Skills for Safeguarding: A Guide to Preventing Abuse and Fostering Healing in the Church, By Lisa Compton and Taylor Patterson
Skills for Safeguarding
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: December 10, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A1073
  • ISBN: 9781514010730

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The Only Textbook on Safeguarding for Faith-Based Ministries and Seminaries

Christians are called to care for the vulnerable, but churches have not always led the way in becoming places safe from abuse. Increasingly, organizations and churches are recognizing the importance of the field of safeguarding: training and equipping people to prevent abuse, act when abuse happens, and promote healing for survivors.

Lisa Compton and Taylor Patterson have edited the first textbook on safeguarding designed specifically for faith-based ministries and seminaries. In Skills for Safeguarding, experts from universities around the world have contributed on topics in their areas of expertise. This book

  • provides an understanding of trauma and abuse from a Christian integration perspective;
  • gives insight into perpetrator dynamics and systems that enable abuse;
  • teaches skills necessary to interact with victims and their families;
  • includes questions for self-reflection and discussion; and more.

Safeguarders can be individuals hired by the church in a vocational role, but they can also be pastors and other church leaders, laypeople, mental health professionals, and anyone who desires to promote a safe environment. Ideally, every adult in the church should recognize their responsibility to safeguard and seek to grow in skills to better serve abuse survivors and cultivate a culture that protects the vulnerable. This book provides the essential starting place.

"The church and its ministries will be very grateful for this book! It provides an accessible and thorough account of how we can enact care and protection from abuse in the church. Readers can study the content, learn a great deal, and implement new ideas that will safeguard and then set the stage when healing is needed. I warmly recommend this book for any Christian context where there is a commitment to respond differently to the all-too-common issue of abuse."

Paul Loosemore, director of the Counseling Department at Covenant Theological Seminary



Section I: Reality of Abuse
1. Foundational Knowledge of Safeguarding and Abuse
2. Abuse of Power

Section II: Abuse Systems, Dynamics, and Origins
3. Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic church
4. A Systems Lens for Understanding Abuse
5. Perpetrator Dynamics
6. Sexual Morality and Sexual Scripts

Section III: Impact of Abuse
7. Impact of Trauma
8. Trauma Survivors and Risk of Revictimization
9. Impact on Children and Adolescents

Section IV: Vulnerable Populations
10. Vulnerability of Children to Grooming Strategies
11. Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities

Section V: Skill Development
12. Empathetic Alliance
13. Listening and Responding
14. Emotion Regulation
15. Complexities of Safeguarding Care

Section VI: Care for Safeguarders
16. Hazards of Providing Care
17. Strengthening the Safeguarder
18. Conclusion: Education, Collaboration, and Resources



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Lisa Compton is associate professor and assistant director of the doctoral program in counselor education and supervision at Regent University. She is a licensed social worker, certified trauma treatment specialist, and coauthor of the textbook Preparing for Trauma Work in Clinical Mental Health.

Taylor Patterson is a licensed professional counselor specializing in trauma, including survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. She has presented at local and national conferences and is published in peer-reviewed journals. She is currently a PhD candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision.