Ombudsman Agency for Churches
Timid's thread gave me an idea. There is often no one to oversee pastors except their superiors if they exist. Especially controlling pastors try to evade churches that have good check systems and go independent.
What if there would be an organization of volunteers that would regularly visit churches and talk to individuals in the congregation (not at a meeting with leaders), just like they exist to visit nursing homes?
One advantage for them is that they are backed by laws protecting nursing home residents from abuse and neglect. The problem is that the government controls the Ombudman Agencies for Nursing Homes. People in churches do have rights that are backed by the law if they have been victims of sexual abuse, slander and libel. Emotional abuse would have to be exposed in another way, perhaps by using a website to grade denominations on how well they cope with such issues as well as grading individual pastors and congregations. The information would be out there in the open (but also subject to law suits from angry pastors).
Here is how an Ombudsman's duties look - just ignore the government junk. I got the info from: http://www.ltcombudsman.org/static_pages/help.cfm
THE STATE LONG TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM
The State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (1) is authorized by the federal Older Americans Act. This act requires every state, through the Office on Aging (2), to create a statewide ombudsman program to "investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of older individuals who are residents of long term care facilities" (including nursing homes, assisted living and board and care facilities). The statewide program is usually composed of several regional or local ombudsman programs (11) that operate within an Area Agency on Aging or other community organization.
While ombudsmen do not have direct authority to require action by a facility, they have the responsibility to negotiate on a resident's behalf and to work with other state agencies for effective enforcement. Most state ombudsman programs publish annual reports about the problems and concerns they address.
In addition to their advocacy work, ombudsmen can also serve as a valuable resource for residents, families and community members. Although programs vary in the scope of their activities and in funding resources to support their work, they can offer important services. An ombudsman may be able to:
* share information about community groups and activities available to improve life and care for nursing home residents;
* provide education on residents' rights;
* offer advice about how to select a nursing home and answer questions about long term care facilities;
* help people find the services they need in the community instead of entering a nursing home;
* explain how nursing homes are inspected;
* provide information on and assistance with family and resident councils;
* direct residents to a local legal services program if they need legal assistance; and
* provide information about current legislative and regulatory efforts in the state.
Many ombudsman programs have limited staff resources. For this reason, most local programs seek volunteers who can be trained to help visit residents, act as advocates, and monitor general facility conditions. It is important to learn about, understand, and support local and state ombudsman programs so they can maintain an effective advocacy program for residents and their representatives.
Blah, blah, blah, ok.
There are respected organizations in existence that started as small, non-government run agencies, like WWF and Red Cross that care for animal rights and human relief. Why not a non-denominational Christian-based organization that keeps watch on churches to prevent and uncover spiritual abuse? I am sure that at the beginning it would be laughed at. But in time it may have an impact on church atmospheres and become a respected organization.
"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise renews my life." Psalm 119:50.
Last edited by Carmen; 05-06-2009 at 08:16 AM. Reason: addition
|ombudsman, oversee, spiritual abuse, volunteer|