Understanding Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Ministry Leaders and Survivors

Pages: 176
ISBN: 978-1-910012-47-5
Publication Date: 27/02/2018

Price: £12.00

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This book is a courageous gift ... No Christian leader can answer the call of ministry today and not be informed about this issue.
Debra Hirsch

As many as one in four girls and one in six boys experience sexual abuse during childhood, and it’s estimated that half of the incidents are never reported.

Countless millions, both children and adults, carry this complex, often hidden pain. What does the path to healing look like for survivors? And how can ministry leaders, pastors, and counsellors best help them as they walk this difficult road?

Drawing on both his own and his wife’s experience as survivors of childhood sexual abuse, minister and lecturer Tim Hein offers his expertise, practical guidance, and empathy. Both for those who have suffered sexual abuse and those in a position to help them, this book is a rich resource filled with sober truths and the hope of Christ, calling survivors to take courage and walk unafraid down the road of healing.

What People are Saying

“This is such a timely, wise and important book. Tim Hein reflects and writes with the painful authenticity of personal experience of sexual abuse, as well as deep Christian conviction and wide understanding, in order to empower survivors to find healing and to enable pastors and churches to understand how they can help them in realistic and loving ways. He engages with the difficult questions, the pathologies and the limitations which he and other survivors and pastors encounter. It’s a moving, mature, challenging and hopeful work which should be readily available in every Christian church, and which anyone engaged in pastoral work will learn much from.”
The Very Revd Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, London

“This book is a courageous gift, arriving at just the right time … No Christian leader can answer the call of ministry today and not be informed about this … This is a constructive book, navigating the issue with clarity. It it also a courageous book that unpacks the elements of complex trauma and is bold enough to tackle the question of suffering. And – despite the difficult subject – it is a safe book, an essential pastoral resource.”
Debra Hirsch, Author, Speaker and Church Leader

“When Jesus taught, whether in the synagogue, the market place, or on a mountainside, the gospel writers record that people were amazed at his teaching, ‘because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law’. Reading Understanding Sexual Abuse, I sense something very similar. Tim Hein writes as someone who has authority: the authority that comes from walking the long, hard road of trauma, survival and recovery. Tim manages to draw on his own and his wife Priscilla’s experiences with openness, sensitivity and compassion, but without sentimentality or angst, and in a way that informs and empowers the reader.

As a professional working in the field of child protection, I have discovered fresh insights into the nature and impact of child abuse. Tim writes with deep understanding, backed up by relevant and meaningful research. As a spiritual director, I have found myself encouraged and equipped to stand alongside those who have suffered or may be suffering from abuse. As someone who has seen first-hand the dreadful reality of child abuse, I believe that this book offers hope for many who walk that road. One of the greatest needs we all have – whatever the traumas we have faced – is for safe, sacred space within which we can discover the love and hope of the one who comes to give us life. This book provides just that.

Understanding Sexual Abuse is a book I will return to repeatedly. The lessons Tim conveys are lessons that are relevant to survivors of all kinds of trauma – not just sexual abuse, but any form of abuse, coercion or control. And they are relevant to all those who sit beside those who are in pain: whether as a spiritual companion, offering prayer ministry, as a counsellor or pastor, or simply as a welcoming friend.”
Dr Peter Sidebotham, Paediatrician, Spiritual Director and co-editor, Child Abuse Review.

“Before this book was even finished I knew it must be written – that Tim’s story needed to be told for it contains a powerful and needed witness. Written both from personal experience and with a pastoral touch, this is a healing, wise book for victims of sexual abuse, those who love them, and anyone leading in Christian churches or ministries today.”
Mark Sayers, Senior Pastor of Red Church, Melbourne, Australia, Author of Disappearing Church and Strange Days

“This book brings together Tim Hein’s insights as a thoughtful educator, pastor, theologian, and survivor of child sexual abuse. This is a courageous book. Tim vulnerably shares his story of trauma and pain and his ongoing journey toward healing. He doesn’t pretend to know exactly what other survivors have experienced but instead offers his insights in ways that show understanding of the multiple impacts of abuse on survivors and offers pathways of support and healing. Survivors of abuse will find sources of healing and hope in this resource. This book is a gift to people engaged in Christian ministry. Tim draws from trauma research and biblical, theological, and pastoral foundations to equip Christian ministers to offer compassionate, careful, and well-informed support to survivors.”
Deirdre Palmer, Senior Lecturer in Christian education, family and children ministries, Adelaide College of Divinity

“There are other helpful books on surviving sexual assault, but none with as much wisdom and heart as Understanding Sexual Abuse by Tim Hein. A survivor himself, Tim intersperses his own beautifully told story of healing throughout this extremely practical and biblical look at how to survive abuse and how to help those who’ve been abused. This book is a gift.”
Michael Frost, Morling College, Sydney

About the Author

Tim Hein is Vice Principal and Director of Discipleship at Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in Adelaide, Australia. He is an ordained minister in the Uniting Church in Australia and speaks and preaches regularly on the Christian faith. He lives in Adelaide with his wife, Priscilla.

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