November, National Child Safety Month: Preparing for safe and sacred places
about this articleTaken from the manual,Creating Safe and Sacred Places: Identifying, Preventing, and Healing Sexual Abuse, this article provides a guide for responding to someone who has been abused.
Some experts predict the presence of at least one abuser and one victim of abuse anytime there is a gathering focusing on this topic. Someone in your community might be experiencing abuse of some kind, whether physical or sexual, or it may be a part of someone's past. Should you be approached by either a victim or an offender, you will want to be sure you can respond pastorally and quickly. Ask yourself these questions:
• What will I do, or what will my team do, if approached by a potential abuse victim or offender?
• What therapeutic and legal resources are available?
• How prepared am I, and how prepared is my team, to intervene?
• What do the county, state, and diocese require in regard to reporting alleged abuse?
You will want to seek answers to all these questions before initiating any educational or pastoral approaches or programs with the community.
(This article is from Creating Safe and Sacred Places: Identifying, Preventing, and Healing Sexual Abuse by Gerard McGlone, Mary Shrader, and Laurie Delgatto. Copyright © 2000 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This article may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)
Published April 1, 2003.