Sacred & Safe The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Safe Environment Formation Programfor Children & Youth in Grades K-12
Training Itinerary • Introduction and Rationale for Sacred & Safe 5 minutes • Prayer 5 minutes • Overview on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention 10 minutes • The Dynamics of Child Sexual Abuse & Perpetrators 15 minutes • Program Options: Lesson Plan In-Service 15 minutes • Legal & Pastoral Care Issues for Reporting Sexual Abuse 15 minutes • Involving parents • Meeting for Coaching Parents to talk with their Children about Sexual Abuse Prevention 15 minutes • Documentation & Reporting Attendance 15 minutes • Questions & Closing Prayer 10 minutes
History & Rationale for Sacred & Safe • USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, 2002: ARTICLE 12. Dioceses/eparchies are to maintain “safe environment” programs which the diocesan/eparchial bishop deems to be in accord with Catholic moral principles. They are to be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people.
Archdiocesan response • In 2003, VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children- a safe environment program for all adults, 18+ years old, maintaining regular contact with children in our parishes/Catholic schools; provides adults with the tools to maintain a safe environment and help protect children from sexual abuse. • 2010, Jeremiah 1:7 - a program for high school age youth who regularly assist adults ministering to children under the age of 18; provides high school age youth with age appropriate knowledge and skills needed to foster a safe environment with the children whom they serve. • 2011,Sacred & Safe - a program which provides faith-based safe environment lessons for children and youth in K-12th grades. Includes one grade-specific lesson each year to help children and young people develop the skills to protect themselves from sexual abuse. • 2012, VIRTUS: Keeping the Promise Alive, a refresher course for adults who previously completed the Protecting God’s Children program
A Human Response – A Christian Response • Discussing sexual abuse often makes people feel uncomfortable. It touches that which damages the very essence of the dignity and sacredness of the human person. • Helping the most vulnerable is at the heart of the Christian mission (Mt. 25:40)
Safe & Sacred • A directive from Cardinal DiNardo for all parishes to implement this program
Sacred & Safe: A faith-based perspective • God created the human person as good and holy • God loves people and wants them to be safe and feel secure • Every person has the right and responsibility to care for themselves • Words and touch can be loving or harmful • God wants people to make loving choices • Children can learn to distinguish between persons who provide a genuine sense of safety and those who want to sexually abuse them through trickery • Children can learn to distinguish between loving and harmful words and touch • Children can learn how to protect themselves from sexual abuse • Love is experienced in the context of the family and community of faith
Prayer Leader: Our Creator lovingly made each of us in His image and likeness. We are all adopted children of God in Jesus Christ. We are called to celebrate this goodness by treating one another with respect. God wants us to be free from fear and harm. God calls us as children of the Light to care for ourselves and for the least of His people, especially children and the most vulnerable among us. God calls us to be vigilant from the darkness that would rob human beings of their full dignity especially those who would sexually abuse others. Let us listen to God’s Word as we are reminded of who we are and what we are called to do.
Prayer Reader: Ephesians 5:6-14 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Prayer Everyone: Lord, God, made in your image, we only want to do what is pleasing to you. Give us the Spirit of wisdom to distinguish between truth and falsehood and the courage and love to speak out when we see injustice. Give us the Spirit of understanding that we might be mindful of the tender hearts of the children and youth that we serve. Help us to have the Spirit of right judgment to know when to confront the injustice of abuse and the Spirit of courage to do so. Let the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen us to be good examples for the young and a loving support for all those who are hurt by sexual abuse. Help us to be beacons of your light so that truth and love might reign supreme. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
PCL Training The objectives of formation include: • Examine the reality of sexual abuse and the vulnerability of children and youth to perpetrators of sexual abuse • In-service the Archdiocesan Sacred & Safe Lesson Plans and RCL Benziger resource options • Develop pastoral skills to respond to reports of alleged sexual abuse by children and young people. • Provide implementation plan involving parents. • Develop a parish plan for reporting attendance to the Safe Environment Office.
Overview on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Primary objective of Sacred & Safe: that no child ever experience the trauma of sexual abuse; to enable children to experience their true dignity as sons and daughters of God. Target: a shared, concerted effort within the Christian community • Parents as Primary Educators • Children as learners • Church as support Approach: • Through policies and procedures which foster safe environments for children, and • Education which provides the necessary skills and resources to safeguard their well-being from sexual abuse.
Reality of Child Sexual Abuse • Questionnaire: Self-test & Review • Surprises???
Statistics of child sexual abuse • 95% of victims know their perpetrators • 1.3 million children are sexually abused every year • 20% of children under age 8 are sexually abused • 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually on the Internet • 9 is the median age when child abuse is reported • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18 • An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist today in the USA • 44% of all rape victims are under the age of 18 • 50% of teenage rapes go unreported • Only 33% of abused 13-18 years admit to be sexually abused • Sexual abuse is an act of violence that effects every gender, race, culture, faith, and socioeconomic class • 68% of teen mothers have been sexually abused Statistics from “Beyond the Bruises”, Sherri Mabry Gordon
The faces of child sexual abuse • Excessive crying • Sleep & eating disorders • Inability to concentrate; anxiety disorders • Role confusion • Drugs, alcohol problems • Urinary, bowel, genital problems • STDs
The faces of child sexual abuse • Poor self image • Inability to form stable relationships • Depression • Suicide
How Sexual Abuse Happens:A Covert Operation Key Dynamics: • Power • Secrecy • Grooming
Three Tactics of Sexual Perpetrators • Power: control • Secrecy: intimidation, manipulation, fear • Grooming: process of building trust
Warning signs of sexual predators Adults who • Prefer the company of children and young people to adults. • Hang out with youth in youth-oriented places, such as coffee shops, malls, etc. • Find ways to spend time alone with a child or youth, especially overnight • Provide gifts, trips, favors, or affection to a specific child/youth or select group of youth. • Hugs, pats, or touches youth more frequently than is appropriate. • Provide items of interest (e.g. video games) to children/youth and invite them to make use of them in private locations • Insist that children/youth share deep personal feelings with him or her. Red Flags
Communal support Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Disclosure & prevention skills Healthy (inter)personal formation 3-part approach to protection against sexual abuse
3 realms of protection against sexual abuse 1. Communal collaborative effort with parents to help children guard against and respond to attempts at sexual abuse 2. Disclosure & Prevention Skills defeat “secrecy” & empower against abuse 3. Raising a sexually healthy child
Sacred & SafeLesson Plans In-Service for 2 Program options
Sacred & SafeLesson Plans Two options: • Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Sacred & Safe, K-12 grade specific lessons • RCL-Benziger Family Life Program, K-8 grade program + the high school resources from Sacred and Safe
Option OneArchdiocese of Galveston-Houston Sacred & Safe, K-12th grade specific lessons Key components: • 1 lesson each year (K-12th grade) separate from regular catechetical lesson • Lesson Length: K-8th (60 min); 9-12th (90 min) • Faith-based objectives & content • Opening & closing prayer • Skills for prevention • User-friendly directive lesson • Suggested timeline for each component of the lesson • Handouts for each lesson
Primary Learning Objectives Primary Grades (K-2nd grades) Objectives: To help children distinguish the difference between god and bad (appropriate or inappropriate) touch. To affirm a child’s right to say no to an adult who makes them feel uncomfortable. 1. Examine kinds of touch and a child’s right to privacy 2. Develop skills to avoid bad touch Middle Grades (3-5th grades) Objectives: To help children recognize the lures used by those who sexually victimize children. To offer children strategies for keeping them from being tricked into uncomfortable and dangerous situations 1. Examine people who provide a sense of safety and well-being 2. Identify lures or tricks which manipulate or use people3. Develop responses to lures or tricks which foster personal safety
Primary Learning Objectives Junior High (6th-8th grades) Objective: To help youth recognize lures or tricks by those who sexually victimize others via the anonymity of the Internet. To develop skills to avoid being victimized by internet predators. 1. Maintaining safety awareness when having fun 2. Identify lures or tricks that sexual predators use to harm children 3. Create rules for internet safety High school (9-12th grades) Objective: To help teens set appropriate boundaries in their relationships with both adults and peers. To develop skills for addressing situations where boundaries are compromised or violated. 1. Know how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy characteristics in relationships 2. Recognize how boundaries maintain healthy relationships 3. Develop refusal and assertiveness skills for safeguarding boundaries
Option OneArchdiocese of Galveston-Houston Sacred & Safe, K-12 grade specific lessons • Each grade: parent on-line resource to reinforce lesson with practical tips • Language used for anatomy: no explicit mention of genitalia except in parent resource • Language should reflect: private parts or parts of the body covered by a bathing (swim) suit
Option 2RCL-Benziger Family Life Program A hybrid option: • RCL-Benziger Family Life Program for K-8th grade • Includes a scope and sequence of child safety/sexual abuse prevention objectives that is integrated in each grade’s 5 units (10 lessons) of human sexuality formation. • Each grade has a parent take-home component Notes: • Program must be used in its entirety; satisfies both human sexuality catechesis & safe environment Archdiocesan requirements • Must be used in conjunction with Sacred and Safe high school lessons
Pastoral Care & Legal Issues Responding to children’s disclosure of abuse
Pastoral Care & Legal Issues when responding to children’s disclosure of abuse • Key questions that arise when a child approaches an adult to disclose sexual abuse: • What should I do? • How do I respond to the child?
When responding to a child’s disclosure,there are three primary goals 1. Protect the child from further abuse 2. Stop the abuser from exploiting or hurting other children 3. Address the child’s symptoms and the harm done to the child and the child’s family
Response Summary • Pastoral: Respond with loving compassion to the child • Legal: Report the disclosure to proper state authorities • Professional: Exercise appropriate internal organization reporting
Pastoral Do’s and Don’ts What do you say to a child? • Remember: disclosure is very difficult for the child • Never expose your own anxiety to the child • Reassure the child what happened is not his/her fault • Reassure saying “you took courage and is the right thing to do” • Indicate that you will do everything you can to protect him/her from further abuse
How to respond to the child?Children Assessment Center (CAC) SummaryCatechist Handout 2 Do • Allow the child to use his/her own words to describe the incident • Assure the child he/she is not to blame for what happened • Treat the child normally • Take care of the child’s emotional needs • Listen and take notes • Allow the child to talk about the incident if he/she brings it up • Write down concerns and questions for CPS, police officers and therapists • Love and support the child
How to respond to the child?Children Assessment Center (CAC) SummaryCatechist Handout 2 Don’t • Use your language to help the child describe what happened • Try to interview or investigate • Overreact • Express fear, anger and anxiety • Initiate conversation about the incident • Let personal feelings influence the child • Reward the child for giving information
Legal Responsefor Reporting Abuse to Texas Legal AuthoritiesCatechist Handout 3 • Texas has a mandatory reporting law stating that any person responsible for a child’s care, custody or welfare who has cause to believe that a child is being abused or neglected must report the crime within 48 hours. Child abuse may be mental, emotional, physical or sexual. Neglect is leaving a child in a situation where they would be exposed to substantial risk of physical or mental harm.Failing to report child abuse and neglect is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. If you have cause to believe that a child’s physical health, mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect, you must report the offense. Call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252- 5400 or call local law enforcement immediately. • To Report Abuse, Call TDFPS at 1-800-252-5400
Procedures in Case of Suspected Child Abuse:Catechist’s Responsibility to Report Suspected Child Abuse- prepared by the Archdiocesan Legal DepartmentCatechist Handout 4 • REPORT … DO NOT INVESTIGATE • When reporting abuse to the hotline, you will be asked to provide the following information: a. Child’s name, age and address. b. Primary caretaker’s name and address. c. Physical indicators observed. d. Behavioral indicators observed. e. Other indicators observed. f. Your name, position and contact information.
Procedures in Case of Suspected Child Abuse:Catechist’s Responsibility to Report Suspected Child Abuse • After reporting the information, ask for a case reference number (proof report has been made). Soon after the call, write a narrative description of your report + the reference number (needed by the Archdiocese when there is an on-site investigation) • Keep Confidential: your suspicion and reporting (it is reasonable to advise the pastor, DRE, DYM); it is reasonable for them to inform other personnel who have contact with the victim. Beyond that, do not disclose to other catechists, the child’s family, your family, friends, etc. • Investigation: The Pastor or other appropriate parish personnel are responsible for verifying credentials of on-site investigators and remaining in touch with the Archdiocesan Legal department. Please review additional information regarding parish on-site investigations.
How Children’s Protective Services (CPS) responds to reports of abuseCatechist Handout 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) • I have heard reporting abuse to CPS can sometimes makes matters worse? • After I report abuse, how does CPS respond? • How do professionals assist the child and the family of the child who has been abused?
Parental Role • Parents have a primary role in this effort • Suggested introduction of Sacred & Safe Program to parents: 10 minutes as part of a general orientation meeting (see Handout for details). Distribute copy of the program memo when parents sign-in. Key points to emphasize: • In accord with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese, under the direction of Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, is implementing a safe environment program called Sacred & Safe, for all children from kindergarten through the 12th grades. • Program Objective: To provide an age appropriate faith-based lesson to enable children and youth to protect themselves from sexual abuse. • When: September 1-January 31, 2012 (Parish may specify their own timetable within this framework).
Parental Role Key Points to emphasize at the parent orientation meeting: • One age appropriate lesson offered annually • Parent opportunity to review all lessons & parent resources (have samples prepared on a resource table or direct them to the lessons at www.archgh.org/sacredandsafe). • Parent option to do the lesson: parish or at home. • Parent “opt out”: any child not involved in the parish site setting or home option for the lesson will require a parent signature on the “opt out” form. • Parent on-line resource at www.archgh.org/sacredandsafe: parents are encouraged to use this resource as reinforcement for their child’s lesson.
Parental Role • Emphasize the importance of being a parent who listens carefully to what his/her child tells the parent in regards to the information or concerns identified in the program. Note: A parent meeting (option) will be offered for those parents wanting more assistance in how to talk with their children about this subject. Note the time and date of this meeting.
Parent Meeting Coaching Parents to Talk to their Children about Preventing Sexual Abuse
Parent MeetingCoaching Parents to Talk to their Children about Preventing Sexual Abuse • An option for those parents wanting to know how to effectively prevent child sexual abuse with their children • 60 minute format • Overview and prayer • Examine long term consequences of sexual abuse • Note the 2 objectives for parent education: • understanding the vulnerability of children and young people and how sexual abuse occurs. 2. working in tandem with the parish community to provide children with a faith- based learning opportunity which instructs children with the knowledge and skills needed to empower them to remain safe and protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Parent Meeting:Coaching Parents to Talk to their Children about Preventing Sexual Abuse • As a focus activity, provideparents with questionnaire handout (5-10 minutes). Review briefly for clarifications or surprises. • Inform parents that you will first address some key Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (Refer to the handout): • Are there some ways that I can recognize sexual perpetrators? • How can I keep my child safe from sexual abuse? • What makes my child an easy or hard target for abusers? • How can I talk to them in a way that promotes a positive atmosphere for discussion and does not frighten them? • How can I encourage my child to talk to me as a parent if s/he feels uncomfortable about persons or situations where their personal boundaries are compromised or endangered?
I. How can we recognize who might be sexual abuse perpetrators? • Most adults genuinely care for children • Sexual perpetrators prefer to be with children rather than adults. • Hugs and kisses can be normal and natural ways to express affection between people who are “close” • Boundaries or zones that are “out-of-bounds”; touching these zones is NOT love. Help children to recognize what are appropriate and inappropriate boundaries .