Child Sexual Abuse in the Church

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BWA General Council Resolution 2013.14

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Ocha Rios, Jamaica, July 1-6, 2013:

AFFIRMS the intrinsic and inestimable value of children and young people as gifts from God and as the promise of future generations;

ACKNOWLEDGES the vital importance of children for the health and viability of families, communities and national life;

RECOGNIZES the responsibility given to parents and guardians to provide for the nurture and care of children, and the roles and responsibilities played by others;

GIVES THANKS FOR the biblical teaching on the nurture and care of children, the spiritual and social development of children through the ministry of the local church, and the contributions that children make to the life and mission of the church;

EXPRESSES PROFOUND SORROW at the ways in which children have been betrayed, harmed and sexually or otherwise abused, both historically and in the present day, through acts of omission and commission;

AFFIRMS that no child or young person should ever be abused, betrayed or harmed in any way while in the care of a church or church agency;

REPENTS of any failure by Baptists anywhere to implement consistently effective policies and processes to protect children from abuse, to protect and care for those who have been abused and to remain silent on any of these issues in the past;

COMMENDS urgent action to implement measures to protect children from abuse, support their physical and emotional welfare, and respond to allegations of abuse, including the following:

  • Administrative processes to ensure the suitability of persons working with children in the context of Baptist churches (such as official checks against registers of criminal convictions, and proper disciplinary procedures in organizations where there has been substantiated abuse of children or where an organization has disciplined or ceased the employment of a person on the grounds of alleged or proven child abuse);
  • Administrative processes to address situations where a child discloses child abuse or where statements are made indicating that a child has been abused;
  • Restorative justice processes to address historic allegations or disclosures of child abuse;
  • Disciplinary processes to determine whether a person is fit to remain in employment, either paid or voluntary, in a situation where the complainant has not contacted police, the police have not pressed charges, the police do not consider there is enough evidence, or the prosecuting authority has dropped the case. URGES all Baptist churches, conventions and unions to take seriously every case of alleged child sexual abuse and to ensure that proper rules and processes are in place to protect children from harm and to promptly respond to allegations.


Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2013 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2013.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2013 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2013), pp. 148- 149.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2013.14 Child Sexual Abuse in the Church;

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2013.14).

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Since its formation in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.