Creating Safe and Sacred Places

Identifying, Preventing, and Healing Sexual Abuse 

(4 Reviews)

By Laurie Delgatto-Whitten, Gerard McGlone and Mary Shrader


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Your ministry with young people begins by building relationships that include appropriate boundaries. Creating Safe and Sacred Places is the first resource of its kind in response to The Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth (issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops). The charter calls, in part, for dioceses, schools, and parishes to establish "safe environment" programs. Creating Safe and Sacred Places is written by an expert in the field of sexual abuse and by a veteran youth minister. The manual provides information on procedures and strategies to promote a safe environment, including material for training parents, ministers, educators, and church personnel in identifying, preventing, and healing sexual abuse.

Product Details

Copyright: Sept. 8, 2003

Format: Paperback

Size: 8.5 x 11

Length: 160 pages

Item number: 3328

ISBN: 978-0-88489-809-2

ISBN-10: 0-88489-809-1

Customer Reviews

By Jack Podsiadio, SJ, executive director, Nativity Educational Centers Network

Creating Safe and Sacred Places: Identifying, Preventing and Healing Sexual Abuse is a very timely and user-friendly manual for all who minister to young people. Not only are terms clearly defined, guidelines carefully established and resources amply documented, but also practical working sessions are provided for use with parents, teachers, administrators, youth ministers and the young people themselves. McGlone, Shrader, and Delgatto provide a tool for education, prayer, thoughtful discussion and action in response to the topic of sexual abuse. Creating Safe and Sacred Places should find its way to all those faith-based communities that are committed to honestly addressing the issues and protecting our young people.

By Laura L. Rogers, Esq., child abuse prosecutor, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse

Creating Safe and Sacred Places is a needed resource for Catholic communities. I highly recommend it. It is an excellent first step in prevention and knowledge. McGlone and his colleagues translate frontline knowledge and research into pastoral settings. The authors contextualize well the fact that violence against children finds many tragic expressions, sexual abuse being but one form. My hope is that this manual moves my church to lead itself and other faith-based communities into the vanguard—to prevent child abuse in all its forms! Our faith traditions demand nothing less!

By David Finkelhor, director of Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, and author of numerous books, including A Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse and Sexually Victimized Children

Creating Safe and Sacred Places takes many of the best ideas and practices from the child abuse prevention field and adapts them for implementation in the Roman Catholic context. This book is written by authors with obvious expertise in both the Church and the child maltreatment field. It will certainly help to hasten the effort to bring better protection for children and more understanding and support for victims.

By Robert J. McCarty, executive director, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry

Youth ministry leaders in all settings will value Creating Safe and Sacred Places. This resource supports a proactive ministerial and pastoral response to the issues of sexual abuse, and the training sessions for leaders, parents, and young people are practical, clear, and easy to implement. The background information on sexual abuse, especially within the context of the Catholic Church, is very valuable, and the section providing resources to assist parishes and schools in developing policies and procedures is an additional and welcomed benefit.
Editorial Reviews

Momentum, February/March, 2004

This manual successfully makes use of knowledge and insights we have learned from psychology and the wisdom of pastoral experience to offer the Catholic community (and, hopefully, other denominations) an invaluable resource in the delicate but profoundly important task of preventing and healing sexual abuse.

The manual begins with an overview, explaining the stages of sexual abuse, warning signs, indicators of healthy sexual development, signs and long-term effects of abuse. This section will provide important information for the nonspecialist and a useful and concise summary for people familiar with this area.

The next section on sexual abuse in the church will be helpful to church workers because it provides theological and historical background information, with a discussion of the problems related to secrecy and the mishandling of sexual abuse issues in the church. . . .

The authors then allow a survivor of sexual abuse to tell her story. . . . Like so much of this manual, it manages to deal with a difficult and painful topic without loosing sight of hope and healing. My first response was one of surprise, "Why didn't they ask a survivor of clerical sexual abuse to contribute to this chapter?" However, on reflection, their decision is a wise one. The majority of sexual abuse that is encountered in our parishes is by members of children's families. It is important to be reminded of this fact and not allow the shock of the revelations of the past years to obscure this painful fact.

The third section of the book is devoted to outlines of sessions to educate, prevent and heal sexual abuse. The authors continually recommend a team approach to this work and speak of the necessity for a community approach. . . . The guidelines are clear, and there is a range of creative activities to help in creating safe and sacred space for this important task. Again, given the difficulties of dual responsibilities, the authors suggest strongly that it is better that these sessions not be led by clergy, and that skilled professionals be part of the team, or at the very least, available for advice and help.

As I reached the end of the manual, I was struck by a number of things. Despite the hurt and pain associated with this topic, the book manages to be positive. Those who use this book will be grateful for the clarity of writing; the practical and sensitive sessions; the way that prayer, spirituality and values are integrated into the text; the wise advice based on pastoral and clinical experience; and the commitment to education, communication, healing and prevention. This book will be welcomed by those responsible for raising awareness of this topic and should find its way into the offices of priests, educators and pastoral workers. Like the attractive photograph on its cover, this book has the potential to bring light to some dark places.

Review by Brendan Geary, FMS

School and catechetical leaders share the awesome responsibility of safeguarding the health and well being of students whenever students are entrusted to their care. This entails ongoing training so that educators and catechists are familiar with any and all threats to student safety. Creating Safe and Sacred Places: Identifying, Preventing, and Healing Sexual Abuse is an outstanding resource that addresses a most insidious form of harm to children. The authors effectively portray the breadth and scope of sexual abuse and then provide a comprehensive training process to assist educators, catechists, and volunteers in acting promptly and appropriately when signs of abuse are present. This manual is a timely response to the United States Bishops' call to be proactive in dealing with all incidents of sexual abuse. It is an excellent resource that should be in the personal library of everyone who holds a leadership position in the Church's educational ministry.

Review by Timothy Dwyer, assistant executive director, Chief Administrators of Catholic Education, National Catholic Educational Association

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