Member Complaint Case Policy
1. Problem/Complaint form: Any person making a complaint will be pointed to the ACBC website to fill out a Problem/Complaint form on the contact us page.
2. Form Review: The office of the Executive Director will receive all Problem/Complaint forms for review. As well as see that any problem the office becomes aware of, that appears to be a violation of ACBC Standards, is followed up on.
3. Biblical Protocol: If it is learned that the complainant has not followed the biblical protocol of first going to the other person (via meeting, call, or letter), they will be directed to do so and invited to recontact the member care office if the situation is not resolved. This does not mean the complainant cannot be assisted in acquiring other counsel or church help to communicate where there is a victimization claim. The complainant will be responsible to take unresolved clear sin and reconciliation issues to the church for process Matthew 5:23; 18:15ff ; 2 Cor. 13:1; and 1 Tim 5: 19-20 Criminal behavior complaints (with evidence), must be reported immediately to local authorities by the complainant (with assistance if needed), as per applicable local regulations.
4. The Opening of a Case: If the complaint is made with sufficient details to raise concern that an ACBC By-Law, Standard of Conduct, Standard of Doctrine, Policy and Procedure, or Covenant Statement is possibly being violated, the office of the Executive Director will do some preliminary investigation. All parties will be communicated with enough to gain a clearer picture of the allegations supported by evidence. An official case will only be opened if a violation of a Standard seems confirmed. The Office of the Executive Director will seek to facilitate a quick resolution to any failure of the above standards with Christ like care. When damage control and/or crisis counseling is needed, the Office of the Executive Director will arrange a meeting with the parties involved and an appropriate Committee, Board or Fellow member.
5. Membership Hold: If a member is deemed uncooperative in the investigation (by two witnesses), he or she is continuing to sin and/or break ACBC standards in the initial attempts towards resolution, or if the issue at hand is of a very serious nature (i.e. sexual inappropriateness or immorality, safety matters, unlawful actions, ongoing deception issues), the case will be referred to the Executive committee with the recommendation that the membership of the counselor in question be placed on hold. This hold means that the member’s name will be temporarily removed from the Find a Counselor page of the ACBC website, and the member must refrain from taking on any new counselees, until the situation is resolved. The member will remain on Membership Hold status until he or she is cleared, has repented, and/or is compliant with ACBC Standards.
6. Membership Remediation: If a case cannot be satisfactorily resolved due to (1) continued lack of cooperation on the part of the member in question, (2) the involvement of his or her church becomes necessary for a sin issue, or (3) failures to comply or complaints continue/are repeated, or (4) additional training or study seems needed before compliance is possible, the office of the Executive Director will take the issue/case to the Executive committee for determination concerning a Remediation Status for the member. This standing means a new counselor will be sought for their present counselees/supervisees. In addition, if it is the Executive Committee’s determination that remediation is needed, a schedule of remedial requirements will be outlined and must be met before reinstatement to regular membership is possible (i.e. certain tasks, individual study, counseling and/or additional or repeated training). To return to Regular Member status, the member in question will also need the re-affirmation of the Executive Committee and their church leadership.
7. Membership Termination: If there is failure to comply with remediation requirements set forth by the Executive Committee within an appropriate time frame, the office of the Executive Director shall send full report to the ACBC Board of Trustees, and inform the member in question of their right to a personal appeal before the Board. Following a review of the report and any appeal made, the Board will make a final determination concerning membership termination. The office of the Executive Director will communicate the determination to the member. If the member in question remains in violation of a clear and serious biblical standard and will not repent, the office of the Executive Director will update their church leadership, any entities they are accountable to for biblical counseling ministry, and those who offered letters of recommendation at the time of the member’s application to membership.
8. Throughout this document “evidence” refers to credible, testimony of two witnesses to an event, or one witness and corroborating materials such as documents or recordings.
9. The permanent records of all such complaints and subsequent proceedings shall be kept in a central, secure location for not less than 50 years