After receiving  a disclosure of sexual abuse  

A Guide for Pastors - protocols and Pastoral Care.

Time frame.

  You have a church programme

  You have many demands on your time


without warning someone makes a disclosure

or you are informed by the Police a matter is under investigation

you are in shock.

maybe denial - a normal reaction

   Hopefully the Safe Church training has prepared you.

 I am writing these pages out of my lived experience as a Pastor

   having been a Mandatory Reporter

   with a Duty of Care to the congregation.


    suddenly everything changes


responding observing protocols and Pastorally becomes number one priority.

  This is no quick fix

  Whilst Civil and Denominational authorities need to be notified, briefed and updated

   and "professional support"  provided


you as the Pastor have a role to play as the Pastor in a trauma informed manner.

You will be faced with complex matters   please avoid simplistic solutions.


    this isn't going to go away in days or weeks or months


 From my lived experience I would suggest a three to five year time frame.

the sooner you accept this the sooner you can plan and adapt and get support.

  it is important to be systematic

 to do one step at a time

get support and advice

 the support services for survivors may be of assistance to you managing the situation.


increase self care 

strengthen your prayer life and your devotional life

listen to ecouraging hymns and praise.

take time out 

maintain family days off

take annual holidays


   whilst being prepared for interruptions.



Get external support

do reading


    Whilst you let people do their jobs

keep informed

stand by the congregation   you are the Pastor.


  It is hoped with Safe Church policies and increased community awareness

one can look at a three to five year time frrame

if there is openess

and issues are faced and resolutions found.


     In churches where there is victimisation of survivors or their families

or the office bearers  eg when I  pioneered Mandatory Reporting

it is draging on 30 years plus.

   facing it now is hard

    pray for God's strength

the more that is faced now the shorter the time frame.


   I know of one case where a victim and supporters were victimised

where the unresolved issues remain after 150 years.

   Justice cries out.

it's the hardest thing you have dealt with

it has tenticles which go everywhere  and it will not be contained.


it's random - like when an amature hits a ball into  balls in the centre of a billard table,

   balls collide and go everywhere  in a random manner.


it's like when unstable atoms are  hit and fragment setting off a chain reaction.

    after an incident of sexual abuse

    after the disclosure is made

     there are sociological and vicarious trauma responses.


    any denial or withholding of information only makes it worse.                                              



   pray for perseverance and endurance.


news will go out into the community

it may be in the media

     be prepared.


"When my heart is overwhelmed

 lead me to the rock that is higher than I "