The charity SCARS [Saving Children And Revealing Secrets], has announced that the Anglican Church of Bermuda has become the island’s first church to ensure its representatives in each parish are certified to prevent, recognise, and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse.
SCARS provided the Darkness to Light ‘Steward of Children’ training to Bishop Nicholas Dill, along with the current and retired clergy of the Diocese.
A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Diocese of the Anglican Church has now committed to incorporating the learnings into its policies, codes and formal procedures going forward as it connects with hundred of children each week within its congregations, Sunday schools, clubs and school engagement programmes.
“The Anglican Church also plans to extend the SCARS training to its youth leaders, Sunday school teachers and volunteers in order to position itself well to address the potentially devastating issue of the sexual abuse of children and provide compassion to those involved. This will be implemented by a trained team headed by Wayne Hackman, the Chair of the Diocesan Youth and Children’s committee, also the Youth Minister of Pembroke Parish, who is now a qualified SCARS facilitator.
Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, said, “The clergy and I found the training provided by SCARS enlightening and extremely helpful in defining how we can collaborate with the community in the fight against child sexual abuse. We plan to further push this agenda within the Church from the top down.
“Our involvement with SCARS does not end with the completion of the training; we will continue to work together to fundamentally change the way we interact with and provide therapeutic services to our younger audiences. We view this approach as necessary wisdom rather than paranoia and recommend that all parents familiarise themselves with the work of SCARS.”
Jon Brunson, Chairman of the Board of SCARS, added, “Sadly, the sexual abuse of children is a present and highly damaging reality in Bermuda, with many victims still going unheard and unsupported. No organisation can claim itself completely unaffected by this issue, but it can play an active role in raising awareness to become a force of prevention and an agency for positive behavioural change in our broken society.
“It is the mission of SCARS to mitigate the risk of such abuse. However, recognising we can never eradicate the risk completely, we also want to empower individuals and groups to identify when sexual abuse has or is taking place and make informed choices about how to react.
“Spiritual Healing is one of a number of resources recommended by SCARS as it is our belief that you are right with God by what you do, not by faith alone. Those who sexually abuse children are NOT right with God. Faith and actions must work together.”
“SCARS, which has certified over 1,150 individuals in Bermuda to date, has also trained representatives from the Mount Zion AME Church, the First Baptist Church and the SHEKINAH Worship Centre, as well as several government bodies, schools, support agencies and youth organisations. Visit online for a full list of organisations that have completed SCARS training.
“Parents who discover an organisation that they entrust their child to has not yet been SCARS certified, can recommend that it has representatives trained. SCARS offers the ‘Stewards of Children’ programme to organisations on request free of charge due to the generous support of its corporate and community sponsors.
“SCARS also holds free monthly public training sessions at the Argus Building on Wesley Street in Hamilton. The next scheduled sessions will be held from 9.00am until 12.00pm on April 26, May 17, and June 28. Pre-registration is required by emailing email@example.com.
“For more information about the Darkness to Light programme delivered by SCARS, visit their website.