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  • Photo by Jessie McCall on Unsplash

    Abuse and Misconduct Against Adults

    February 12, 2022 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    When we speak of abuse against adults, the topic is complex. What makes one vulnerable?      

    According to Brene Brown, “To feel is to be vulnerable, believing that vulnerability is weakness is believing that feeling is weakness.      And like it or not, we are emotional beings: What most of us fail to understand, and what took me a decade of research to learn, is that vulnerability is the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, and joy.” 

    We are created in God’s image, and He created us to feel deeply, to experience emotions, and to crave loving and nurturing relationships. 

    Unfortunately, often at the most vulnerable points in our lives, we may be abused and harmed by others. It does not mean we are weak, rather that someone abused their position of power to cause harm. The harm committed by others can injure us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.      

    When we began to expand Plan to Protect® to include adults, we initially thought of the vulnerability of the elderly and those with special needs.   We then saw the need to protect those who are newcomers to Canada, the influx of refugees to our country. More recently we have heard of the stories of fallen leaders that we once looked up to. Their misconduct was directed primarily to women whom they harmed spiritually, physically and emotionally. Their abuses of power deeply harmed the church. The list of fallen leaders is long and unfortunately, new names are added to the list annually. 

    How do we combat and respond to abuse against adults?      

    We begin (as always) by gaining insight and knowledge and awareness of the abuse of power, influence, authority and control. When that power is used to harm an individual and injure another, it is considered abuse. 

  • Victims often stay silent about their abuse. They may fear they will not be believed, or fear further abuse from the offender. Too often we hear that the blame for the abuse is placed on the victim rather than the offender.

    Statements like these fall under the term victim-blaming:

    • “She was flirting with him!”
    • “He is known to be a liar.”
    • “What was she thinking would happen if she dressed that way?”
    • “He has chosen an alternative lifestyle and brought it on himself!”

    We want to strongly caution you against approaching any reports or concerns of abuse from that perspective. Instead, we encourage you to appoint an individual to be responsible for receiving reports that will advocate for transparency and truth and also to be an advocate for the victim. 

  • How a "Speak Up" Culture Improves Child Safety
    Written by KidCheck; Posted with Permission

    Organizations dedicated to children and youth have an excellent opportunity to create a  safe and welcoming  environment by fostering transparency and encouraging open dialogue between leadership, staff, volunteers, and families.

    Encouraging...

  • Part 2: Recommended Best Practices for Child Protection Record-Keeping
    Written by Telios Teaches; Posted with Permission, first posted on Telios Teaches

    In Part 1 of this series on child protection record-keeping, we discussed why
    effective record-keeping practices are vitally important for organizations that
    work with children and how...
  • Part 1: Effective Record-Keeping for Child Protection Matters
    Written by: Telios Teaches, training provided by Telios Law PLLC

    In an era where ministries may face lawsuits based upon decades-old
    allegations of child abuse, effective child protection policies and
    documentation are paramount for organizations that work with children. This
    ...
  • We CAN do better! We MUST do better!

    February 24, 2021 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector

    We can do better!  We must do better!

    I woke in the middle of the night!  My heart was heavy … I could not sleep!  So, I put the tea kettle on and I decided to catch up on my reading.

    • I reread a draft of an article on Lessons Learned from Fallen Leaders.
    • I read an email that had just come in – An Open Letter to Victims of Clergy Abuse! 
    • I turned my attention to social media, where I read a flurry of social media posts criticizing leaders for their response to allegations of abuse. 
    • I read of a series of incidences of abuse within the cheer industry.
    • I read the results of the investigation into allegations against Ravi Zacharias.

    As a person of faith, I find comfort in reading the Psalms and Proverbs – but even there I read of oppression, plagues, abuse, the burden of suffering due to poor choices, and the enemy pursuing his victim and overcoming him.  The folly of one’s ways. 

    When I read, I am challenged … provoked to be better … to do more … to feel deeply about the hurts and pains of this world. 

    Are you challenged when you read these accounts?  Or do you just shake your head and criticize the offenders. 

    Is there anything that incites you and fuels your passion to do more, to be better yourself?

  • By Karine Devost

    In recent years, churches have been rocked by high-profile accusations of sexual misconduct among clergy. Most recently, Ontario school boards have been involved in lawsuits arising from sexual abuse incidents which occurred “in a distant past.” Unfortunately, sexual and physical abuse are rarely reported at the time of the abuse, and it takes victims decades to come forward and report the abuse.  Limitation periods (timelines for suing) if missed, provide a complete defence to a civil lawsuit and put an end to the case. The fundamental principle of a statute of limitations is to protect the defendant.

    There are two main reasons behind it. One is that there should be some finality so that a person can move on with his or her life without the constant threat of legal action hanging over their heads. The second is about ensuring a fair trial for the defendant.

  • Source: with permission: https://telioslaw.com/blog/ten-ways-land-court-over-sexual-harassment

    Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Al Franken—and the list goes on. High-profile sexual harassment allegations have shaken up Hollywood, the media, and politics. But don’t think that this trend is confined to celebrities. They are not the only ones who can, and do, abuse power. Sexual harassment by employees, if not dealt with swiftly, can create a toxic work environment as well as land even small organizations in hot water. In light of this timely topic, here are ten easy ways to end up in court over sexual harassment. Topics in this “what not to do” list are examples taken from actual cases. 

    Before diving into this list, it is important to remember when organizations can be held legally liable for sexual harassment that happens to their employees. A key defense exists to sexual harassment liability for organizations, called the Faragher/Ellerth defense. In order to take advantage of this defense, an organization must prove “(a) that the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and (b) that the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.”1 With that in mind, let’s dive into the list, as many of these easy ways to fail are ways to lose this defense.

  • “Female karate teacher sends nude photos to 11-year-old student and invites him over to her house for sex.”

    “Youth pastor accused of sending sexual texts to 15 year old.”

    “Camp Director sends inappropriate snapchat messages to campers.”

    “Teacher sentenced for texting student thousands of times.”

    ...

  • Artist: Indonesian Artist Mimi N

    What’s Wrong With Our World?

    February 2, 2020 Tori Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    What if we taught kids to look at cyberbullying like this? What if we helped them see that the words, photos, actions and things they do online hurt just as much (if not more), than if they did it physically? What if we helped adults to see that their words and online actions are teaching our kids how to behave online? What if we could actually...

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