Reduce the Likelihood of Sexual Misconduct in a Counseling Setting

As a ministry leader, you should understand the legal risks associated with pastoral counseling, and how you can protect your organization and staff against allegations of sexual misconduct.

Screen everyone and create guidelines

To help your organization avoid a potential lawsuit, screen everyone who you intend to appoint as a counseling to others. Review their qualifications, check at least two of their references, and verify that the counselor has no record of criminal activity or sexual misconduct.

 

Put your counseling procedures into writing. Conduct counseling sessions only on church premises when others are present in the building. Ensure that at least one other church leader is aware when the counseling session occurs.

 

Guard against the development of inappropriate attachments or relationships between the counselor and the counselee. Establish a set number of counseling sessions that a particular counselor can provide to an individual. Instruct counselors to refrain from any speech or physical contact that the counselee or others could construe sexually or romantically. Even hugging could be misunderstood.

 

Prohibit any pastor or counselor from privately counseling individuals of the opposite gender and make sure that a parent or other adult is present when counseling a minor. Few counselors start out with the intention of committing sexual abuse, so assign accountability partners who regularly check with counselors to see if they are struggling with any problems.

 

Keep records secure and confidential

Counselors should take notes during all counseling sessions—documenting the duration and time of the appointment, who was present, and any topics covered during the session. Document all one-on-one contact with people who are currently in counseling or who have been in counseling previously. Secure all notes and records relating to counseling sessions and keep them strictly confidential.

July 22, 2021
Thousands in Relief Funding Available to Ministries Through the Employee Retention Credit
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Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.

Tags: ERC, payroll, tax credit
March 2, 2016
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now
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When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.

Tags: weather emergency, lightning, storms, safety, protect
February 25, 2021
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles
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Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.

Tags: protect, theft, vehicle
February 5, 2021
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet
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As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.

Tags: frozen, building, pipes, prevent damage
January 12, 2021
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On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
January 5, 2021
Church Safety Trends for 2021
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If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
November 23, 2020
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season
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Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
October 28, 2020
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy
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A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.

Tags: coverage, protect, liability, damages, youth
October 1, 2020
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.

April 13, 2020
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams

Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
March 30, 2020
CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now
UPDATED: CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now

Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23. 

March 6, 2020
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention

As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.

January 29, 2020
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics

The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.

Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?
Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?

Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.

Tags: missions, insurance
October 16, 2019
Stolen Church Trailer Leads to New Life in Christ
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IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance
IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance

Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.

Tags: ACA, IRS
July 3, 2019
Celebrate Safely This Independence Day
Celebrate Safely This Independence Day

July 4th is synonymous with food, fun, and fireworks. If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety, so that everyone can have fun.

Tags: firework safety
June 28, 2019
Insurance is one of those things we forget about until we need it
Insurance is one of those things we forget about until we need it

National Insurance Awareness Day falls on June 28 this year to remind people everywhere that insurance is vital to their companies and ministries.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
June 24, 2019
June 23-29 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week
June 23-29 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Summertime across the country means barbecues, carnivals, sporting events, boating, hitting the beach and many other recreational activities. In short, summertime means a lot more people are spending time in the great outdoors. But summer is also the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena--lightning.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
May 8, 2019
Protect Your People & Property During Hailstorms
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According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hail causes about $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year. Prepare your ministry and people for hail this season.

Tags: protect, hail, damages, property, weather emergency