Published in Child Abuse & Neglect

Dec 2019

When religious institutions are discussed in the context of child maltreatment, the topic is typically sources of danger for children. Although some religious institutions are counted among the formal organizations in which child abuse has occurred and in which accusations have been covered up, to focus solely on religion and its institutions as sources of threat or to exclude them from discussions of addressing, preventing, and eradicating violence against children, would be a mistake. Throughout the world, there exist communities of faith that provide formal and informal resources, supports, and opportunities to children and families in their midst. This article provides a rationale for including religious institutions in conversations about and in efforts to protect children, examples of efforts by religious institutions to provide protection to children, a discussion of religion and its institutions as potential sources of risk for children, and suggestions for research on the role of religious institutions in child protection.


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