Safe Sanctuaries® is the name commonly given by United Methodist Annual Conferences and local churches to their individual efforts to make conference, district and local church programs welcoming and safe for children, youth and vulnerable adults. Safe Sanctuaries® is more than implementing guidelines, policies and procedures. Safe Sanctuaries® creates an environment with boundaries of safe space for children, youth and vulnerable adults, and the adults who work with them.
In 1996, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of abuse in the church. During the 2014 West Ohio Annual Conference, members passed a rule requiring each local congregation to establish a Safe Sanctuaries® policy and to update these annually.
For help in crafting Safe Sanctuaries® Procedures for your local church the West Ohio Annual Conference Safe Sanctuaries® Task Force highly recommend Safe Sanctuaries®: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church, by Joy Thornburg Melton. The book is available through the Upper Room Bookstore through the General Board of Discipleship, or at Cokesbury.com through the United Methodist Publishing House.