The following resources aim to help adults and parents better understand how to talk with children about abuse, and gain insights on sexual abuse (particularly child sexual abuse), grooming, and abuse within a church context.
Please note that the opinions expressed in these resources do not necessarily reflect those of our diocese. We encourage you to use discernment as you interact with them.
Talking to Your Children About Abuse
The resources below are taken from the organization Darkness to Light and their training curriculum Stewards of Children.
Online Training Option: Schedule an online Sexual Abuse Prevention workshop, “Stewards of Children,” led by trained professionals to learn about preventing, recognizing, and responding to child sexual abuse. Learn more here.
Resources for Children:
Recognizing Signs of Abuse in Children
- If You Suspect a Child is Being Harmed: This article helps identify possible signs of a child that has been abused, and gives specific advice for how to talk with a child about possible abuse and instructions for what to do next.
- How to Spot Sexual Abuse in Your Church: This article discusses the dynamics and nature of sexual abuse, and recognizing the signs of grooming or predatory behavior. Please note that this article includes non-detailed descriptions of abuse which may be disturbing to some readers.
- How to Spot a Predator: One Church’s Story: This article includes a list of red-flag behaviors and why preventative training for church volunteers, parents, and leaders is essential.
Abuse and the Church
- GRACE: Resources: This web page hosts a variety of helpful resources with the mission “to empower Christian communities to recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse.” Resources include interviews, videos, and articles on topics such as the impacts of abuse, best reporting practices, and advice for Christian families.
- Interview With Boz Tchividjan: Boz Tchividjan has a background as a prosecutor and victim protection advocate; in this interview, he share his thoughts on preventing and handling sexual abuse in evangelical churches and contexts.
Caring for Survivors
- How to Care for Abuse Survivors in Your Congregation: Christianity Today article describing practical ways to care for the wounded. Please note that this article includes non-detailed descriptions of abuse which may be disturbing to some readers.
- What to Say and What Not to Say to a Victim of Sexual Assault: Two simple lists of phrases that are/are not helpful in conversations with victims.
- Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused: Working in tandem with the Church Cares resources and videos, this handbook brings together leading evangelical trauma counselors, victim advocates, social workers, attorneys, batterer interventionists, and survivors to equip pastors and ministry leaders for the appropriate initial responses to a variety of abuse scenarios in churches, schools, or ministries.
- Caring for Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin: This book addresses the marginalization of child sexual abuse victims in the Christian community, outlines specific ways churches have tragically diminished the seriousness of abuse and caused further distress to survivors, and advocates for ways Jesus calls his church to love and serve the wounded among them, so that congregations no longer consign survivors to suffer in silence.
- Trauma Experts Share How to Care for and Support Sexual Abuse Survivors: Four leading trauma experts to share their insights for helping sexual abuse survivors.
Chicago-area Trauma-informed Therapists:
- Deb Nickerson & Associates: Dr. Nickerson’s practice focuses specifically on sexual abuse trauma and includes seven therapists trained in working with children and teenagers
- Trudy Walk, LCPC, LMFT: 630-653-5540 (Wheaton)
- Carol Schwerha, Psy.D.: 630-563-0044 (Hinsdale)
- YWCA – Glen Ellyn: 630-790-6600 (Glen Ellyn)