Safer Congregations Best Practices

The goal of these 18 practices is to assure that a congregation has a commitment to up-to-date well-publicized policies and procedures to prevent sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and professional sexual misconduct.

Each of the 18 best practices of a sexually safer congregation are presented below, along with suggestions on how they can be demonstrated and notes on how smaller congregations can meet the criteria.  Congregations that do not have professional leadership or children and youth among its members can address fourteen of the criteria.  Where indicated, links to sample policies, program outlines, or templates follow to give congregations ideas to adapt for their own policies or procedures.  [Inclusion of a link does not imply endorsement by the Religious Institute for the organization, training or policy.]

18 Sexually Safer Best Practices

  1. Board and Clergy Commitment
  2. Designated Committee
  3. Written Sexually Safer Congregation Policy
  4. Sexual Harassment Policies
  5. Code of Conduct
  6. Professional Training
  7. Education on Abuse Prevention
  8. Screening Forms
  9. Staff and Volunteer Training
  10. Two Unrelated Adults
  11. Teens Under 18
  12. Spaces for Counseling and Education
  13. Youth Guidelines
  14. Youth Group Guidelines
  15. Technology
  16. Sex Offenders
  17. Adolescent/Child Offenders
  18. Ongoing Commitment

Download a PDF of the 18 Sexually Safer Best Practices [PDF]

Assess how your congregation meets the criteria using the Congregational Self-Assessment Form and then apply for the “Sexually Safer Best Practice Congregation” seal.