Resources for Identifying, Preventing and Responding to Abuse
Table of Contents
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
- Talking with Children about Safety from Sexual Abuse: This page offers some preliminary resources to help parents talk with their children.
- Pre-Teens and Teens Conversation Guide: A concise guide for parents of pre-teens and teens.
- Talking to Children about Events in the News: Conversation guides for parents of young and older children.
- Talking to Kids about Body Safety and Boundaries: Tips for talking to kids about body safety.
- Digital Safety Tips: Tips for talking to kids about digital safety.
Last fall Advocate Aurora Health offered two training workshops for any and all adults in our church to help prevent child sexual abuse. This free virtual training provided adults with:
- Knowledge to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse
- Guidance to know how to react if someone discloses they are abused
- Empowerment to take actions that will help prevent child sexual abuse
We are exploring offering more training workshops in the future.
Resources for Children:
- God Made All of Me: A picture book written to help children protect their bodies.
- Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr: A book to help children ages 3-6 learn to “Turn, Run and Tell” when they are exposed to inappropriate content.
- Good Pictures Bad Pictures: A book to help older children understand what pornography is and how to avoid it.
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.
- Child Abuse Prevention Month: From Awareness to Action: Includes a list of facts and statistics to raise awareness of the impact of child abuse in the United States and in faith communities.
- Confronting Harassment in the Church (Webinar): Insights on how church leaders can confront harassment and foster the type of healthy culture that honors Christ.
- Understanding Abuse in the Church: A collection of resources designed to help churches navigate abuse issues and protect children and youth in churches. A webinar is also available.
- 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.
- Grooming and Red Flag Behaviors: Helps parents to identify grooming behaviors and the stages of grooming. Lists red flag grooming behaviors and provides simple, straightforward ways for parents to address these problematic behaviors.
- Behavior Signs of Abusers: This article describes behavior cues that should be warning signs of a potential abuser.
- How to Recognize the Sexual Grooming of a Minor: Detailed description of the Sexual Grooming Model and links to related studies.
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.
Local 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)
Are you a victim of sexual abuse?
- If you are in immediate danger, please consider calling the police or enacting a safety plan.
- We also encourage you to contact RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
- If you feel comfortable talking to one of our pastors, we would be glad to walk with you.
- You can contact our Pastoral Care Pastor Meghan Robins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We also partner with FOCUS Ministries, a local support organization for women and families struggling with various forms of abuse.