I am pleased to share a new online resource from Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. In a follow-up to the school’s landmark 2009 study of clergy sexual misconduct, Baylor surveyed and/or interviewed 280 survivors in 2015 to learn more about how churches respond to complaints of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct. The research team, led by Dr. David Pooler, found that only 8% of survivors felt supported by their church after the abuse occurred, only 9% found their church process helpful, and only 7% of churches had policies in place to support complainants. Eighty percent of surveyed survivors agree that the abuse harmed their spiritual life. On the bright side, while only 35% of survivors say they have recovered, 78% feel that they are on the path to recovery. You can dig into those statistics here.
You can also find:
* A Best Practice Guide for church response, based on interviews with survivors
* A short article explaining why clergy shouldn’t try to counsel their congregants
* A summary of the 2009 Baylor study of clergy sexual misconduct by the late Diana Garland: how prevalent it is, how it happens, and how churches can prevent it.
… and much more, by exploring Baylor’s home page for clergy sexual abuse research.
Please share widely.
We have lost a great leader in this fight. Last night, Diana Garland lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.
Among Dr. Garland’s many accomplishments:
* As the Dean of Baylor University’s School of Social Work, she led its growth from a two-professor department to one of the leading social work schools in the nation. In 2008, Garland led the landmark Baylor University study on clergy sexual misconduct.
* She wrote When Wolves Wear Shepherds’ Clothing, one of the very best essays about the experience of CSM survivors.
* She was a powerful force behind the launch of Baylor’s upcoming study of church response to CSM. (The survey is now closed. I’ll share results of the study — led by Dr. David Pooler — as soon as they are published.)
I never met Diana Garland in person, but the few times we spoke I was struck with her warmth, intelligence, commitment, and generosity of spirit. She never made me feel like “just another survivor.” She made me feel like an important part of the effort. I grieve her death, but mostly I thank God for her life. My healing — and the healing of many survivors — is more complete because of Diana Garland.
In April, Baylor University renamed the school of social work. It is now the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
You can read more about Dr. Garland’s work at Baylor here.
Please keep Diana Garland’s family and colleagues in prayer.