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SBC to focus on change following sex abuse scandal

Sexual abuse by priests is an issue that Hawaii residents and others have likely heard about recently. How to put a stop to such abuse is one of the key topics that will be discussed during the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention, or SBC. A variety of solutions will be considered, such as expelling churches that fail to report abuse or otherwise fail to take reports seriously. There may also be a committee formed that would be responsible for overseeing how claims are handled.

Since the 2018 meeting, reports from newspapers in Texas have indicated that abuse claims have been made for at least 20 years. During that time, roughly 700 people were victims of priests and other leaders who eventually returned to their roles within the church. A report will be issued that includes statements from victims as well as what the church has done wrong in addressing those complaints.

Among those failures include an unwillingness to believe victims or report their claims to authorities. However, some changes have been made including the development of a team that was tasked with developing new training guidelines. One of the team members is a survivor of sexual abuse herself. Finally, the SBC may create a database of those who have been accused of abuse by credible sources. However, critics say that the database cannot be run by the SBC itself.

Those who are victims of sexual abuse may develop PTSD and experience other forms of emotional and physical distress. Individuals may be compensated for the physical and emotional pain inflicted on them by their abusers. An attorney may gather witness statements and other evidence that help lead to an abuser being held accountable for his or her actions.

Source: ABC News, "Sex abuse crisis tops agenda as Southern Baptists convene", David Crary, 06/09/2019

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