of abuse occurs.