The Valley Catholic April 16, 2019 - Page 4

4 April 16, 2019 | The Valley Catholic COMMUNITY April is Child Abuse Prevention Month Every April, Catholic parishes and schools across the United States participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month. We observe Child Abuse Prevention Month to highlight the importance of protecting minors from abuse. The Catholic Church understands that it is critical to build safety barriers around children and young people to keep them from harm. These barriers come in the form of codes of conduct, background evaluations, policies and procedures, and safety training pro- Over 2.5 million adults have undergone background checks and received safe environment training in the Church. -United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) grams. According to the USCCB, in the U.S., the Catholic Church has provided age appropriate safe environment abuse prevention training to more than 4 million children in Catholic Schools and in parish religious education pro- grams. Over 2.5 million adults have undergone background checks and received safe environment training in the Church. In the Diocese of San Jose, we are all part of a larger culture of protection and healing within the Church. Each one of us can play an important role in strengthening this culture. For example, we can better prevent abuse by ensur- ing that the signs of abuse are identified and reported when first noticed. We can also play a role in victim outreach by offering support, compassion, and prayers to those close to us who have been abused. The importance we place on carrying out these acts of charity will go a long way in creating a culture within our Church where children are safe and victims/survivors find healing. Report Abuse: If You See Something, Say Something If you have reason to believe or suspect that a child has been or is being abuse, it must be reported. Par- ish and school personnel, including clergy, are “Mandated Reporters” and are required by state law to report abuse, even a reasonable suspicion of abuse, to civil authorities (Law Enforcement or CPS). Volunteers are “Ethical Reporters” and should report abuse to authorities, and must report to diocesan Mandated Reporters. After making a report to the local authori- ties, the diocese request a follow up report to the Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at (408) 983-0113. If an adult victim/survivor needs to report a case of Clergy Abuse, we encourage them to fist contact their local civil authorities (Law enforcement). Once a report is filed with the local civil authorities, in- dividuals are encouraged to contact: 5 Five Ways t o p ro t e c t yo u r c h i l d re n f ro m sexual abuse Parents play the primary role in educating their children about sexual abuse. Here are 5 tips for teaching safety to the little ones God has entrusted to you. 1 Keep it practical. Teach your children the differences between safe touches and unsafe touches. 2 Tell your children that saying “no” is okay. Empower your children to say “no” if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable or touches them inappropriately. 3 Give your children a way to alert you. Tell your children they can use an excuse or share a special “code-word” with you to to alert you about an unsafe person or situation. Copyright © 2019, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. 4 Tell your children to report an unsafe touch. Let your children know they should tell you if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe around any adult or peer. You can also identify other adults they can tell about unsafe touches. 5 Tell your children you trust them. If your child makes a report to you, believe him or her. Tell them it is not their fault and that you love them. Immediately bring the allegation to the attention of public authorities. The Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at (408) 983-0113. Reports to the Diocese are accept- ed by either online submission or by phone. All reports are confidential to protect the rights of the victim. For online submissions, please use the following URL to access our secure third-party reporting server designated for this purpose: https://opcva.ethicspoint.com. A PRAYER FOR HEALING VICTIMS OF ABUSE God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen. Promise to Protect Pledge to Heal Copyright © 2014, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. To order publication no. 7-495, visit usccbpublishing.org or call 877-978-0757.