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Church launches new abuse prevention training for leaders

Aug 17, 2019, 8:54 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2019, 9:26 am
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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is launching a new online program to prevent abuse.

The new program will be part of the faith’s online resources for adults who interact with youth and children as part of religious responsibilities.

Protecting children and youth

The church announced the online training in a statement on Saturday.

In a statement, Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president of the church, explained the motivation for the new training.

“We take Jesus Christ’s teachings about children and youth very seriously. He welcomed them into His presence and gave stern warnings against abusing, bullying or hurting them in any way. Jesus said of children, ‘Of such is the kingdom of God’ [Mark 10:14]. His deep concern for children and youth must continue to be our deep concern,” she wrote.

People receiving the abuse prevention training, called “Protecting Children and Youth,” must have a church login. It takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Church requires abuse prevention training

Church leaders say the training is part of an overall effort to “increase awareness, highlight policies, and identify best practices for supervising and interacting with children and youth.”

The training also offers instruction on how to prevent abuse and what to do when abuse is reported.

In the statement, church leaders acknowledge that the training is not comprehensive, and share additional resources for abuse prevention.

The training reminds leaders, teachers, and others of the church policy against situations where only one adult and one child is present.

The online training says that people have a “solemn responsibility” to act to prevent abuse, taking actions such as contacting legal authorities, if there is a suspicion of abuse.

In a letter to local church leaders, the church writes that all members serving in leadership and teaching positions will be required to get the training within 30 days of receiving a call to serve. However, the training will also be available to those whose church callings do not fall under the listed positions.

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Church launches new abuse prevention training for leaders