Becoming a Sexually Safer Best Practice Congregation
As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is clearly in the air (as well as balloons, flowers, and chocolates). I invite you to take a moment to think about love in its many splendid forms in your life. While we celebrate the healthy, life-giving love in the coming days, it's important that we also recognize what Our Whole Lives describes as “sexualization,” or those acts that distort human relationships.
The UUA and the Religious Institute are partnering to launch a new initiative to help our congregations be free from sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. A Sexually Safer Best Practice Congregation has policies and procedures in place for staff, volunteer screening and training, education, youth group covenants, steps for determining whether or how to integrate a person with a history of sexual offenses, and an ongoing commitment by the board, staff, and congregation to sexual safety.
The Religious Institute has developed a comprehensive website to assist congregations in developing and assessing their safety policies which can be found at www.religiousinstitute.org/safer-congregations. Congregations that meet three quarters of the best practice criteria will receive the Best Practices Seal to display on their website and in their newsletters.
For more information or assistance, feel free to contact me at jkwong [at] uua [dot] org or the Religious Institute at info [at] religiousinstitute [dot] org. Congregations that self-assess as Sexually Safer Best Practices congregations by May 31st will be honored at the upcoming General Assembly.
May we all have a safe Valentine’s Day and beyond.