For reference purposes, this page contains our Child Abuse Prevention Policy below.
Child Abuse Prevention Policy
Child abuse, including sexual abuse, is an age-old problem, although it was not always reported to the extent that it is today. Because of this, we must be conscious at all times of the manner in which we deal with the guests entrusted to our care. Child abuse is both morally and legally wrong.
Sexual assault of a child, (age 14 or younger) by someone age 19 or older is a felony. We must remain aware that it can occur even at Maranatha Camp. Forms of physical abuse include hitting, slapping, spanking, shaking, or squeezing. Absolutely NO form of these used as a punishment will be permitted!
Due to the size and strength of staff members, it is necessary that discretion and restraint be used in all physical contact activities with guests. Games that encourage intense and competitive physical contact could potentially cause injury. These must either be eliminated or supervised very closely by nonparticipating staff members.
Sexual abuse is of particular concern. We cannot stress enough the importance of exercising extreme caution in this area. Even the appearance of wrong or a false allegation can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the accused staff member and the Camp.
These guidelines must be followed to avoid accusations of sexual abuse:
- DO NOT touch the lips, breast, genital area or buttocks of any guest.
- NO extended hugging or embracing of a guest. This means you cannot sit with a guest on your lap or your arm around him or her at any time, (ex: a campfire or worship service). If any behavior not in accordance with the above guidelines is observed, it must be reported IMMEDIATELY to the Executive Director or in his absence, any other full-time Director of Maranatha Bible Camp.
We must be sensitive to the fact that children may already have been abused before coming to Maranatha as guests. Some general indicators that a child may have been physically or sexually abused include: Low self-esteem, depression, withdrawal, impaired ability to trust, clinging behaviors, and extreme violent behaviors. Also of note are self-destructive behaviors including: self-mutilation, sexual themes in play or conversation, seductive behaviors, excessive curiosity about sex, evidence of repeated injuries or burns, providing inconsistent explanation for such injuries, bald patches in the scalp, and bite marks. It is not your job to investigate the background of any guests who come to Maranatha if we believe abuse has taken place. Do not spread rumors about any purported abuse. Possible child abuse includes a guest’s unsubstantiated story that he/she has been abused in the past. If the Camp administrators are informed that abuse may have taken place, they are required by law to report the possible abuse to the authorities.
The following policies must be followed. If personal opinion differs from the above guidelines, submission to these policies or resignation is expected. All volunteer, cabin leader, full-time, hourly, Summer Missions, and program staff members working directly with the campers must read and sign the Child Abuse Statement.
Below is the order of events pertaining to a report of alleged child abuse:
- A child shows signs of having been abused in the past, reason to suspect child abuse/sexual abuse exists; OR child reports that someone has abused him; OR a staff member sees another staff member abusing a guest.
- The staff member who becomes aware of the potential child abuse reports the abuse to the Executive Director.
- The Executive Director reports the case to the Bridge of Hope Child Advocacy Center. If the Executive Director cannot be reached, another Director will make the call.
- If the alleged abuse involves a Maranatha employee, program participant, or volunteer, that person will be reassigned in a manner appropriate to the severity of the allegation until more information is available.