New Safeguarding Licentiate Program to provide tools for global change in abuse

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The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome will begin a two-year English Master's Licentiate in Safeguarding of Minors in October 2018. As an extension of the existing semester-long Diploma in Safeguarding of Minors, this program will go even further, covering more theory and practice of how to detect and protect victims on an international level. 

Executive Director, Centre for Child Protection

“We talk about sexual abuse in general. But of course, we are going deeper into the cases of sexual abuse within the Church. But it's important to note that sexual abuse is very different in different continents. For instance, in Africa, they also have the abuse of early marriages, forced marriages of very young girls.”

Taking all types of abuse into account the new course will bank on the experiences from the 15-18 students who will participate, just as it did with the Diploma program this past fall.

Diploma Program Student, Taiwan

“For me, it was a shocking news because I did not know much about this. At the beginning, I was a little sad and angry, but then I learned we have to face the facts, the reality, and then we learn how to protect and what we can do to fix it in the future.”

While the Diploma program is the first step to explore the field, there will be a more thorough intercultural and interdisciplinary approach in the second semester of the new program. The third semester, students will complete an internship in their own country, and the forth semester, they will come back to Rome to complete a thesis, bringing their personal experiences with them. 

Despite whatever cases may be “current” or “under review,” the program organizer says the students in the licentiate will mainly study older cases, full of facts and not media speculations.

Executive Director, Centre for Child Protection

“We work with cases, but not with cases that are in the media, because normally we do not have enough information to judge in a proper way. What we do is that people, experts, who know cases from their own expertise, they bring them with them and then the students can discuss together those cases, because it's always theory and practice together.”

Through these discussions and lessons, each of the students will be equipped with the tools to return home and work in this field, directly affecting how cases are handled in their country, like these two students from the Diploma program this past Fall 2017.

Diploma Program Student, Taiwan

“Now in working with my diocese, my bishop wants me to revise a guidelines, so if we have the protocol, the procedures, how to react, how to cope with the cases. Then we can follow all the rules and the disciplines and then we know how to protect the victims and also how to cope with the offenders.”

Diploma Program Student, Czech Republic

“I think the victims... they will come out. You know, if you are able to listen to them and they know by your talking about it, so they are encouraged to come and to talk about sexual abuse. And it's in society; it's everywhere. So it's inside the Church and outside the Church, so it's present in other countries.”

Thus, providing healing and protection to the victims, and justice to those who are guilty is key to this four semester course and all the students who will participate this fall 2018.

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