Evangelical Christians in Switzerland started a national network against “border violations”.
Around 60 professional and church associations met in two locations on 6 December (French-speaking members in Lausanne, German-speaking members in the town of Oberärgeri).
Under the umbrella of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, they launched platform to “develop a professional, mindful and open approach to behaviour that violates boundaries”.
“It took almost three years to prepare the foundation of this network”, the promoters of the initiative say. “There is a need for exchange of competences and prevention work, because behaviour that violates boundaries does not stop at church walls. Especially as communities committed to Christian values, we are called to act”.
The gathering linked the two meetings via the internet and included the signing of a charter both in German and French, through which “associations commit to a zero tolerance policy towards any abuse of power and boundary violating behaviour” and the implementation of “concepts for prevention and crisis intervention as well as standards for leaders and staff”.
A biennial accountability and impulse conference as well as the mutual exchange of know-how via a website will serve initiative.
The SEA said: “Fortunately, almost all associations already have a lot of experience. We want to build on this and pool our knowledge”.
“Among them are organisations from international development cooperation, where work is done with particularly vulnerable people; Christian social welfare organisations, which have been committed to tackling this issue professionally for decades; youth associations, which have had protection concepts for their camps for a long time, and churches, which are thinking intensively about how to organise pastoral care or install reporting centres. The motto is: “We watch and act! We do not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse of power or other violations of boundaries”.