SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church talked about its written policy when it comes to how church leaders should handle child abuse cases during a meeting on Thursday.
The Church has been the target of lawsuits claiming it doesn’t do enough in responding to or reporting cases.
In Thursday’s meeting, the Church talked with the National Children’s Alliance, as well as Children’s Justice Centers in Salt Lake County.
As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the meeting included the Church handing out $125,000 in donations and, in the same breath, talking about resources the Church has put into play to help abused children.
A webpage link emailed out after the meeting highlighted those steps.
The Church said it has created a 24-hour professional help line a bishop can call if he suspects or learns of abuse.
“He will be put in touch with a professional counselor to help the victim, stop the abuse, and prevent abuse of others,” the site states. “In that phone call the bishop may also speak with a lawyer to make certain that all legal reporting requirements are observed.”
It also talks about how it handles members who have abused children.
The webpage states the Church will place an annotation on the membership record of any member who has abused children.
“This record follows them to any congregation where they move, anywhere in the world,” it says. “When a bishop sees the annotation, he calls the Church and is given clear direction that an individual who has abused children should not be given a position with children.”
It also explains that the Church will cover the cost of professional counseling for abuse victims.
Bishops are asked to interview youth leaders at least twice a year, the site says. For any youth activity, the Church said it requires two adults to be present.
The site states the Church will continue to identify and implement new tactics or approaches that decrease the potential for abuse.
When it comes to those claims and lawsuits of abuse, and accusing the Church of not handling abuse correctly, the site did say, “the great majority of these claims occurred decades ago, when society and the Church understood far less about abuse.”
While it’s unclear when these policies were put into place, and when they were written and released to the public, a representative of the Church on Thursday told Fox 13 the policies have been around for quite a while.