The Newsroom Blog

Protecting the Child

Comments on the Church’s policy on preventing and responding to abuse

Abuse cannot be tolerated in any form.  Those who abuse or are cruel to their spouse, children, other family members, or anyone else violate the laws of God and man.  In instances of abuse, the first responsibility of the Church is to help those who have been abused and to protect those who may be vulnerable to future abuse.  All Church members, especially parents and leaders, are encouraged to be alert and diligent and do all they can to protect children and others against abuse.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has careful safeguards and procedures in place throughout the United Kingdom designed to prevent abuse and, when the tragedy of abuse strikes, to help all those affected deal with its terrible impact. 

Ecclesiastical leaders are directed to comply with legal reporting requirements and, even beyond those requirements, to do all they can to ensure abuse is reported to the authorities, and disclosed to others who should know.  This is especially true when children may be at risk.  The Church provides leaders with in-person training, many excellent online and written resources, and access to a dedicated HelpLine in the UK.  This combination of expert, professional advice helps congregational leaders know what to do in cases of abuse.  The HelpLine in particular is effective in facilitating the reporting of abuse cases.  The Church also offers victims of these crimes professional counselling and pastoral support.

Strict guidelines and protocols are in place to protect children and vulnerable adults, including:

  • Membership records follow members from one congregation to another. 
  • Members are not called upon to teach children or youth until their membership records have been received or clearance from the person’s previous ecclesiastical leader has been obtained. 
  • Ecclesiastical leaders carefully interview and screen members before asking them to serve with children and youth. 
  • All those called upon to work with children and youth are presented to the entire congregation for a sustaining vote. 
  • In the rare case of a person who has harmed a child, an aggressive annotation system permanently marks their record to prevent them from associating with children and youth.
  • Those serving with children and youth must follow strict chaperone procedures at all times.

The Church is fully compliant with its legal obligations regarding the reporting of abuse and requires all of its officers and ministers to follow the legal procedures in existence across the UK.  The Church continues to reinforce with Church leaders in the strongest terms its position on abuse, and provides clear, ongoing training.  The emphasis is on Church leaders doing all they can to ensure abuse is reported to the authorities and disclosed to others who should know, as well as on ministering to the needs of the victim.

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