Vatican/Italy: Set up abuse reporting centers everywhere

The new secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children encouraged Italy’s church to set up nationwide abuse reporting centers for victims to contact and work with authorities. He spoke at a conference of Italian bishops on the abuse in Rome.

“It is essential to give the complaint offices full functionality and tools with dedicated staff and stable and visible resources,” Bishop Luis Manuel Ali Herrera stressed at the meeting of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) at the Italian Embassy. Held in Rome on Wednesday. As of 2019, 77 percent of Italian dioceses have so-called “centri di ascolto” (translated as “listening centers”), according to the trained lawyer and theologian who was formerly the national director of the Pontifical Missionary Societies in the United States.

No charges, no victims?

“The lack of reporting is often misinterpreted as the absence of victims,” ​​the new secretary pointed out. However, “it is important to create a network for the exchange of information and resources at national and regional levels to give victims the confidence to come forward”. This offer should be supplemented by training and further education in the field of protection and prevention for seminarians and priests, which is already taking place to some extent in Italy.

Bishop Luis Manuel Ali Herrera called on Italy’s church to expand cooperation with civil authorities. He positively noted the related efforts that have been made “in cooperation with public prosecutor’s offices, courts, law enforcement authorities and social services in this area.”

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Cooperate with civil authorities

“This cooperation shows that the Church does not limit itself to the complaints provided for in Canon 1398 of the CIC, but assumes co-responsibility for all cases involving minors or violent situations, expanding preventive effectiveness and fruitful cooperation with the civil authorities. Many regions have developed very interesting programs that should be studied and disseminated.”

“We will continue to promote a culture of safety across the country so that victims can regain the confidence they have lost and feel free to report what happened to them without fear of being heard.”

It is very important that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children and the Church of Italy work together for the benefit of the injured people: “We can continue to promote a culture of protection throughout the country so that the victims can regain the hope and feeling they have lost. The freedom to accept what happened to them “to report without fear of not being heard,” said the Bishop.

Safety culture, building trust

In his 2014 speech as Secretary of the Pontifical Commission, Andrew Small of Britain elaborated on the work of helping bishops, bishops’ conferences and religious orders around the world. Develop appropriate strategies and procedures to prevent sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons, said Bishop Luis Manuel Ali Herrera. Among other things, he is responsible for implementing… Bobsterlas “You Are the Light of the World” To review the establishment of necessary reporting offices in all dioceses.

(Vatican News – pr)

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