The General Conference mandate of 1996 requires all United Methodist Churches to implement policies and procedures to prevent the risk of abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults.
Each local church context is unique. As such, each church should gather a team to create, review, update and enforce a Safe Sanctuaries policy that meets the needs of their individual context. Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton wrote a book titled Safe Sanctuaries that offers insight into the need for such policies and procedures, as well as guidance for writing and implementing a church policy.
One factor in Safe Sanctuaries policies is the utilization of national background and DMV checks to screen staff and volunteer candidates before they supervise children, youth or vulnerable adults or before they drive on behalf of the church. The Western NC Conference partners with Trak-1 Technologies, an accredited provider of background screening, to safely and securely screen employees, contractors and volunteers.
Churches can also sign up with Trak-1 for low-cost screening! Then, local church volunteers who would like to volunteer for events or participate in mission work at the conference level do not need to undergo duplicative screening.
Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton
Safe Sanctuaries in a Virtual World by Joy Thornburg Melton and Michelle L. Foster
Safe Sanctuaries: The Church Responds to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Adults by Joy Thornburg Melton
Rev. Michelle Foster-Beckerleg, Safe Sanctuaries Consultant
Havaleh Havelka, Training and Resource Specialist