Recently I heard a prominent Catholic Church leader say something very significant and prophetic about the discussions around the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and in particular into protecting children, writes Francis Sullivan.
He said too often, during the discussions and debates around child sexual abuse, the children ‘slide in and out of the frame’.
What I took this to mean is that during this very difficult time, across so many parts of society, we can sometimes get so lost in the minutiae and the detail, we lose focus on one of the most important things – ensuring children are protected.
This, the church leader said, can never get lost as we go through the Royal Commission and as we put in place the changes to the Church it will inevitably bring.
Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business. This is the theme of this year’s National Child Protection Week. It’s timely to look at what the Church is doing now to make sure that children and young people are safe in our schools, in our parishes, in our hospitals and in our welfare services.
Since the mid-1990s we have had in place ground-breaking measures to respond to allegations of abuse. Towards Healing started in 1997 as a pastoral approach. It focuses very much on the individual needs of victims and survivors and works with them to come up with a suite of services and options.
It was developed over four years with input from victims, social work experts, Church leaders and many others. It is not promoted as an alternative to going to the police or through the courts. It has been reviewed twice since 1997 and on both occasions changes were made to make it more professional and more responsive to the needs of victims and survivors.
Francis Sullivan is CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council
FULL STORY Protecting children is everyone's business (Aurora)