November, National Child Safety Month: Preventing Abuse
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.
Your community can do several things to inform, prevent, and respond to sexual abuse. The following are essential strategies you will want to incorporate into parish- or school-wide ministries:
• All young people need to know that their bodies are sacred. Talk openly about safe versus unsafe touch.
• Remember, most offenders will be known by the potential victim.
• All young people need to develop good and solid relationships with peers, parents, and significant adults whom they can trust.
• Background checks and supervision are simply unavoidable for any adult volunteer or paid employee. Be clear about the procedures and processes required by your diocese.
• Proper boundaries need to be talked about and respected within staffs and parish communities.
• Nothing is more sacred than communication, and nothing is more preventative! Research points to communication as key to prevention. Good, nonjudgmental communication assumes mutual respect, regardless of any information that a child or young person may share.
• Open discussion about sexual matters, although uncomfortable, needs to be pursued and encouraged, especially within families.
• Do not assume anything about anyone.
(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.