Gabriel Dy-Liacco: preventing sexual abuse of minors is done by educating all people involved

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“Why does God let this happen if it’s not the children’s fault? Why do so few people help us?”

Pope Francis confirmed the ravage of poverty in the Philippines when he travelled there in 2015. 

It is a country where 200,000 children live in the street, and UNICEF estimates that eight out of 10 run the risk of suffering sexual abuses on the Internet. It is considered the world’s center of cyberpedophilia.

In fact, some are exploited by their own parents. The parents can receive money from pedophiles to commit abuse and broadcast it online.

One of the integral members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Filipino psychotherapist Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco, knows the situation well.

Through his professional experience, he knows the consequences caused by trauma from abuse and explains that the Pontifical Commission is a pioneer in the worldwide dissemination of prevention methods to combat abuse. They promote guidelines that consist of investing in the family. 

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
“These guidelines cover also the education of families. In terms of the research on preventing this type of crime from happening so far what the science says is the most effective tool from preventing sexual abuse of minors is by educating all people concerned.”

The key is to teach how to recognize a potential pedophile and to act when discovering cases of abuse. In this case, Dr. Gabriel says paying attention to the victims is most important, and he recognizes the Church hasn’t always been exemplary.

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
“One of the mistakes the Church has made in the past has been to not listen to the victims first.”

Over the course of nearly four years of existence, this commission has organized more than 200 activities to spread awareness to Church authorities about the dangers of sexual abuse. They have travelled to different countries and offered conferences to both Church hierarchy and lay people. 

One of their most applauded interventions is one that allows recently ordained bishops to attend a formation course, “baby bishops” school, offered by the Vatican understand their new role and assignment. 

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