The Mormon church has changed its policies on domestic abuse and now advises leaders against encouraging members to stay in abusive relationships.
Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) announced Monday that they had revised the church’s policies on preventing and responding to abuse.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to all who are affected by this serious problem,” the church’s First Presidency wrote in the announcement.
The church added two key lines related to how leaders should respond to abuse.
“Members should never be encouraged to remain in a home or situation that is abusive or unsafe,” the guidelines now read, according to BuzzFeed. “Church leaders should never disregard a report of abuse or counsel a member not to report criminal activity to law enforcement personnel.”
The change comes after reporting on domestic violence allegations against then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Both of Porter’s ex-wives said that their LDS bishops encouraged them to remain married to Porter, despite the alleged abuse.
Following the Porter scandal, nearly two dozen Mormon women told BuzzFeed that church leaders counseled them to stay in abusive relationships.
The new policy also makes changes to reduce the amount of time that adults spend alone with children by requiring at least two adults to be present when teaching children in church settings, and to allow members to bring another adult to interviews, the traditionally one-on-one meetings between a member and church leader.
BY AVERY ANAPOL – 03/27/18 10:53 AM EDT