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C HALLENGES AND O PPORTUNITIES FOR C HILD S AFEGUARDING IN A FRICA WITHIN C ATHOLIC AND I SLAMIC I NSTITUTIONS.

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Presentation on theme: "C HALLENGES AND O PPORTUNITIES FOR C HILD S AFEGUARDING IN A FRICA WITHIN C ATHOLIC AND I SLAMIC I NSTITUTIONS."— Presentation transcript:

1 C HALLENGES AND O PPORTUNITIES FOR C HILD S AFEGUARDING IN A FRICA WITHIN C ATHOLIC AND I SLAMIC I NSTITUTIONS

2 2 R OLE OF FAITH INSTITUTIONS What challenges have you encountered working with Churches or Madrasahs child safeguarding?

3 Context for safeguarding within the Northern Catholic Church USA - more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years, in cases involving more than 10,000 children - mostly boys. Ireland - abuse, cover-ups and hierarchical failings involving thousands of victims and stretching back decades. England and Wales: 302 sex abuse allegations made to the church from

4 “The scepticism of the world confronts all members of the Body of Christ as never before.” Rome Symposium (February 2012) The experience of sexual abuse “disrupts a sense of being loved by God, a sense of community with others and trust in God’s plan and purpose for the future.” Hall (1995, p129.) “The impact of the abuse scandal has been huge and the victims are many - survivors and their families; the Church community; the Priesthood; Religious; as well as the Church as an Institution.” CSAS – safeguarding as ministry (2014)

5 Challenges for safeguarding within the Catholic Church in Africa “‘We don’t do that kind of think here - It’s just you Europeans” “These child protection agendas are imposed from outside – they aren’t our concern” Hierarchy and status In the Uk 50% of respondents felt able to raise problems within the church context, but 50% did not. Dr Lisa Oakley & Dr Kathryn Kinmond (UK 2013)

6 The Pope said he had felt compelled to "personally ask for forgiveness for the damage [some priests] have done for having sexually abused children" In May 2013 the Vatican requested all Catholic Churches to hand in their child protection guidance to ensure it is adequate and in keeping with Canon law. To date around 75% of Bishops Conferences have done so with most of those yet to respond coming from Africa, according to the Vatican The Vatican announced the creation of a new dedicated group to help the Church deal with the abuse crisis.

7 Other harmful practices get obscured - such as Corporal punishment Old Testament “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (13:24) “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die” (23:13) Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” (22:15)

8 Corporal punishment in the new testament “came the disciples unto Jesus saying, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him and set him in the midst of them and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become like little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. “ “let the children come unto me; for to such belongs the kingdom of God”

9 Of contact sexual abuse, physical maltreatment and parental domestic violence; most studies suggest that it is exposure to parental domestic violence (90% of which is heard or witnessed by children) that has the worst impacts on trauma symptoms for younger children, worsening their outcomes statistically worse all round including education, emotional development and behaviour. Eg. Radford’s (2013) survey of a sample of 2,160 parents and caregivers, 2,275 children and young people, and 1,761 young adults Domestic violence

10 Safeguarding as ministry Recognise the canonical context for safeguarding; Recognise safeguarding as core to ministry and ongoing formation; “There are some people that feel that safeguarding is something imposed on the Church by the secular world, but this could not be further from the truth. Support, care and protection are pivotal to gospel teaching and therefore the Church Looks to its own teaching to ground safeguarding in the life of the Church. “ CSAS 2014

11 What is this canon law? Church’s legal code Directed towards internal discipline Elaborated over many hundreds of years - underpinned by: Scripture –Old Testament (eg. Ten commandments) –New Testament Traditions and teachings of Popes, Bishops, Church councils Defines offenses, processes of investigation and penalties for clergy

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13 Workshops by the Kenyan Catholic Church to raise awareness of the policy and children’s needs and safety more broadly Bishop Emanuel sensitizing teachers from Kilifi and Tana County Ms Eva and Fr Muli discussing the safeguarding policy with mothers and how best they can protect their children

14 Challenges going forward Building safeguarding systems that overcome taboo, hierarchy and lack of faith in the system. That incorporate the broad spectrum of safeguarding and don’t just focus on sexual abuse That works within local state laws firstly but is also compatible with Canon Law. That gives the Clergy and Religious a sense of ownership so that they do not feel imposed upon – especially the African Church’s.

15 Islamic Relief experience (amongst the communities we work with) indicates that we must address issues related to safeguarding children in Madrasahs which has a huge impact on the lives and future opportunities of children frequenting them. Define: Madrasah is the Arabic word for school and is commonly used throughout the Arab and Islamic world referring to a place of learning. The context

16 Challenges 16  Poor infrastructure and standard of education for children  Lack of government monitoring and implementation of policies and procedures  Due to poverty the circumstances of children are manipulated, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation  They throw children deeper into extreme conditions of poverty and suffering  Abuse covered under the banner of Islam

17 Why Lack Statistical Evidence Lack of mechanisms in place to support case of abuse Afraid of shame and stigma from the community Lack of awareness regarding abuse, i.e. don’t know they are being abused Afraid to report against religious leaders who are held in high honour and respect within their community No one to turn to

18 Food, Health and Sanitation Gaps Most Madrasah’s provide food, shelter and water but there are significant gaps. Training Teachers lack training regarding health particularly regarding reproductive health Intervention No health intervention for children who are victims of abuse 18

19 Corporal Punishment 19 Abu Dawood said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “There is not to be any causing of harm nor is there to be any reciprocating of harm.” (Recorded in ibn Maajah)

20 Child Labour 20  In several places the Qur’an prohibits burdening the human being or body beyond its capacity. - Qur’an: Al Anam 6:152, Al Araf (The Heights) 7: 42, Al Muminun 23: 62, Al Baqara 2: 286.  The Qur’an also does not impose any hardship on its believers: ‘He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in religion any hardship (haraj)...’ Qur’an: Al Hajj (The Pilgrimage) 22: 78.

21 Opportunity for NGO’s to work towards protecting children in Madrasahs 21

22 Moving Forward Governments to set up policies and procedures for Madrasahs to have a format to follow and implement. Improve registering systems. Train staff to have minimum qualifications to be able to incorporate formal and informal education as one. With a maximum number of students per class. Complaint mechanism Put in place in order for children to feel safe to report cases of abuse by peers or teachers. Head should obtain reference from the local community Parents/guardians should request information from madrasah and visit institution before sending their children 22 Civil Society Organisations provide training and support to parents to acquire parenting skills that enable them to deal with modern challenges.

23 Thank you Kate Iwi Neelam Fida ElSadig Sidieg Leila Fasseaux


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