NTM questionnaire regarding allegations of abuse

Please read the questionnaire here.

NTM, we would like to ask you, have you taken the steps you commit to in the below questionnaire regarding each Fanda abuse confirmed in this website?

MK SafetyNet Questionnaire for Mission Boards regarding Allegations of Abuse ~ Response New Tribes Mission

Does your organization have a policy regarding the handling of allegations or suspicion of abuse of children in schools operated by you or schools where the children of your missionaries are sent?
Yes.

If you have a written policy, would you provide us with a copy of that policy?
Yes.

How does your organization define abuse?
You will see our definitions in our manual that is attached.
Note: Manual available as document
<Click Here>. (Large file – 40 pp.)

Is your policy disseminated to the missionaries serving under your board as well as to school staff and any others who are entrusted with the care of the children of your missionaries?
Yes.

If so, how is it disseminated?
It is in our Policy Manual posted on our members site, reviewed at our new candidate process and sent to all fields for distribution.

What happens when it is alleged or suspected that an adult abused a child who is currently or was formerly part of a missionary community?
An initial investigation process is started and that moves into what we call an extended investigation.

Who investigated the allegation?
We have a Child Protection Committee that leads out the investigation. It depends on the breadth of the investigation how many more are involved. We will include one out of agency observer in each investigation.

Is it reported to any outside agency?
Yes.

If so, to what agency or agencies?
It is reported to the Florida Hot line, the hot line for the alleged offender’s home state and to local authorities overseas.

If the allegation is substantiated, is the investigation broadened?
Yes.
If so, to whom?
Depends on the case, to other family members if it is a family issue or to dorms and schools if involving a school.

If the allegation is substantiated, who is informed?
See above.

If the perpetrator is dismissed, who is informed?
The offender, the victim and victim’s family, the sending church, the local agency membership and it is posted in our agency periodical.

What provisions are made for appropriate treatment for the victim?
(Please speak to psychological therapy, counseling of parents to support their child, help for the parents.)
Our agency will pay for counseling for the MK. The model of counseling will be determined in fellowship with the family.

What happens when it is alleged or suspected that an older child abused a younger child who is currently part of a missionary community?
Same process as above.

Who investigated the allegation?
Child Protection Committee.

Is it reported to any outside agency?
Yes

If so, to what agency or agencies?
Same as above.

If the allegation is substantiated, is the investigation broadened?
Yes

If yes, who is contacted?
Same as above.

If the allegation of abuse is substantiated, who is informed?
Same as above.

Who decides whether or when the juvenile perpetrator is psychologically fit to be allowed back into the school (or dorm or mission hostel, etc.) where the abuse took place?
The professional counselor in fellowship with the agency member services department.

Is psychological therapy made available to the juvenile perpetrator?
Yes.

Is psychological therapy made available to the child who was abused?
Yes.

Are the parents of the perpetrator and the child who was abused counseled?
Yes.

If so, are family members free to see therapists of their own choosing?
Yes. In fellowship with the agency, we would want the counselor to be a specialist in the area of offence.

When an adult (former MK) alleges that he or she was abused as a child by a missionary caretaker, what procedures are in place to investigate the allegation? Same as above.
Who conducts the investigation?
(Please speak to the affiliation, credentials, training and manner of the investigation.) The Child Protection Committee is made of former educators, lawyers, member services persons and specialists as needed by the offense.
Who will be contacted and interviewed? All persons that both the victim and offender believe to be relevant as well as those persons identified by the Committee.

Will the investigators attempts to contact and interview all adult former MKs and others who, because they were once in the alleged perpetrator’s care or lived in close proximity to him or her, were vulnerable to abuse?
Yes.

When an allegation of abuse is found to have validity, what is the process for investigating the allegation?
Please review the attached Abuse Manual.

If the allegation is substantiated, who is informed?
Same as above.

Is it reported to any outside agency?
Yes

If so, to what agency or agencies?
As above, US authorities and host authorities.

If the perpetrator is currently employed at a school, church, or other institution where he or she has contact with children, who is responsible for informing the employer about the perpetrator’s history of abuse?
We will inform the employer as asked through a job reference. We sometimes take it upon ourselves to call, but this is legally a time bomb if we are discovered by the abuser.

Who in your organization is responsible for ensuring that the perpetrator does not again gain employment in a school, church, or other institution where he or she would have access to children?
Member services.

What steps are taken to help the victim heal?
Our Member Services personnel network with the victim and we also encourage counseling.

Is psychological therapy available to the abuse victim?
Yes.

If so, is the therapist of the victim’s choosing?
Yes, as long as he/she is a specialist in the area.

What support services will be made available to the parents and siblings of the abused survivor?
Counseling if needed.

More from Scott Ross:

What happens when it is alleged or suspected that an adult abused a child who is currently or was formerly part of a missionary community?

· Is it reported to an outside agency, not associated with the mission community? For New Tribes the report is submitted to what is now known as the Child Protection Committee to initiate an internal investigation.  The matter is also reported to the Hot Line or local authorities in Florida our incorporating state and as well the state where of the alleged offender.  Each of the three entities are free to investigate as their policies demand and the evidence leads them.

· Who investigates the allegation of abuse?

Are[I2] they professionals, with no personal or institutional relationship to the alleged perpetrator? In NTM the investigation is lead out by the Child Protection Committee.  If girls are involved at least one woman will be required on the investigative team.  We have had teams of a minimum of 3 to up to 11 members of the investigative team.  Those who lead out the investigation have had years of investigating abuse and have attempted to further their education and understanding of the subject to improve their skills and our system.  We not require an outside observer as we do each investigation.  The outside observer has been a member of another mission agency who knows the subject of abuse, a non mission abuse counselor, etc.  The bulk of the team are generally members of NTM because it is an internal investigation but generally are not part of the field where the allegation arises.  We have found it important to have an outside neutral observer since the victim often feels the matter will be whitewashed and the offender feels he/she will be railroaded.

Ø If[I3] the investigation substantiates the allegation of abuse, is it then broadened to ascertain whether the perpetrator abused anyone in other schools or institutions where he or she has worked?My procedure is to assume there are other victims since statistics will tell us that is generally true.  Therefore, we begin with that thought in mind even before the matter is substantiated.  We will generally always look at the alleged offenders entire service history to see if there are other victims.

Ø If[I4] the allegation of abuse is substantiated, who is then informed? We inform in writing the victim and victim’s parents, the offender, the field leadership, the field membership, Florida state authorities and the authorities of the offenders home state.  Too often we have seen offenders ride off into the sunset and no one knows why they leave or what the outcome was.  We require a final notice be given to all field membership.  We also require the offender to advise all churches and donors, if he/she does not, then we do.

· The[I5] parents of all the children enrolled in the school or institution where the abuse took place? Yes, all members whether they have kids in a school or not.  Even families of other missions that might be attending our school.

· The[I6] parents of all children to whom the perpetrator had access because they and the perpetrator at one time lived in the same missionary institution (e.g. school) or tight-knit community (e.g. missionary compound)? Generally yes, we advise them also of the allegations because that is how you can find other victims.

· The[I7] staff of all the schools or institutions where the perpetrator has worked? Generally only those schools where we have found victims.  It is not a bad idea to tell other facilities where he worked, we have not considered that before.  There is a little touchy legal issue in doing that but that probably can be worked around.  In NTM the dismissal would also reflect why the person was dismissed so ultimately all members of NTM would be informed.

Ø If[I8] or when the perpetrator is dismissed and sent back to his or her country of origin, who is informed there? Florida and home state authorities.  We require the dismissed offender to advise the sending churches and if he/she fails to do so, NTM will advise the church.  All donors are advised of the dismissal and the broad reason, (like child abuse etc.)

· Local and national leaders of the perpetrator’s religious denomination? Since we are non-denominational we only require  the offenders churches and donors to be advised.

· The police in the home country locale where the perpetrator resides? Yes, the child abuse section of the local authorities.

· Who[I9] is responsible for working to ensure that the perpetrator does not again gain employment in a school or institution where he or she has access to children? Our files are flagged and any requests for  letters of reference that are received reflect the reason for dismissal.  We are working hard at making sure our field leadership send all letters through the Home Office, we have seen this as a weak link in our system that a field leader may send a letter of reference directly to a new employer.  I believe most leaders answer clearly the reason, but we just want to make sure that gap is filled.

Ø What provisions are made for appropriate treatment?

· Is[I10] psychological therapy made available for the child who was abused and for the other members of the child’s family? NTM has had a difficult time agreeing on what kind of counseling model is acceptable.  So we have begun networking with other agencies that have qualified counselors and we will pay for counseling for the victims and those needing that help.

· Are[I11] family members free to see therapists of their own choosing? Yes, but we do vet the counselor to make sure they are qualified in the special area of abuse to make sure they are not just getting a feel good session but really getting help.

· Are[I12] the child’s parents counseled about how best to support their child in the healing process, and are they assisted in providing this support? Again, because of the years of internal struggle in NTM in determining counseling models, we are still weak in how to best help the parents and victims and that is why we have outsourced that aspect.  We find person within NTM weak in this area and I think this has worked well for us in that sometime victims are suspect of NTM and its system so the counseling is happening out of that system.  It seems to be healthy.

· Since[I13] making provision for their children’s special needs affects the careers of missionary parents probably more than it does people with more conventional careers, missionary parents may tend to feel conflicted about having their career “interrupted” by having to seek appropriate treatment for their child. What kind of help are they (parents) offered (or required to seek) so they can process these feelings in a healthy way and make good decisions for their child and themselves? Yes, this is a real issue that we see.  So often parents are focused so much on the work and the work that they would allow the kids to suffer.  We will require parents to leave the field and get help for the children.  Again, we need to go to outside sources for that help.  For some years in the past some leadership felt that help could come from folks on the field but we have found that does not work.  Most are woefully untrained and most do not have the time.  We get them home where they belong.


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12 Responses to NTM questionnaire regarding allegations of abuse

  1. MK NTM different county says:

    Good grief, it can’t be that hard to find people these days. It must go to the ‘want to find’ factor. Am I right? It is the responsibility of NTM since it is their bad people who screwed us up. They ought to be begging forgiveness.

    @Pritchard

  2. Bonnie says:

    “If so, to what agency or agencies?
    It is reported to the Florida Hot line, the hot line for the alleged offender’s home state and to local authorities overseas.”

    I have never heard of NTM reporting abuse to the local authorities overseas, nor have I seen any documentation that pertains to it.
    Does curiosity always kill the cat?

  3. Suzies says:

    Just wondering….MKSafetyNet had posted a request for the laws for reporting overseas…I can’t find that post. Anyhow, I was wondering if they received that answer and I would like to know the answer as well. I also have another question for them. Can an abused person verify with the state if the person who abused them has been reported? If not, can an abused person or the abused person’s parent report the abuse? How can we verify this information?

  4. Gene Long says:

    Anonymous II said: “Sadly, anyone in leadership who knew and did the wrong thing will stand before God in judgement.”

    That’s not sad, Anonymous II. That’s good.

  5. Anonymous II says:

    Again, legally and ethically, the ‘internal investigations’ NTM constantly refers to in their documentation is at best irresponsible, and at worst illegal. It is not up to them to launch investigations, committee’s, and interviews. That is up to the authorities. It is unbelievable how much they think they are above the law. I am sure the concept of “endangering God’s work,” came into play during discussions. How human to think he needs them.. they serve as a privilege, at his behest. Sadly, anyone in leadership who knew and did the wrong thing will stand before God in judgement.

  6. Gene Long says:

    Here’s the answer, Thai Guy:
    An interesting problem that has not been completely addressed is: What should be done with abuse allegations and resultant findings of an internal investigation in relation to the field of service? There is concern with regard to what authorities on some foreign fields of service might do to the offender. Since NTM does not usually involve local authorities in allegations and internal investigations, is NTM in some way violating local law as well as jeopardizing the mission’s presence in that country?
    -NTM Abuse Manual, pages 13-14

    This is so shameful as to need no comment.

    Shame on New Tribes Mission.

  7. Thai Guy says:

    Does NTM ever report incidents of child abuse to the local authorities in the country where it happened? Or, are the offenders bustled out of the country without notifying the police, child protection services or other agencies?

  8. dee says:

    While the bulk of abuse seems to be from boarding school settings and the kids there are so much more vulnerable, it’s important that all of us are aware that there have been horrific abuses by “uncles” on the same station or in the same Mission with kids who are home schooling. Just a reminder to all that this be made clear when talking to media, etc.

    In our story, the teenage MK was abused by her father’s best friend, who lived across the street.

    One of my biggest concerns is that people look at the vulnerability of kids in fundamentalist homes, in general, which the mission populations consists mostly of. Much has been written on this topic, showing how the theology often gets twisted immensely to “justify” the abuse at home, as well as in schools.

    This is the huge piece of the puzzle that mission populations certainly don’t want to hear, yet it is one I am compelled to keep sounding. I know that many of you share this sentiment.

  9. Bonnie says:

    From the NTM abuse Manual:

    The offender will not be given an opportunity to face the accusers within the NTM abuse procedure. Should the NTM Policy Manual on Abusematter go beyond NTM to outside authorities, then that system will govern the issue of access to victims. (This is quite contrary to what the CPC was leading Vicky to believe.)

    NTM will dismiss permanently any member or adult student found to have been involved in sexual child abuse. (We know of at least two cases that this did not happen.)

    However, NTM will pursue all allegations of abuse, no matter how old, and the Mission policy of dismissal will be invoked if the allegations are confirmed, regardless of US statute of limitation. (Have we seen this in action? I will leave that to the reader of this blog to decide.)

  10. Kari says:

    Pritchard, thanks for asking. Scott Ross committed to these actions publically in 2007 and with regards to all of us from Fanda, we’re still waiting to see them actualized. So yes, the question is, when?

  11. ann says:

    I admire your courage and keep working on these issues…it is worth the effort!

  12. Pritchard says:

    “Will the investigators attempts to contact and interview all adult former MKs and others who, because they were once in the alleged perpetrator’s care or lived in close proximity to him or her, were vulnerable to abuse?
    Yes.”

    So when are they starting this?

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