The United Church will not tolerate, and will seek to eradicate, any behaviour by its members, lay and order of ministry, adherents, volunteers, or employees that constitutes sexual abuse or child abuse.
The United Church is committed to providing a safe environment for worship, work, and study in all pastoral charges, congregations, institutions, agencies, organizations, or other bodies that operate under its name. Complaints of sexual abuse will be taken seriously and will be dealt with in a spirit of compassion and justice.
The United Church has never shied away from confronting challenging issues and, in that light, established its first policy on dealing with sexual abuse in 1993.
After 10 years, a thorough review of the policy was undertaken to identify whether the policy reflected current Canadian legal requirements and employment standards. Not surprisingly, since societal and employment standards had evolved significantly in the interim, the policy needed to be updated, and a new policy was published in 2007. After further review, the policy was updated and the processes clarified for the April 2011 edition. The August 2013 edition conforms to the language and section numbers of The Manual, 2013.
The Ministry and Employment task group assigned to evaluate the policy consulted extensively with the Faith Trust Institute and in particular with their lead consultant, Marie Fortune. The institute advised the church to include an investigative step near the beginning of the process, and procedures that enable the church to react responsibly to evidence of pastoral sexual misconduct.