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Safe Environment Education for Parish Communities and Personnel Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Safe Environment Education for Parish Communities and Personnel Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Safe Environment Education for Parish Communities and Personnel Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh 2012

2 “...we re-affirm our deep commitment to creating a safe environment within the Church for children and youth.” “...we re-affirm our deep commitment to creating a safe environment within the Church for children and youth.” (USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People 2011) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has the responsibility to create and maintain a safe environment within the Church for children and youth.

3 “Dioceses/eparchies are to maintain ‘Safe Environment’ programs...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.” (USCCB Charter 2011) “Dioceses/eparchies are to maintain ‘Safe Environment’ programs...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.” (USCCB Charter 2011) Following the disclosure of sexual abuse of children and young people by some clergy and church personnel, the USCCB in 2002 wrote the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It required each diocese/eparchy to write and follow a policy that will ensure the safety of children and youth. The Archeparchy of Pittsburgh published its Policy on Sexual Misconduct in 2003, which was later revised in 2006 and Its 2012 revision includes reference to vulnerable adults and pornography.

4 Everyone has a part to play We are here today as a parish family to learn how we can help to ensure that our children and youth are happy and safe in their daily activities. Everyone needs to be alert to warning signs that abuse may be occurring and to be ready if necessary to speak to a person in authority about it.

5 What is child abuse? Abuse is any physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a minor by those responsible for his/her care Abuse is any physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a minor by those responsible for his/her care It may be violent or non-violent It may be violent or non-violent It may involve touching or non-touching behavior It may involve touching or non-touching behavior Physical—hitting, shaking, pinching, hair- pulling, biting, choking, throwing, paddling, inadequate food, clothing, or shelter. Sexual – any sexual act between an adult and a minor, the showing of pornography. Emotional—name-calling, telling children they are bad, worthless, or a mistake, withholding affection and support.

6 CHILD ABUSE IS FAR REACHING According to the most recent data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, approximately 695,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect in the Federal fiscal year No geographic, ethnic, or economic setting is free of child abuse and neglect.

7 What does research teach us about abusers? Can be any person who has care, custody, or control of a child — parent, teacher, coach, babysitter, child care staff, relative, bus driver, parent’s boy/girlfriend Can be any person who has care, custody, or control of a child — parent, teacher, coach, babysitter, child care staff, relative, bus driver, parent’s boy/girlfriend Child molesters look for jobs or volunteer opportunities that give them access to children Child molesters look for jobs or volunteer opportunities that give them access to children 80% of the time the molester is an adult known to the child and is not a stranger 80% of the time the molester is an adult known to the child and is not a stranger

8 Potential abusers often give warning signs They try to be alone with children They try to be alone with children They prefer the company of children over adults They prefer the company of children over adults They give gifts or treats to children, often without permission They give gifts or treats to children, often without permission They allow children to engage in activities that their parents would not allow They allow children to engage in activities that their parents would not allow They sympathize with a child against legitimate family rules and discipline They sympathize with a child against legitimate family rules and discipline

9 Possible signs that a child is being abused Bruises, swellings, marks which are hard to explain Bruises, swellings, marks which are hard to explain Lingering sadness and anxiety Lingering sadness and anxiety Changes in a child’s behavior or attitude around someone who formerly was considered a friend Changes in a child’s behavior or attitude around someone who formerly was considered a friend Sleep problems or nightmares Sleep problems or nightmares Withdrawal or self-isolation Withdrawal or self-isolation Poor hygiene, untreated illness or injury Poor hygiene, untreated illness or injury

10 Reporting Child Abuse If a child shows signs of possible abuse or an adult’s actions are suspect, we should immediately communicate our concerns to the person who has authority in the situation. If a child shows signs of possible abuse or an adult’s actions are suspect, we should immediately communicate our concerns to the person who has authority in the situation. If circumstances warrant, church and civil authorities should be notified. All church personnel are mandated to report. No child should have to endure such suffering. If circumstances warrant, church and civil authorities should be notified. All church personnel are mandated to report. No child should have to endure such suffering.

11 The Victims Assistance Coordinator for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, Sr. Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, is prepared to give compassionate advice and necessary information to persons who have been abused. She may be reached at

12 KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE Tips for Parents Do not place children’s names on the outside of clothing or possessions Do not place children’s names on the outside of clothing or possessions Teach children their phone number and address and how to use 911. Tell them not to answer the phone when they’re home alone — the answering machine should take the message Teach children their phone number and address and how to use 911. Tell them not to answer the phone when they’re home alone — the answering machine should take the message

13 Teach children to use the buddy system when using public restrooms and when walking home from school and sports activities Teach children to use the buddy system when using public restrooms and when walking home from school and sports activities When your child visits the church bathroom during services, be watchful for a quick return or accompany your child When your child visits the church bathroom during services, be watchful for a quick return or accompany your child Make unannounced visits to your child’s day-care or after-school programs. Check that the homes of your child’s friends are safe places for your child to be Make unannounced visits to your child’s day-care or after-school programs. Check that the homes of your child’s friends are safe places for your child to be

14 If your child is experiencing bullying or playground violence, report it immediately to authorities If your child is experiencing bullying or playground violence, report it immediately to authorities Teach children what to do if they get separated from you in a public place—one possibility is to have them approach a mother with another child Teach children what to do if they get separated from you in a public place—one possibility is to have them approach a mother with another child Role play or practice with children what they can say and do in an uncomfortable or scary situation Role play or practice with children what they can say and do in an uncomfortable or scary situation

15 Teach children to back away from adults asking for directions or help—adults should ask help from other adults Teach children to back away from adults asking for directions or help—adults should ask help from other adults Teach children to say “no” to anyone attempting to touch them on the parts of their bodies covered by a swim suit Teach children to say “no” to anyone attempting to touch them on the parts of their bodies covered by a swim suit Teach children to say “no” if someone asks them to do something that feels uncomfortable or wrong Teach children to say “no” if someone asks them to do something that feels uncomfortable or wrong

16 Let children know that you will help them if they should tell you about someone’s behavior that just doesn’t seem right Let children know that you will help them if they should tell you about someone’s behavior that just doesn’t seem right Check on line for the location of any registered sex offenders in your area Check on line for the location of any registered sex offenders in your area Teach children that they are children of God and have the right to control what happens to their bodies Teach children that they are children of God and have the right to control what happens to their bodies

17 Know the whereabouts of your child at all times! Know where they are going Know where they are going How they will get there How they will get there Who will be going with them Who will be going with them When they will return home…. When they will return home…. …and it would be helpful for parents to give the same information about their whereabouts to their children! …and it would be helpful for parents to give the same information about their whereabouts to their children!

18 For the security of all concerned, church personnel should never be alone with a minor in a car or in an unsupervised situation One-on-one meetings with young people should be held in a public area or the door to the room should be left open

19 SOCIAL NETWORKING Instant messaging Chat rooms BloggingTexting Facebook (must be 13 and older) MySpace (13 and older) Xanga (13 and older) Twitter (18 and older) YouTube (13 and older)

20 Social Networking carries risks for young people along with the benefits Safety for young people from predators has always been a concern. Safety for young people from predators has always been a concern. Before allowing young people to use any of these sites, sign up and experience the site yourself to decide if it is appropriate for their level of maturity Before allowing young people to use any of these sites, sign up and experience the site yourself to decide if it is appropriate for their level of maturity

21 Ensure that privacy settings meant to protect young people are in place—every site has different privacy options Ensure that privacy settings meant to protect young people are in place—every site has different privacy options Keep the computer in a high-traffic part of the house Keep the computer in a high-traffic part of the house Talk to young people about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger—someone on-line may not be telling the truth about themselves Talk to young people about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger—someone on-line may not be telling the truth about themselves

22 Instruct young people not to give out personal information or pictures of themselves to persons they have never met Instruct young people not to give out personal information or pictures of themselves to persons they have never met Young people should never agree to meet anyone with whom they have communicated only via the Internet Young people should never agree to meet anyone with whom they have communicated only via the Internet Tell young people to inform you immediately if they receive offensive images or messages Tell young people to inform you immediately if they receive offensive images or messages

23 Check with your internet provider about features to block young people’s access to adult-oriented sites Check with your internet provider about features to block young people’s access to adult-oriented sites Sending inappropriate pictures can be a problem later for a young person because on-line pictures can be retrieved Sending inappropriate pictures can be a problem later for a young person because on-line pictures can be retrieved To avoid young people’s possibly risky behavior, recharge their cell phones each evening in parents’ bedrooms To avoid young people’s possibly risky behavior, recharge their cell phones each evening in parents’ bedrooms

24 The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. The victim should not respond but inform his/her parent. Messages should be printed out and taken to the proper authority. The victim should not respond but inform his/her parent. Messages should be printed out and taken to the proper authority. CYBER-BULLYING

25 Safe Environment Lessons from the Office of Religious Education These lessons teach young people to recognize unsafe situations and be ready to act The Office of Religious Education for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh has prepared safe environment lesson plans for the use of Eastern Christian Formation parish programs. Students in the parish’s programs discuss with their teacher and fellow students how to be safe in their daily activities. They learn they have dignity as children of God. No one has the right to make them feel uncomfortable through unwanted touches or behavior.

26 “Let the children come to me and do not stop them and do not stop them because the Kingdom of because the Kingdom of Heaven Heaven belongs to such as these.” belongs to such as these.” Mt. 19:14 Mt. 19:14

27 We can create a safer world for our children when we work together as a Catholic community Thank you for working with our children!

28 DOCUMENTATION The USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People requires that all Church personnel who come in regular contact with minors must receive safe environment training Church personnel also must agree to a Code of Conduct and have a background check by a law enforcement agency Church personnel include clergy, deacons, seminarians, employees, staff, catechists, and volunteers

29 DOCUMENTATION To be returned to Chancery One—Code of Conduct for Church Personnel One—Code of Conduct for Church Personnel Two – Disclosure and Authorization for a background check Two – Disclosure and Authorization for a background check Those of you who are Church personnel need to complete two forms and give them to the Safe Environment Coordinator. The Code of Conduct spells out the standards you agree to follow. The signed form will be kept on file at the Chancery. Authorization for a Background Check – When the Chancery receives the background clearance, it will be kept there on file.

30 HANDOUTS TO STUDY AND KEEP Code of Ethics Code of Ethics Appropriate and Inappropriate Contact with Minors Appropriate and Inappropriate Contact with Minors Web addresses for Archieparchial policies and other resources Web addresses for Archieparchial policies and other resources


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