Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Lani Nelson-Zlupko, PhD

Second Advisor

Lee Underwood, PsyD


This dissertation explores the problem of Child Sexual Abuse within the Black Church by applying a situational crime prevention (SCP) lens to this issue in four stages. First, this dissertation traces the origins and application of situational crime prevention by criminologists in order to explore situational indicators that put children at risk within institutions. Second, this dissertation traces the emergence of the Black Church as a protective factor from historical trauma experienced by African Americans. Third, it identifies how some of these same protective factors have become situational risk factors within the Black Church that pose serious threats to children’s safety. These factors include a patriarchal leadership structure, the legacy of independent churches, the lack of organizational oversight, racial loyalty, and the rejection of formal training for ministry. Finally, this dissertation outlines comprehensive interventions which can protect black children from sexual abuse in the Black Church. Implications for policy, practice and research are provided.

Included in

Social Work Commons