(You can download the advisory panel process in document form here and for church councils here)

One of the mandates of the Classical Abuse Response Team is to conduct Advisory Panel process when allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct* are brought by an adult against a church leader The process is to be followed when

a. the alleged victim is an adult, ** or

b. when the alleged victim comes forward as an adult with an allegation of abuse that took place during the victim's childhood or adolescence.

The process can only begin upon invitation by a church council.

The process is an ecclesiastical procedure and every attempt is made to provide a non-adversarial environment. (The use of the advisory process does not prevent the accuser from taking criminal or civil action if deemed necessary).

When an advisory panel is convened, potential members of the panel must be members of the classis-wide Abuse Response Team. (These team members are recommended by their church council or pastor and represent different occupations and professions). The panel members may not be members of the accused or alleged victim’s church nor may they have any ongoing affiliation with the accused or alleged victim. Potential members must also have had training in the panel process as well as be committed to keeping the process confidential. These guidelines must be followed to maintain integrity in the panel process and respect for the participants.

Every effort is made to ensure confidentiality while at the same time ensuring that all participants are aware of the expectations and purposes of the process.

For more information or clarification, please contact the Classis Abuse Response Team coordinator or the Office of Abuse Prevention, which is mandated by the CRC to assist and provide consultation to councils.

* The Christian Reformed Church Order Article 84 and its Supplement, defines the expression of sexual misconduct as the sexual exploitation of a parishioner, minor or adult, regardless of age or consent, for the purposes of sexual gratification and maintaining control over the person.

** Victim must be at least 19 years of age to at time of request to executive of council