Dioceses are gearing up for Child Abuse Awareness Month. It’s in April and the Office for Child and Youth Protection urges dioceses and parishes to utilize this annual effort to get more people involved.
The Catholic Church is the leading organization in dealing with child abuse in its worst form, Child Sexual Abuse. From 2002 onwards, virtually all of the 195 dioceses and almost 19,000 parishes have been involved in child safety programs. Other churches and organizations are looking to the Catholic Church for its leadership in this area.
There’s a new alertness to behavior around kids. Youngsters are taught to speak out when something makes them uncomfortable and adults know to look out for activity which can become problematic, anything from a cleric’s tickling and wrestling with a kid to a youth minister’s going on an overnight camping trip with youngsters without other adults being present.
The U.S. bishops’ Office for Child and Youth Protection Website has a series of articles on Child Protection that are worth sharing. They include everything from the history of child abuse, which wasn’t considered abuse back when children were viewed as property, to warnings about the Internet and text messaging http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/april_cap_month_2009.shtml
Would that we didn’t have to deal with this. But since we do, Catholics ought to be the best in facing a social scourge that goes way beyond the church.