A statement about NEAC's sexual misconduct policies

December 11, 2017

December 2017
The accusations of sexual misconduct against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and other prominent public figures have sparked a sea change in our culture. Victims of sexual misconduct/abuse are feeling empowered to come forward and share their stories as never before.
It is our hope that the light these brave revelations shed on this issue will help all of us have more open conversation about the attitudes and behaviors that foster sexual misconduct and abuse. In turn, we believe openness will help deter this behavior and, when incidents do occur, allow victims to come forward without hesitation or shame.
Sexual misconduct/abuse is not tolerated in the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church. All human beings have sacred worth because we are created in the image of God.
“God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.” - Genesis 1:27 (CEB)
The Conference has rigorous, long-standing policies in place to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct or abuse.
We want to assure those in our churches, camps, and other facilities that we are committed to making these safe spaces for everyone. Further, we want to be as transparent as possible, so that everyone understands our training and reporting procedures and how to engage these resources.
First and foremost, we want to prevent harm. Firm ethical guidelines and codes of conduct, vigorous training, and background checks are in place to prevent incidents. Should an incident occur, our trained responders are available to walk with victims and the accused every step of the way toward a just resolution focused on accountability and healing.   
Resources and information about our policies and procedures can be found on the New England Conference website; here are some additional links:
Safe Sanctuaries
Clergy policy
Lay policy
Response and Intervention Team
We as United Methodists are part of a connectional church, and the denomination as a whole is committed to preventing misconduct and addressing it when it occurs. 
On The United Methodist Church’s website, umc.org, you can find information and resources collected at “Sexual misconduct at church: What every member should know.”

UM Sexual Ethics is a ministry of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church