Healthy and Welcoming: NWUUC Sexually Safer Congregation Policy

Guiding Principles

Our congregation creates loving community, inspires joy and spiritual growth, and supports courageous action.

~ NWUUC Mission Statement

At Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation we covenant to welcome all people to the table, to nourish and serve each other, and to respect and honor the inherent worth and dignity of every person. To achieve these goals it is essential that we maintain a safe environment that protects children, youth, and adults from harm while fostering their spiritual growth.

We have designed these policies to promote a safe environment and to enable all to follow their own spiritual paths in an atmosphere of respect and mutual support. We have addressed numerous facets of operating a safer congregation, including preventing and promptly responding to incidents of verbal or sexual abuse and physical or sexual harassment, operation of the Religious Education program, and transportation during off site trips and special overnights. These policies will naturally evolve over time as we respond to incidents and learn to better refine our safety procedures. In adopting this policy, we accept the responsibility to educate ourselves about sexual abuse and harassment, and to take the necessary steps to assure the policy's successful implementation.

Policy Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation April 2016

Healthy and Welcoming: NWUUC Sexually Safer Congregation Policy by Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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The Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation has created a Safer Congregation Policy in an effort to ensure the healthiest environment for all members, friends, and guests. The lifeblood of our congregation is community: community in worship, community in lifespan religious education, community in service, and community in caring relationships. When we gather we welcome others and we welcome our true, best selves. To create the healthiest environment for all comers to our ministry, we acknowledge that safety must be a primary concern. We will work continuously to create a safer and healthier congregation.

This policy is grounded in the principles of our religious community, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, which call us to affirm and promote:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person. Every person’s sexuality is sacred and worthy of respect.

Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. We treat others as we would want to be treated; therefore, sexual exploitation and interpersonal violence are wrong.

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. Accepting each other as we are means doing no harm and fostering wellbeing in one’s self and others.

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Our freedom to explore and express our individual sexuality is as important as acting responsibly for it.

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. As a community and an institution, we are responsible for creating a secure, safe, and nonviolent environment.

The goal of a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. We have the opportunity to create the kind of environment that lends itself to peace, liberty, and justice in human interactions, and we can become a model for the rest of society.

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. When we respect each person’s sexual integrity, we honor the wholeness of life and respect the web of all existence.

Table of Contents

Guiding Principles



  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment and Employees
  • Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Child Abuse

Relationship between Staff and Congregants

  • Minister
  • Director of Religious Education
  • Other Staff

Prevention of Sexual or Physical Abuse and Harassment

  • Training and Education
  • Screening and Supervision of Adults Working with Children and Youth

Gender Identity and Expression among Congregants

Religious Education Safety Procedures

  • Emergency Contacts
  • Adult Supervision
  • Visibility
  • Bathroom and Diapering
  • Empty Room Policy
  • Expressions of Affection
  • Supervision of Children and Youth
  • Travel Safety Protection Policy
  • Requirements of Adult Leaders on Field Trips and Overnight Events

Relationships within Youth Group (romantic/sexual relationships, public displays of affection & exclusive relationships)

Sexual Abuse/Harassment Among Children

Responding to Complaints of Sexual or Physical Abuse or Harassment

  • Reporting Within the Congregation
  • Response Group
  • Response Team
  • Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse
  • Leave of Absence and Restrictions with Children
  • Other Inappropriate Behavior
  • Additional Responsibilities of the NWUUC Board and RE Team

Guidelines Involving Sex Offenders

  • Limited Access Agreement
  • Steps To Take
  • Reasons For Excluding A Person From All Congregation Activities

Use of Technology & Social Media for Clergy, Staff and Volunteers

  • Communication and Social Media
  • Blogging by NWUUC Staff
  • Use of Technology by Staff and Volunteers


  • Limited Access Agreement (Sample)
  • Limited Access Agreement - CONFIDENTIAL (Sample, in cases of convicted sex offender)
  • Screening Form for Youth Group Staff and Volunteers
  • Child Protection Covenant