Content warning: Child sexual abuse
While SEYM has had, for many years, a Child Abuse Prevention Program, in 2021 it became clear we also needed to put in place processes and procedures for child abuse response. On this page is a chronology, actions that SEYM commits to taking, resources for assistance for victims and families, and a documents archive.
In March 2021, an SEYM Friend was arrested for sexual abuse of a child. The minutes, meeting notes, reports, and public statement collected here document the yearly meeting’s response to his arrest. This process was approved by the yearly meeting body at our annual Gathering in early April, and coordinated by an ad hoc Crisis Response Committee. Actions taken included discussing the arrest and organizational response in plenary business sessions, issuing a public statement, creating a network of Friends available for supportive listening, and directly contacting as many individuals and families as possible who might have interacted with the Friend in question through SEYM youth programs, where he was an active volunteer for several years.
Moving Forward: Approved Processes and Procedures
1. When the ad hoc committee completed its work in fall 2021, it made recommendations that were accepted and committed to by SEYM: Formation of a second committee, tasked with creating an SEYM harassment policy and standing crisis response process.
2. Development of training so that all individuals attending an SEYM event, regardless of formal involvement with the youth program, are able to contribute to an atmosphere that is inclusive and safe for all attenders, and in particular safe for our youth.
3. Designated funding to support policy and training development.
4. Clearer and more consistent attendance record-keeping at SEYM events.
5. Documentation of all steps of our response to the arrest made permanently available on the SEYM website, for transparency, and in order that our experience might be helpful to other Friends.
This page will be updated as SEYM moves forward with implementation of the committee recommendations.
If you need help now: Resources
Though the supportive listening network formed as part of our initial response process is no longer active, we encourage anyone who is triggered by the information presented here to seek support. Some resources for survivors of sexual violence include:
• National Sexual Assault Hotline • 800-656-HOPE (4673) • Live chat
• Into Account (supports survivors of abuse in faith communities)
• To seek support or make a report about abuse of a child (yourself or someone else), contact the Childhelp Hotline – 1-800-422-4453 (text, call) – Live chat
Questions about SEYM’s response, or the documents archived here, can be directed to the SEYM Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.