As we celebrate Easter and the beginning of Spring, it’s a good time to re-energize our efforts against child sexual abuse and recommit ourselves to strengthening the safety net of protection for children.
Please join the efforts of the Office of Child and Youth Protection by increasing awareness about child sexual abuse and by offering care for those who suffer.” Many in our parish, both employees and volunteers, have received training designed to make us aware of the presence of sexual abuse, challenges in identifying, reporting and helping victims, and ways to protect our children and youth from ever experiencing such trauma.
You may not know, but child sexual abuse happens every day with little regard to social class, racial or ethnic groups, religious affiliations or sexual orientation. Statistically, 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. Their abusers are generally people they know and trust. Disclosure is very difficult, in fact 75% do not tell anyone for at least one year, 43% do not disclose for at least 5 years, and some victims never disclose, yet the scars last a lifetime.
When Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, “God weeps for the sexual abuse of children.” This is not a problem unique to the Catholic Church, but our Diocese is making every effort to “Support our Promise to Protect.” You can be an active participant in this effort. For starters visit the Diocesan web site (www.kcsjcatholic.org), and click on the tab for Safe Environment. There are many useful tips, aids and training available. It is easy to navigate and well worth your time.