Every year, Bob Jones University students, faculty and staff attend MinistrySafe sexual abuse awareness training sessions, but the training received can be of benefit beyond the University.
The training sessions are scheduled for Oct. 24, at 9:30 a.m. in Levinson Hall, 3:30 p.m. in the Academy Auditorium/Collins Building, and 6:15 p.m. in Stratton Hall. There are also sessions on Oct. 25 in Levinson Hall at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Students, faculty and staff new to the University since November 2018 are required to attend one of the sessions.
For these training sessions, BJU has partnered with MinistrySafe. MinistrySafe is an organization created by Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris in Fort Worth, Texas. The ministry aims to protect children and the reputations of the workers who serve them by providing churches, schools and other organizations such as camps and daycares with training in recognizing signs of abuse, safety procedures and preventive measures to reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
Since its beginning, MinistrySafe has trained over one million staff members and volunteers from 16,000 organizations on six continents. Love is a recognized expert in the legal standards of care regarding sexual abuse and Norris is a sexual abuse trial attorney. Love and Norris have collectively over 50 years of experience in sexual abuse litigation, consultation and crisis management.
Carol Keirstead, BJU’s chief communications officer and coordinator of the sessions with MinistrySafe, said the University wants students, faculty and staff to realize how prevalent abuse is in today’s society and to be able to recognize the signs of abuse. They also need to know how to report abuse or suspected abuse—what they need to report and to whom they report it.
This knowledge becomes a skill that students, faculty and staff can carry with them outside of BJU to outreach activities, neighborhoods and churches. Dealing with sexual abuse is a prominent and ongoing topic of discussion in modern churches.
A growing number of churches require all volunteers or workers serving in children or youth programs to take sexual abuse awareness and prevention training. Many of those same churches accept MinistrySafe certificates. Summer ministry camps like The Wilds also accept MinistrySafe certificates.
Students who complete the MinistrySafe training sessions can receive certificates that show they have completed this training to fulfill positions in organizations outside of BJU.