Safe and Healthy Congregation Facts & Information

Compiled October, 2014

The State of Illinois Definitions 

Battery is unwanted touching, any physical touching of an insulting or provoking nature.

Sexual Harassment  is unsolicited, offensive behavior of a sexual nature.  It is not a crime but civil lawsuits can occur.  Employers need to maintain a workplace free of gender based discrimination.

Sex discrimination includes sex-based misconduct which involves conduct of a sexual nature in the form of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, sexual violence (i.e., rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse), domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and gender/sex- based harassment or discrimination, all of which represent conduct/behavior that is prohibited in accordance with Title IX. To access NIU’s Sex Based Misconduct Policy see:

Statutory Rape  occurs when a person over the age of consent engages in sexual intercourse with someone under the statutory age of consent.  It is a strict liability crime meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense.  In Illinois the age of consent is 17.  It is illegal to commit sex acts if in a position of authority or trust over a person the victim, raising consent to 18. 

ELDER ABUSE HOTLINE  1-866-800-1409  or 1-888-206-1327 (TTY) 
Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS)
Child Abuse Hotline  (800) 25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873) 

Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caretaker, someone living in their home or someone who works with or around children. The mistreatment must cause injury or put the child at risk of physical injury. Child abuse can be physical (such as burns or broken bones), sexual (such as fondling or incest), or emotional. Neglect happens when a parent or responsible caretaker fails to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or other basics for a child. Protective services most often begin with a report of abuse or neglect made to the Child Abuse Hotline located at DCFS’s Central Register in Springfield.

Factors to consider in reporting child abuse --   Hotline (800) 25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873)

  • Statements regarding sexual misconduct made by a child must always be reported.
  • Sexual abuse under the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act includes intentional touching and fondling of any part of a child’s body.
  • Has the child been harmed or been at risk of harm?
  • Has the staff person or volunteer observed evidence of damage to the child? (bruises, burns, hunger, poor hygiene, fear or withdrawal)
  • Are the communications regarding abuse or neglect given by the child consistent with what is observed; is the statement plausible?
  • Consider past suspicious incidents or the frequency of signs of abuse or neglect.
  • Assess your concerns with an objective/reasonable person test; try not to be overly sensitive or overly tolerant.
  • Unsure?  Bring concerns to the Minister or to a member of the UUFD Ministry Council or Board. 
  • Need to speak with a worker at the local office of the IL Dept. of Children & Family Services?  DeKalb offices are at  760 Peace Road, Dekalb.   Call: 815-787-5300, 815-787-5304

Anyone may report suspected child abuse or neglect. However, state law mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters are listed below.

Mandated reporters include:

  • physicians
  • physician assistants
  • psychiatrists, surgeons
  • residents
  • interns
  • dentists
  • dental hygienists
  • medical examiners
  • pathologists
  • osteopaths
  • coroners
  • Christian Science practitioners
  • chiropractors
  • podiatrists
  • registered and licensed practical nurses
  • emergency medical technicians
  • hospital administrators and other personnel involved in patient exams, care, or treatment
  • teachers
  • school personnel
  • educational advocates assigned to a child pursuant to the School Code
  • directors and staff assistants of day care centers and nursery schools
  • child care workers
  • truant officers
  • probation officers
  • law enforcement officers
  • animal control officers
  • field personnel of the Departments of Children and Family Services, Public Health, Public Aid, Human Services (acting as successor to the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Rehabilitation Services, or Public Aid), Corrections and Human Rights

ALSO:  supervisors and administrators under the Illinois Public Aid Code. Other mandated reporters include social workers, social service administrators, substance abuse treatment personnel, domestic violence program personnel, crisis line or hotline personnel, foster parents, homemakers, recreational program or facility personnel, registered psychologists and assistants working under the direct supervision of a psychologist.  For a comprehensive list of all mandated reporters, see the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.

Interfaith Resource:  Religious Institute:  Pastors for Sexual Health & Prophets for Sexual Justice 
Rev. Debra Haffner, Executive Director

Findings presented at Religious Institute training in October of 2013:

90% of children know their abusers well.
Girl child is most likely abused by adult man (63%) or by a teen boy (28%).  It is the Dad, step-dad, or mom’s boyfriend in 1 out of 7 cases.
Boys are most likely abused by a teen or older man (55%) or a teen girl (45%).
17-25% of women have survived sexual abuse. 
10-15 % of men have survived sexual abuse.

2010 Study of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

  • Inclusion of Women – 57 % of ordained ministers are women
  • OWL – Lifespan Sexuality Education - excellent materials available across all ages
  • Over 90 resolutions on Sexual Justice passed since 1960
  • Full inclusion of LGBTQI – 1st openly gay man, Jim Stole, settled in a congregation in 1979
  • Developed online resources for Sexually Healthy Cong. – Policies, Programs, Materials
  • Worst of all mainline Christian denominations and all Jewish movements on sexual abuse and harrassment prevention – weakest area for UUA & UU congregations…We will improve.  
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