The National Council of Evangelicals (CNEF) in France recently launched a platform called Stop abus (stop abuse). This platform is an initiative against sexual abuse. CNEF describes it as “a listening and assistance service for victims and witnesses of sexual abuse within evangelical churches, structures, and organisations.”
A few years ago, it was revealed that there were many cases of sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church since the 1950s. The 2021 Report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) reported that around 3,000 priests had abused around 10,000 children. Around 114,000 other children had been abused by members of the laity in contexts of Catholic catechism groups or educational centers.
Since 2019, the CNEF has taken initiatives against all kinds of abuse and has raised awareness about the issue. On June 2021, they presented a Guide of good practices to fight against sexual abuse.
Evangelical Focus reports that the CNEF has launched a new initiative: Stop abus. On an online form, the abuse can be reported. The data from that form will be collected by a professional, and then forwarded to legal, psychological and/or pastoral support, depending on the situation and what the victim needs or requests. The team of Stop abus will also inform the judicial authorities and ask the church or organisation for the location of the abuse, if the victim requests this.
Each case will be followed by an Advisory and Monitoring Commission. This commission is in contact with different organisations, such as the CNEF, the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC France), the Protestant Family Associations (AFP), and the Network of Mutual Aid and Support to Ministries (RESAM).
Victims may have questions regarding abuse, and the platform offers answers to those questions in a Frequently Asked Questions section. These are questions like:
- When do we speak of abuse?
- What is the difference between sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape?
- What can I do to bring the facts before court?
The goal of Stop abus is “to make our churches more welcoming and safer, in a spirit of protection for vulnerable people who are victims of sexual abuse”, according to a statement of the CNEF.
Marc Deroeux, former Vice President of the CNEF, says: “The #metoo movement and the latest revelations of sexual abuse and abuse of all kinds in our society have challenged us. They are not new, but it was important for us not to ignore them. We have a responsibility to prevent, to react, and to set an example in whatever we can do within the CNEF.”
Click here for the Stop abus website.