Policy and Prevention (3)
Wise church and ministry policies for protecting people and organizations
Preventing child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, should be a top concern for churches and ministries, given the tragic effects on children and the ethical and moral responsibility of an organization that works with children to care for those children. The most important reason to address these issues is that abuse can wreck children’s lives and cause effects going on into adulthood. Children, spouses, and families of victims also suffer. In addition, the impact of the child sexual abuse scandal on Catholic and other churches shows that an organization’s life can be nasty, brutish and short when it is hit by major litigation.
A claim of negligence against a church or ministry can have very serious consequences. There are many possible types of legal claims: torts, breach of contract, employment claims, intellectual property and so forth. Because of the potential high value of the claims, and because it is a common type of lawsuit that can take many forms, this post reviews the tort of negligence resulting in a personal injury, with the church or ministry as a defendant. While individual defendants are usually named, some sort of shared liability with the organization is likely because it has greater financial resources.
Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris have a nationwide sexual abuse litigation practice representing victims of sexual abuse throughout the country. In addition, they represent ministry and secular organizations such as schools, camps, churches, youth sports organizations, foster/adoption entities and para-church ministries.
Gregory Love, Esq.
Kimberlee Norris, Esq.
In recent years, our society has begun to better understand the widespread problem of child sexual abuse. Conservative studies indicate that one out of three girls and one out of seven boys will be sexually abused before reaching 18 years of age, regardless of religious or socio-economic demographic. Law enforcement sources estimate nearly 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse are living in America today.Sexual abuse is not limited to any racial, ethnic, or socio-economic class. It is no respecter of any religious denomination or creed. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere.