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SALT LAKE CITY —The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made significant changes Monday to policies that will change the way bishops and stake presidencies counsel victims of sexual abuse and how they conduct interviews with church members, including women and children.
The four new statements in policies or guidelines released on Monday will become part of the church's Handbook of Instructions for local leaders. The statements were included in a document titled "Preventing and responding to abuse" that was included with a First Presidency letter sent to local leaders on Monday.
The changes are:
• "Members should never be encouraged to remain in a home or situation that is abusive or unsafe."
• "When a member of a stake presidency or bishopric or another assigned leader meets with a child, youth, or woman, he or she should ask a parent or another adult to be in an adjoining room, foyer, or hall. If the person being interviewed desires, another adult may be invited to participate in the interview. Leaders should avoid all circumstances that could be misunderstood."