April 15, 2010.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has vast knowledge and experience combating sex abuse after it dealt with the abuse crisis in 2001.
Now, to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the conference is offering 10 points to help protect children against clerical sexual abuse.
Teresa Kettelcamp, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Children and Young People, has published the points on the internet.
Point 1: The victim must be the primary person of concern.
Point 2: No one has the right to be around children without proper screening or without following rules.
Point 3: Boundaries must be clearly stated; one cannot presume people know them.
Point 4: Sexual abuse can be prevented by guardians, background checks, policies, safety training programs and codes of conduct.
Point 5: The residual effect of having been abused can last a lifetime.
Point 6: Relief from hurt and anger often comes from feeling heard.
Point 7: You cannot always predict who will be an abuser.
Point 8: There are behavioral warning signs of child abusers. Some abusers isolate potential victims with lavish gifts or allow them to participate in activities their parents would disapprove of.
Point 9: People can be taught to identify grooming behavior. These are actions taken by abusers to project the image they are kind while their intent is to engage in inappropriate behavior with a minor.
Point 10: Background checks scare off some predators and uncover past actions which should ban an adult from working with children.
Reexamining and publicizing efforts for child protection have been a priority of the Church since 2002, when the U.S. bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, in response to clergy abuse of children.
The Vatican has published the 10 points in its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.