The CCFCC, in an effort to further the peace, unity and purity of the church through the prevention and remediation of sexual misconduct within the church, has developed the following policy. In preparing the document, attention was given to setting and providing for enforcement of standards of ethical behavior consistent with Christian tradition and secular law. This policy document should be helpful in assuring consistency of practice and action within the Denomination, provide an information base for educating both clergy and lay persons, and serve as a model for local congregations in their development of personnel policies.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS DOCUMENT: To define sexual misconduct by minister members of CCFCC and to describe the procedures for reporting sexual misconduct to the Denominational Executive
A. Definition of Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct is the comprehensive term used in this policy to include: sexual abuse of children or adults, rape or sexual assault, and sexual harassment or other improper sexual relationships. Sexual misconduct is an abuse of authority and power, breaching Christian ethical principles by misusing a trust relationship to gain advantage over another for personal gratification in an abusive, exploitative and unjust manner. The CCFCC, in support of the traditional and historic ethical teaching of the church, proscribes homosexual behaviour and relationship in its clergy. Categories of sexual misconduct are described below.
- Sexual abuse occurs whenever a person in a position of trust engages in a sexual act or sexual contact with another person to whom he or she owes a professional responsibility. Such abuse shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Sexual acts or sexual contact with a minor.
- Sexual acts or sexual contact involving inducement, threat, coercion, force, violence, or intimidation of another person.
- Sexual acts or contact between ministers and laity with whom they have a professional relationship. This includes consensual physical relationships. Sexual relationships even when consensual are not acceptable regardless of whether pastoral care is involved. The inherent imbalance of power between the minister and the lay person undermines the validity of such consent.
- Sexual acts or sexual contact with another person who is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, that sexual act or sexual contact.
- Sexual acts or sexual contact arising from the administration to another person of a drug or intoxicant which substantially impairs the ability of that person to apprise or control the nature of the conduct.
- Child sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, any contact or interaction between a child and an adult when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the adult person or of a third person. The behavior may or may not involve touching. Child sexual abuse between an adult and a child is always considered forced whether or not consented to by the child. Child sexual abuse is a crime in all states and must be reported to civil authorities. Anyone who knows or has reason to suspect that child abuse has occurred or is occurring generally may be a mandated reporter under the law.
- Rape or sexual assault is a crime in every province and should be reported to civil authorities and to the President of the CCFCC.
- Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexually offensive nature when: a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or their continued status in an institution; b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is the basis for employment decisions affecting that individual; or c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or multiple persistent or persuasive acts. Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:
- sexually oriented jokes or humor;
- sexually demeaning comments;
- verbal suggestions of sexual involvement or sexual activity;
- questions or comments about sexual behavior;
- unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact;
- graphic or degrading comments about an individual’s physical appearance;
- express or implied sexual advances or propositions;
- display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures;
- repeated requests for social engagements after an individual refuses.
B. Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
- Sexual misconduct is never permissible. It is a violation of the principles set forth in Scripture as well as of ministerial, pastoral, employment, and professional relationships. Sexual misconduct by a minister violates his/her ordination vows.
- Whereas this policy addresses sexual misconduct by ministers, each congregation and organization in CCFCC is responsible for developing a policy for church professionals, officers, members, non-member employees, and volunteers which is consistent with this document.
PART II RESPONSIBILITIES AND ROLES OF CCFCC IN POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
A. AVAILABILITY OF POLICY AND PROCEDURES
All ministers shall be given copies of the policy and be required to sign an acknowledgement of receipt.
This document shall also be available to all church members and to the public.
B. MANAGEMENT OF ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY MINISTERS
- Resource Documents The responsibilities, structures and procedures for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct will be followed as stated by the policy of CCFCC and the law. .
- Liability and Insurance The CCFCC and its congregations shall periodically obtain from their insurance agents, confirmation that their liability insurance policy covers sexual misconduct liability for its programs and activities.
- Record Keeping CCFCC will include in every minister’s personnel file the application for employment, any employment questionnaires, reference responses, and other documents related to this policy including a signed receipt for receiving the sexual misconduct policy.
C. PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
Pre-employment screening includes specific questions related to previous complaints of sexual misconduct.
The Denominational office is responsible for making reference checks to ascertain whether those persons have any history of sexual misconduct. The office reports to the Committee on Ministry and Ordination either that there was no reported sexual misconduct, or that the committee should inquire into reported sexual misconduct. A written record of conversations and correspondence with references will be kept in the minister’s/employee’s personnel file.
Applicants shall be given an opportunity to correct or respond to information regarding sexual misconduct obtained from a reference check.
PART III POLICY ON RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY MINISTERS
Known or suspected sexual misconduct by a minister shall be reported to the CCFCC Board of Directors and to other authorities where required.
Sexual misconduct involving children shall be reported to civil authorities.
Ministers are subject to inquiry and discipline. A copy of the report will be filed in the permanent personnel file of the accused.
A written complaint to any bishop or the denominational office alleging sexual misconduct by a minister member of the Church subjects that minister to investigation and possible discipline.
A minister may make a written confession of misconduct without a victim’s complaint to the Board of Directors.
The Board of DIrectors will respect the rights of all parties involved: accusers/victims, accused, and an involved congregation. These rights include:
To be heard and taken seriously. From the time that sexual misconduct is reported, all persons shall receive immediate attention and serious consideration from those representing the denomination. A reasonable attempt to identify and to locate the victim(s) will be made in the case of self-accusation.
To be informed about church procedures with regard to the accusation.
To obtain legal advice.
To be assured that justice will be pursued through the procedures set forth in the Book of Order and this Policy.
To become engaged in work toward healing and reconciliation.
Revised September 2023