Sexual Abuse by Church Leaders and Healing for Victims by Carolyn H. Heggen

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Abstract: Sexual abuse by a church leader is an egregious violation of professional ethics and a serious misuse of the power of the pastor/teacher role. The resultant trauma for victims affects all aspects of their lives. Churches and their institutions have not consistently responded in appropriate ways to reports of abuse and have too often, by their denial or lack of effective intervention and care, further traumatized victims. Congregations can be places of healing if they believe victims and respond appropriately, if their worship is sensitive to victims, if they provide ongoing accompaniment for victims and those who love them, and if they make a commitment to work diligently to prevent further abuse.

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