Policy for Protection of Children, Youth and Other Vulnerable People in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
1. UNDERSTANDING THE NEED
REDUCING THE RISK OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF VULNERABLE PERSONS
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has a mandate to minister to individuals, families, adults, youth and children. In that context, the ELCIC stresses the sanctity of human life and the importance and worth of each individual as a child of God.
The physical and sexual abuse of children has increasingly and properly claimed the attention of our society. In response, it is the commitment of the ELCIC to provide reasonable protective care to all preschoolers, children, youth and other vulnerable people involved in ministries or programs of the ELCIC.
Childhood innocence is a gift given by God. Children are naturally trusting. Children readily place their faith in adults who care for them. It is our responsibility as a church to safeguard that trust.
IT CAN HAPPEN IN ANY CHURCH
Incidents of abuse can occur in any church – including the ELCIC. Churches have traditionally accepted the services of anyone expressing an interest in working as a volunteer with children, youth or other vulnerable persons. Churches are by nature trusting institutions. Asking sensitive questions of those who are giving their time and talent can be seen as intrusive by church leaders. No one wants to offend potential volunteers, especially longtime church members with a history of good service. These realities can make a church susceptible to incidents of abuse. There are few topics that create more emotional turmoil than that of child abuse, especially if it is sexual in nature.