Southern Baptist Convention launches abuse hotline for victims

SBC issues formal apology for mishandling sexual abuse cases and offers resources for victims
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee held a special called meeting this week to address claims of sexual abuse being ignored for years.

“The reality is that we’ll never know the full extent of the pain and the hurt that was caused to survivors,” SBC Executive Committee Interim President Willie McLaurin said. “And so today, on behalf of all Southern Baptists, I want to issue a formal apology, and say that we are sorry to the survivors.”

Leaders of the organization said they entered into an agreement with a third party to maintain a hotline for survivors and already the phones have been ringing off the hook.

“For the survivor community I, I can’t imagine the pain that you were going through, and the pain that you have endured for decades. But I asked you to please be patient with us, as we try to grasp what’s going on what has happened,” SBC Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade said.

It’s an issue which hits close to home for those assisting victims of sexual abuse at Live Safe Resources in Marietta.

“Anytime any story like this comes up in the news it can certainly bring up difficult memories and feelings for people who have experienced any kind of sexual abuse in the past,” Live Safe Resources Chief Operating Officer Elisa Covarrubias said.

But the Southern Baptist crises is also a reminder that these survivors are not alone and there is always some there to listen and help.

“What we know is that about 60 % of cases go unreported and so we have to make sure that people are aware that they can come forward for help and that there are programs and services available to them,” Covarrubias said.