Students at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) will now require students to take sexual abuse awareness training to complete their ministry degree programs. The new regulation was announced by the seminary earlier this month.
DTS is offering the course in collaboration with MinistrySafe.
The complete course by MinistrySafe will be offered by the college from spring of 2017, which will provide over 40 hours of training on preventive protocols in unique ministry settings. A shorter entry-level certification course is available this fall as well.
"There are some issues that a seminary just can't prepare you for and that you have to learn on the job once you're out in ministry," wrote Dr. Mark Bailey, president of DTS. "With this issue, if you're learning 'on the job,' something terrible has most likely already happened. We don't want our students and the children who are served by their ministries to experience that. That's why we're pleased to partner with MinistrySafe -- to equip our students to protect those who are most vulnerable."
Decades of sexual abuses by Catholic clergy all over the world were documented publicly, which led many Catholic and Protestant seminaries to offer their own internal trainings to prevent the sexual abuse of children.
"Listening to their statistics and stories, I realized how big a problem abuse can be and that there are procedures that churches and ministries need to be doing to protect our kids," Mark Yarbrough, DTS' vice president for academic affairs, told the Christian Post.
"The need for these guidelines are part of the new reality of 21st century ministry, and students need to have them before they enter ministry."
DTS will also provide this course online for the alumni free of charge, so that they could use it in the churches and ministries.
"An exciting aspect of this partnership is getting these resources into the hands of DTS alumni who serve all over the world in ministry positions," Kimberlee Norris, a sexual abuse trial attorney with MinistrySafe was quoted as saying in the DTS press release. "DTS has such broad influence among thriving ministries everywhere; equipping these ministries with effective resources is truly a privilege."
MinistrySafe was started by a team of husband and wife Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris to provide solutions to the risk of child abuse in churches and affiliated organizations.
"Every program providing services to children desires to foster a safe, exciting environment where learning and enrichment can occur. When an effective Safety System is put into place, staff members and volunteers can focus on their core purpose, knowing precautions have been taken to prevent abuse and protect children in their care," the MinistrySafe website reads, while also providing a link for 5-Part Safety System designed by it.