This Safeguarding Policy for Children applies to the SW members in the United States, the Philippines, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
The Safeguarding Policy for SW members in the United Kingdom and Lebanon has distinctive elements because of the requirements for the safeguarding of children in those countries and can be found here.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Introduction
The Servants of the Word (SW) are committed to safeguarding all children and young people regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, or beliefs. We will take care that our relationships with all are characterized by respect, modesty, restraint, and concern for their welfare, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Creating a safe environment for everyone we serve will always be a priority and part of our mission.
The following policies and practices are intended to assist members in making decisions about interactions with minors in mission/service and in all other contexts.
Members must also respect any child protection policy implemented by their service organization. Where the policies of their service organization differ from the SW Safeguarding Policy for Children, the members must abide by the strictest policy.
Section 2: Definitions
The terms “child,” “children,” “young people,” or “minor” mean any person under the age of 18, and they are used more or less interchangeably.
The term “parent” means a child’s birth or adoptive parent, legal guardian, or legal care giver.
A “brother” or “member” of the Servants of the Word (SW) means any committed brother or any brother who is in formation.
Section 3: Relating to Children
Members of the SW have some degree of interaction with children in the various contexts in which they serve, work, and live including, but not limited to:
- Youth work: activities related to our service and mission as a religious order.
- Personal relationships: relationships with individuals and families both within and outside of the community life of the Sword of the Spirit (SOS), including their personal friends and acquaintances.
- Family: Within brothers’ own families there is a greater scope for the expression of relationships with children based on the unique nature of such relationships, trust born from being members of the same family, and practices and traditions within members’ own families. Brothers can have a strong impact in these relationships (with younger siblings, nieces, nephews), and so they should conduct themselves with prudence within the context of the family, maintain good communication with the parents, and respect the overall spirit of this policy.
Members are expected to adhere to the following ethical and behavioral standards in all aspects of their personal lives and mission work.
Section 4: Code of Conduct for SW Brothers
Brothers will take care that their relationships with children are characterized by respect, modesty, and concern for children’s welfare.
We will relate to minors in a way that is always appropriate to the nature and purpose of our relationship with them (as a godfather, or youth worker, or uncle, etc.).
Any form of abuse, including sexual abuse, towards a minor is strictly prohibited. To that end, it is important to recognize that it is every member’s responsibility to protect minors from any kind of harm at all times and to respect this Code of Conduct. The following standards for interactions with minors are meant to be a non-exhaustive list of appropriate and inappropriate conduct.
Expressions of affection between a member and his family members must also reflect these standards, socially appropriate norms, and family traditions.
Brothers should immediately report any disclosures of abuse or maltreatment of minors, significant behavior problems and how they were handled, injuries, or any interactions that might be misinterpreted (see section 5, “On Reporting”).
Brothers will strive to have a balanced approach of being accessible to children while maintaining the proper dignity, respect, and distance that should characterize child/adult relationships. The initiatives that children take and responses that children make to brothers (e.g., a child’s level of familiarity or affection), should not determine how brothers relate to children in return.
If a child relates in a way that is overly familiar or more affectionate than is appropriate, the brother will take care to redirect the child’s actions and not relate in a similar manner in return.
Brothers will be careful not to relate to children in a way that is or may be interpreted as sexual, sexually suggestive, or abusive.
Brothers will dress modestly as is fitting for men who seek to be examples to young people.
In situations in which brothers are invited by a family to have a special relationship with a child (e.g. becoming a godfather, a sponsor for confirmation, a mentor, etc.), they will conduct themselves according to the purpose of this relationship and follow our decisions for relating to minors. In addition, patterns for relating to children in these relationships must be worked through and approved by the parents.
Members are prohibited from engaging in the following behaviors:
- Using, possessing, or being under the influence of illegal drugs or being intoxicated on alcohol while supervising minors.
- Providing or allowing minors to consume alcohol outside the laws and age restrictions of the country in which this policy is being applied and outside Christian religious ceremonies. Illegal drugs are prohibited under any circumstances.
- Showing or exposing minors to sexually oriented or morally unacceptable materials such as magazines, cards, videos, video games, films, clothing, images, music, etc.
- Possessing, distributing, and/or downloading real or virtual child pornography.
- Dating or becoming romantically involved with minors.
- Forming exclusive, secret, or “special” relationships or establishing “favorites” with individual children.
Appropriate affection from adults is important for a child’s development. The SW want to promote a positive, nurturing environment while protecting everyone involved. Appropriate physical contact is encouraged, while inappropriate displays of physical contact are prohibited.
Physical interactions with minors should occur in public, should be appropriate, and should be non-sexual (following the acronym, PAN: public, appropriate, non-sexual). Members should exercise prudence when engaging in physical contact with minors and ask themselves whether the interaction would be perceived by an outside person exercising reasonable judgment as nonsexual.
Appropriate Physical Interactions include the following:
- Brief hugs, including kneeling or bending down for brief hugs with small children
- Shoulder-to-shoulder hugs or arm around shoulder
- Pats on the shoulder or back
- Hand-shakes, high fives, and fist bumps
- Touching hands, shoulders, and arms
- Briefly holding hands during prayer in a group setting or when escorting small children
- Pats on the head when culturally appropriate
- Kisses on the cheek when culturally appropriate, to greet or say farewell, and if initiated by the other person
- Lap sitting under the age of five
Inappropriate Physical Interactions include the following:
- Lengthy embraces or embraces with excessive physical contact
- Kissing on the mouth
- One-on-one wrestling
- Piggyback rides
- Any type of massage given by a brother to a child or by a child to a brother
- Being in the same bed or sleeping bag with a minor
- Any form of unwanted affection or touching
- Engaging in any type of sexual contact with minors. For the purposes of this policy, sexual contact includes but is not limited to touching the thighs, genitals, buttocks, pubic region or chest of another, and vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral intercourse.
- Using physical discipline in any way for behavior management of minors. Prohibited forms of physical discipline include spanking, slapping, pinching, hitting, or any other physical force as retaliation or correction for inappropriate behaviors by minors. If a child’s immediate safety is at risk, brothers may take necessary action, such as briefly holding the child, to ensure the child’s safety (e.g., to prevent the child from running in front of a car, breaking up a fight between two children, preventing a child from assaulting another, etc.). The SW Child Protection Officer (SW-CPO) and the parents of the child will be informed of such actions.
A brother will tell the child’s parents, the SW-CPO, and his service supervisor or elder about any physical contact that has occurred that might be questionable or could be construed as questionable.
Members are prohibited from speaking to minors in a way that is, or would be construed by an observer, as harsh, coercive, threatening, intimidating, shaming, derogatory, demeaning, or humiliating.
Appropriate Verbal Interactions include the following:
- Positive reinforcement and encouragement
- Appropriate jokes/friendly teasing
Inappropriate Verbal Interactions include the following:
- Name-calling, cursing, and belittling
- Derogatory remarks about a minor’s family members
- Using sexual jokes, sexually suggestive language or innuendo
- Oversharing personal history
- Asking minors to keep secrets
- Giving compliments relating to physique or body development which could be construed to be of a sexual nature
- Discussing sexual experiences, history, or habits, or in any way involving minors in the personal problems or issues of brothers
- Engaging in sexually oriented conversations with minors, except when the conversation is part of a legitimate discussion appropriate for teenagers regarding human sexuality issues. Such conversations should convey Christian teaching on these topics.
A brother will tell the child’s parents, the SW-CPO, and his service supervisor or elder and about any verbal interaction that has occurred that might be questionable or could be construed as questionable.
One-on-one interactions between a brother and a minor may provide a valuable opportunity for a child to develop healthy relationships and grow in maturity. These should be conducted with the appropriate safeguards, which include the following.
- Brothers will avoid situations where they are alone in private with a child (e.g. being alone in a home, in a room with the door closed, out of sight of other adults, etc.).
- When staying overnight with a family other than their own, brothers will not be in private with a child while in that family’s home.
- Brothers will not sleep in the same immediate space (room or tent or similar) with children unless required for health or safety reasons, and then only with another adult present.
- Brothers will primarily seek to spend time with children in family contexts or service settings, and primarily in a group and/or with other adults present.
- One-to-one interactions for purposes of mentoring/spiritual growth of a minor must be approved beforehand by a service supervisor or elder and with the consent of the child’s parents.
- One-to-one interactions must occur in a public place, fully visible to others. Public places may include outdoor spaces often frequented by others, or a room or office with windows that allow visibility into the room and where others are likely to pass by.
- Brothers will avoid physical contact during one-to-one interactions. If unavoidable, ensure physical and verbal interactions align with this Code of Conduct.
When a brother has found himself in a private situation with a child, he will report it promptly to the parents of the child, to the SW-CPO, and to his service supervisor or elder, where it has not been agreed in advance by them.
Electronic Communication and Social Media
Electronic communication and social media platforms provide many benefits, but they also present a private setting and the potential for increased access to minors and inappropriate behavior. Therefore, any use of electronic communications and social media by brothers with minors must take place in accordance with the following:
- Brothers will use phones, social media, letters, and any other form of personal communication with minors in a way which is consistent with the SW Code of Conduct as it pertains to verbal interactions and all other sections.
- Electronic communications for children under the age of 14 should occur with the parents instead of with the minors. Brothers shall only communicate with older minors (aged 14-17) for defined purposes (e.g. participation in a small group in a youth program, approved mentoring relationships, etc.) and via preapproved means of electronic communication. Parents must approve both the purpose of the communication and the electronic means for the communication to occur.
- All program-related messaging between brothers and minors should be appropriate to the purposes of the program (e.g. to pass on general information or for making practical arrangements). All communications shall be kept professional and exhibit respect, patience, courtesy, tact, and maturity.
- Personal social networking profiles and/or blogs of brothers shall not be shared with minors. Brothers with profiles on social networking sites shall not request to be “friends” with or follow minors or approve friend or follow requests from minors.
- Electronic communication with minors should not occur late at night without good reason.
- Brothers will not post inappropriate pictures, videos, or comments.
- Brothers will not post photos or videos of minors who are not members of their own family on their personal social media pages, and will only post them on public, service/mission sponsored sites with prior approval from parents.
- Should ongoing contact with an individual minor be necessary because of the type of program or relationship (like a mentoring relationship), the pattern for this relating must be worked through and approved by the parents and must follow the standards for relating to minors in a one-to-one situation.
- The frequency and content of communication with minors, no matter what means are used, should always be appropriate to the role and nature of the relationship.
Gift-Giving and Gift Acceptance
Gifts should not be given to a minor without the approval of the parents (e.g. a confirmation gift, a gift to a godchild).
Gifts should not be received from a minor without the approval of the parents. If approved, the brother should receive the gift openly and inform his supervisor or elder.
Secret gifts are never permitted, and the brother should notify the minor’s parents, the SW-CPO, and his supervisor or elder, of a minor’s attempt to give a secret gift.
Brothers will not transport children without the permission of their parents and approval from their supervisor/elder.
When transporting children, brothers will avoid traveling with only one child in the vehicle and will respect the “rule of three” (at least two adults must transport a single child, or at least two children must be present if transported by a single adult). Should safety or other considerations make traveling alone with a child unavoidable, the brother will report this immediately to the child’s parents and his supervisor/elder.
When possible, brothers will have the children sit in the backseat and avoid any unnecessary physical contact.
Brothers are prohibited from making any unnecessary stops (e.g. personal errands) and must go directly to their final destination, which has been previously shared with the children’s parents and the brother’s supervisor/elder.
Brothers will document any unusual occurrences that happen during transport (e.g. a health incident with one of the children) and report them immediately to the children’s parents, to the SW-CPO, and to his supervisor/elder.
Restrooms, showers, and locker rooms are facilities where minors are particularly vulnerable. Consequently, activities in these facilities must be closely monitored according to the following:
- Brothers will safeguard the physical modesty and dignity of children, taking care not to be alone in rest rooms/toilets or shower/changing facilities with children.
- If for reasons of safety there is a need to supervise children in such situations, such supervision will take place with another adult present.
- Whenever possible, changing and showering facilities or other privacy-related arrangements for adults should be separate from facilities or arrangements for children.
Section 5: On Reporting
It is essential that in our communities and the places where we work and minister, a transparent and effective system of reporting is in place.
Any concern or allegation in relation to the welfare of a child, whether reported by an adult or young person, will be taken seriously by the Servants of the Word (SW) and responded to appropriately.
Any person, including a SW brother (member), employee, or appointee of the SW, may and should bring SW-related concerns regarding minors to the Child Protection Officer (CPO) immediately. This includes concerns raised in relation to children participating in a SW-sponsored event and/or concerns involving a SW member, no matter what the context may be.
The default response of the SW is to inform parents about issues regarding their children. If contacting parents may put a child at additional or greater risk, that is, when it is possible that parents are harming their own children, decisions on parental communication will be left to the judgment of civil authorities and/or law enforcement.
Initial Response to Boundary Violations with regard to Minors
Boundary violations (red-flag behaviors) are defined as conduct that is inappropriate, imprudent, and in violation of appropriate boundaries as outlined in the SW Code of Conduct (section 4), but that does not rise to the level of abuse or a crime.
Response by a Brother (Member)
When a brother observes warning signs/ boundary violations, he has a responsibility to respond to them first by interrupting them. Members are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the brother engaged in the inappropriate behavior.
A brother who has a concern or is aware of another brother violating appropriate boundaries as outlined in the Code of Conduct or exhibiting warning signs of inappropriate behavior with minors shall inform the CPO and Regional Elder (RE) within 48 hours of discovery and submit a written report as soon as possible.
Response by the Servants of the Word
The CPO will convey to the person/brother who reported the behavior that the report is being taken seriously.
The CPO will speak with the brother who has been reported.
The CPO will inform the child’s parents of concerns or boundary violations.
If more information is needed, the CPO will interview and/or survey others who may have pertinent information.
Initial Response to Allegations of Abuse of Minors
We are committed to responding to all forms of abuse of minors. Systematic procedures for responding to an allegation of abuse, including those that are made anonymously, can protect everyone’s rights, and ensure that the Servants of the Word responds legally and effectively. Reports and allegations of abuse may come from a variety of sources, including alleged survivors or their family members, members of the SW, or from an alleged perpetrator. In every case, the SW commits itself to dealing compassionately with, and protecting the rights of, all those involved.
Response by a Brother (Member)
If abuse is disclosed to a brother, he will assure the individual disclosing that he or she was correct to disclose the abuse.
Brothers must report any suspected or known abuse of a minor by a SW brother to the civil authorities. The report will be made following the applicable legal procedures in the locality or domestic law. This is the case if the accused brother is still living or not, or whether he is a current or former member of the SW. The CPO may help the brother make this report to the civil authorities.
Brothers will report known or suspected abuse of a minor who has now become an adult, in accordance with the relevant civil laws of the place where the abuse of a minor was alleged to have occurred, regardless of whether the accused SW brother is still living or not, or whether he is a current or former member.
The brother will advise any alleged adult survivor who was abused as a minor of their right to report directly to civil authorities and encourage them to make a report.
The brother will report to the CPO and RE, within 48 hours of discovery, any suspected or known abuse of a minor by a present or former SW brother, whether the alleged victim is a minor or has now become an adult. He will submit a written report as soon as possible.
Brothers must also report known or suspected possession, distribution, and/or downloading of real or virtual child pornography, according to the relevant civil laws.
Under no circumstances should a brother who has become aware of an allegation carry out his own investigation.
Response by the Servants of the Word
When an allegation of abuse is first received, the CPO will inform the civil authorities concerning allegations related to abuse as required or appropriate under the relevant laws.
The CPO will inform the Regional Elder, and where relevant the legal compliance officer, of any allegations which have been brought to his attention. As appropriate, he may also inform the Presiding Elder, Regional Steward, and/or Senior Steward of such information. Such communication will be done in such a way so as to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
The CPO will inform the child’s parents of the allegations (according to section 4, the Code of Conduct).
The CPO will attempt to gather sufficient information to complete a written preliminary report. The report should include the following information: name of the alleged survivor; age of the alleged survivor; address and phone number of the alleged survivor; named of the accused; approximate dates of the alleged abuse; nature, type and location of the alleged abuse; who made the report; and any additional relevant details.
The CPO will ensure that the RE informs the Chair of the Review Board of the allegations. Reports and allegations of the abuse of minors shall be submitted to the Review Board, which will be kept apprised of the situation at regular intervals.
Response to Survivors
The CPO will explain to the person coming forward with an allegation of child abuse the procedure the SW will follow in response to the allegation and will provide them a written guide explaining the same information.
A representative of the SW will normally offer to meet in person with an individual who reports abuse of a minor by a member, to promote the healing process and to understand how the abuse has affected the individual. Whether or not the alleged survivor asks to meet with a representative of the SW, the SW will maintain a compassionate and humble manner regardless of the demeanor of alleged survivor, recognizing that the experience of abuse and difficulty of coming forward may bring out strong emotions during the disclosure process.
In situations where the alleged survivor has legal representation, the SW will normally extend an offer to meet with the individual through their legal counsel. If this is not possible, the SW will maintain documentation concerning the reason(s) why and concerning any alternative form of pastoral assistance that was offered.
The SW will document every attempt to assist in the healing of an individual who has approached the SW to report being abused as a minor by a current, former, or deceased member.
Response to Accused Members
The CPO will consult with the civil authorities about what is possible in terms of communicating with the accused member. Unless disallowed by civil authorities, we will follow the provisions below.
The CPO will inform the accused brother about the allegation of abuse.
The CPO will inform the accused brother of his right to seek legal counsel before any further conversation into the matter. The SW recognizes that the brother may need assistance to engage such counsel, and will provide this assistance where needed.
When an allegation of abuse is received, if the initial evaluation by the CPO indicates that the allegation is possible, the SW will ensure that the brother against whom the allegation is made has no unsupervised access to minors for the duration of the process.
The Regional Elder, in consultation with the Review Board and the Presiding Elder, may impose additional restrictions on the accused brother for the duration of the process, including removing a brother from his responsibilities, reassigning his living situation, and/or limiting his movements and interaction with certain parties as is appropriate or helpful.
The RE or his delegate will maintain contact with the accused brother throughout the entire process to keep him apprised of the progress.
The SW will respect the accused brother’s rights under civil law.
Communication with Others
The SW will communicate with the organization where the alleged abuse took place and the organization where the member is currently providing service when:
- A report or allegation of abuse is received;
- An external investigation is commissioned by the SW;
- The external investigation is completed;
- A decision has been made by the SW about the allegation.
The SW will also notify the relevant authorities in the Sword of the Spirit—local, regional, and international—at each of the occasions listed above.
All communication will be done in such a way so as to not compromise investigation by civil authorities.
Cooperation with Civil Authorities
In cases of potential abuse where the civil authorities decide to investigate, the SW will cooperate and not interfere with their investigation.
Section 6: Child Protection Officer
There will be a designated SW “Child Protection Officer” (CPO) in each SW region.
The CPOs will handle any child protection issues or concerns that they are aware of or that have been raised regarding the SW.
The CPO for a SW region will normally be chosen from among the brothers serving as stewards in that region. He will act on behalf of the SW as the one responsible for making sure all required steps are carried out when dealing with child protection issues. There will also be a deputy CPO who will act on the CPO’s behalf if the CPO is unable or unavailable to carry out his duties. These positions will be appointed by the SW Regional Elder, and endorsed by the corporate board of that region, the Presiding Elder, and the Senior Steward. SW members and the appropriate representatives of other organizations to which brothers are assigned will be informed who the CPO is in their region.
The role of the CPO will include the following functions:
- Seeing that the SW Safeguarding Policy for Children is implemented and confirming that it is reviewed annually by members of the SW in his region.
- Seeing that training happens annually in the implementation of this policy and that ongoing instruction in abuse prevention is provided to the members.
- Seeing that any concern or allegation of abuse concerning SW activities or brothers is responded to appropriately and that necessary actions are taken (see section 5).
- Seeing that communication with the appropriate parties occurs if allegations are made regarding a member of the SW (see section 5).
- Seeing that criminal/disclosure background checks are carried out for any brother when relevant and allowed (or required) by law, particularly for those working with minors.
- Confirming that organizations to which SW members are to be assigned have adequate child protection safeguards and policies compatible with the terms of the SW Safeguarding Policy for Children. If this is not the case, he will review with SW leadership the wisdom and advisability of such an assignment.
- Communicating annually to organizations to which a SW member is assigned that the SW CPO must immediately be informed should any child safeguarding issues or concerns arise regarding that member.
- Overseeing, maintaining, and updating, in consultation with the RE, any intervention and safety plans that are currently in place.
- As part of the process of making a decision to move a brother to a new region, communicating to the CPO and the RE of that region any and all child protection issues related to the brother in question.
The CPO will be responsible for securely storing any written information related to child protection policies, allegations, issues or concerns raised, actions taken, and related communications. Such records will be retained indefinitely, subject to applicable legal requirements.
The CPO will keep a written factual record of concerns raised and/or allegations made, of communications with various persons and organizations, as well as the specific steps taken throughout the whole response process.
If and when required, the CPO may delegate some of the tasks and/or enlist the help of another person or persons to ensure the completion of his responsibilities, while retaining clear oversight of the whole process. Confidentiality will be maintained by whomever assists the CPO.
The CPO will seek advice from appropriate statutory, civil, legal, or other agencies as appropriate.
Section 7: Screening and Initial Formation
Screening of New Candidates
The following screening requirements are particularly designed to evaluate the candidate’s potential risk for abuse. Candidates will be specifically screened for a history of sexually abusing minors, intentional viewing of child pornography, and violating boundaries with minors.
For each new candidate, the SW will maintain documentation:
- A completed background check and a national sex offender registry check in countries where it is available. If a background check is not possible due to a country’s limitations, this will be documented.
- Three documented personal references (including at least one from a family member)
- Face-to-face interviews with more than one representative of the SW.
- A psychological evaluation conducted by a licensed mental health professional.
- A psycho-sexual history conducted by a licensed mental health professional with skills in conducting psycho-sexual histories and in assessing psycho-sexual health in preparation for a life of celibate chastity.
- A review of publicly accessible content on all social media, personal blog sites, and web sites associated with accounts controlled by the candidate
Vocation directors and formation directors will receive training and education to help them identify candidates who may be at risk of sexually abusing a minor.
Initial Formation of Members (for the definition of a “member,” see section 2)
The SW is committed to supporting members in formation and providing them with the needed tools to develop a mature sexuality. To this end, the SW has developed a formation plan with the following goals for each stage of our formation process:
- The SW will provide education for members in formation on how to develop a mature sexuality as a foundation for celibate chastity.
- The SW ensures members in formation are encouraged to identify and address challenges to maintaining celibate chastity and healthy personal relationships.
A member in formation who abuses a minor will not be permitted to continue in the SW.
A member in formation who is unable to maintain appropriate boundaries with minors, despite guidelines and instruction, will not be permitted to continue in the SW.
Section 8: Support and Accountability
By ensuring that all members participate in systems of support and accountability, the SW is better able to recognize potential issues early on, and possibly prevent sexual abuse of a minor.
Abuse Prevention Training for Members (and relevant topics)
The SW will ensure that its members are educated regarding the prevention of abuse of minors, giving special attention to topics which are of unique relevance to consecrated life and the work the SW conducts.
Brothers will receive ongoing training in the SW Safeguarding Policy for Children, and will receive ongoing education each year in topics that support the prevention of abuse.
Educational programs may be provided by the organizations where SW members lend their support or service. Members are encouraged to document any educational program completion and provide proof of completion to the CPO.
Only the Regional Elder and/or the CPO may excuse a member from the educational requirements due to physical or medical difficulties.
Support and Accountability Measures for Members
The Regional Elder or his delegate must meet annually with each member, and if a safeguarding matter has arisen, he will inform the CPO.
The SW will annually communicate the names of their CPO and Regional Elder, their respective contact information, as well as other relevant safeguarding information to any organization in which a member works in a position of trust with minors.
The SW will provide appropriate support and accountability to a member who discloses that he is attracted to minors but has not behaved inappropriately toward them.
Section 9: Review Board
Each SW region will have a Review Board which will function as a confidential consultative body to the Regional Elder and Presiding Elder.
The purposes of the Review Board are:
- To advise the SW on proper pastoral and/or disciplinary actions when allegations of abuse have been made or substantiated against a SW member.
- To advise the SW on proper pastoral and/or disciplinary actions to be taken when unsubstantiated allegations have been made against a SW.
- This role is particularly important in situations where statutory/civil authorities are not involved, decide not to be involved, or are involved but do not rule in any definitive way, e.g., do not file charges.
- To review Intervention Plans and Safety Plans that are in place for SW members.
- To review and advise the SW on its Safeguarding Policy for Children and the manner in which it is handling child protection matters.
The Review Board will be comprised of at least five members, all of whom are of high integrity and good judgment. At least one member will have expertise in the prevention of the abuse of minors, and at least one member will be a woman. Members of the SOS will not be a majority of the board.
The members of the Review Board will be appointed by the Regional Elder and endorsed by the corporate board of that region, the Presiding Elder, the Senior Steward, and the SOS Outside Coordinator for the region.
Review Board members will serve five year terms.
Review Board members will meet at least once per year with the Regional Elder and regional CPO. Meetings may be by conference call.
When there are no specific events or issues which require the action of the Board at the time the meeting is held, the meeting will be used by the SW as an updating and reporting vehicle to a body external to the SW.
The RE and the Review Board chair will ensure that the Review Board receives adequate training to fulfill their duties.