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Issue: Catholic Church works hard to protect children

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

The Catholic Church has done more to protect children than almost any other organisation in the United States. Consider:

  • Safe environment training is taking place in 193 dioceses/eparchies of the country. Over two million adults have been trained to recognise the behaviour of offenders and what to do about it. Over five million children have been equipped with the skills to help them protect themselves from abuse.
  • Background checks are conducted on church personnel who have contact with children. Over two million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.

The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children.

All dioceses/eparchies have codes of conduct spelling out what is acceptable behaviour. This serves to let people know what can and cannot be done, as well as letting others know what behaviour can be expected. It encourages the reporting of suspicious behaviour. All dioceses/eparchies have victim assistance coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard.

In 2009, $6,536,109 was spent on therapy for the victims of clergy sexual abuse. All dioceses/ eparchies have safe environment coordinators who assure the ongoing compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Bishops are meeting with victims. Dioceses/eparchies have healing masses, retreats for victim/survivors and other reconciliation events.

Zero-tolerance policy

There is a zero-tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. If a credible accusation is made against a cleric, he is permanently removed from ministry regardless of how long ago the offence occurred. Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological testing for those wishing to enter the seminary.

The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has been done but more needs to be done. Until child sexual abuse is no longer part of society, the church will continue its efforts to stop it.

I am, etc.,