In recent years, our society has begun to understand the widespread nature of child sexual abuse. Studies estimate that one female child out of every three and one male child out of seven will be sexually abused before reaching eighteen years of age.
Conservative estimates reveal nearly 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in America today.
Sexual abuse should never happen in ministry, but the Church and Christian ministries have experienced the devastating impact. Families and lives have been shattered. Churches have been sued; ministries devastated.
Sexual abuse is not limited to any racial, ethnic, or socio-economic class. It is no respecter of any religious denomination or creed. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere.
Parents allow their children to participate in Christian ministries for the positive experience of Christian growth, fellowship and spiritual mentoring. Obviously, this positive experience is shattered if a child is sexually abused while participating.
The Texas Youth Camp Safety and Health Act (‘Youth Camp Act’ Chapter 141 of the Texas Health and Safety Code) became effective June 1, 2006. At first glance, the Youth Camp Act looks like hundreds of other legislative initiatives that relate to entities that are licensed by the state of Texas. Upon closer examination, the Act may have a profound impact on every Church in the state by setting minimum safety standards and requiring sexual abuse awareness training for children and student ministry activities ranging from Church ‘VBS’ to high school mission trips.