Church releases statement on missionary safety survey

In wanting to better understand the personal-safety risks for its full-time missionaries, the Church’s Missionary Department is turning to its best possible source — the missionaries themselves.

Last weekend, the Church’s 62,000 young adult full-time missionaries throughout the world received a link to an online survey, asking them about their experiences regarding any past assaults, robberies, attacks, threats, sexual assaults or sexual harassments during their day-to-day operations and in their assigned proselyting areas.

Not only were missionaries asked about their own experiences, they were asked if they had witnessed any such attacks or threats to others.

Missionary residences were also a part of the query, with questions on door locks, window coverings, smoke or fire alarms, carbon monoxide monitors and the general safety of the residential area.

“This survey is to help us better understand the day-to-day experiences and perceptions of missionaries around the world related to physical safety,” said Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

The survey is anonymous as to the identity of each missionary participant. However, each missionary identifies his or her mission as well as the specific location of current and past areas of assignment.

If a missionary answers in the affirmative regarding witnessing or being the victim of an attack or a threat, follow-up questions continue with more detailed and specific inquiries regarding the instances and the threats.

“The data from this survey will help us identify areas or circumstances where missionary safety may be at the greatest risk,” Hawkins said. “We intend to use the results to review and modify, as needed, missionary safety guidelines and instructions.”

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