FROM THE SAFEGUARD COMMITTEE

See PDF for 2019-2020 Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Brochure with resources and contact information. 
 
A Prayer for Healing

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds
and transform brokenness into wholeness.

Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
to act with justice.

Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors.

Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace and justice.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
 
 
“DID YOU KNOW?” FOR JULY
 
 

July 6-7

DID YOU KNOW?

Key information, resources to safeguard children are available at Archdiocese’s website

The safety and well-being of the faithful is of the utmost priority for all Catholic parishes, schools and ministries. As part of our commitment, the Archdiocese has updated the www.archla.org/protect website with valuable information and resources on how to protect our children and young people from child sexual abuse.

 

 

July 13-14

DID YOU KNOW?

Be constantly vigilant anytime your children are near water

Drowning takes only a few seconds, especially when children have easy access to a body of water. Make sure children know the water safety rules — always go in with an adult, wear appropriate gear (floaties, goggles, etc.), and no unsupervised play near the pool. Be careful even at times when children are not supposed to be swimming, during meals, while cleaning, or any other non-pool time. Children can easily slip out unnoticed and can reach the water. For more information, visit http://catholicphilly.com/2018/11/news/national-news/mother-on-mission-to-preserve-legacy-of-young-son-promote-water-safety/.

 

 

July 20-21

DID YOU KNOW?

Drug use prevention starts at home

You know it’s important to keep your children, especially teenagers, away from drugs, but besides lecturing, how can you impress this importance on your children? Setting an example at home is a great start — watch how you communicate subtle messages about your own substance use, such as a glass of wine after a “hard day” or overdoing it on prescription medication. Additionally, talk to your children about drug-related rules in real contexts, like parties. Give them realistic scripts for saying no if friends offer them drugs, so they have real options when the time comes. For more prevention ideas, get a copy of the VIRTUS® article “Ten Prevention Practices You May Not Have Considered” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

 

July 27-28

DID YOU KNOW?

Vet your child’s summer sleep-away camp

For many children, summer sleep-away camps are great adventures that become cherished memories. But for parents, the concern of sexual abuse is one that needs to be addressed. Before enrolling your child in a summer camp, consider staff reputation and screening practices. Ask questions about how the camp screens counselors and workers who will have access to your children (cafeteria workers, cooks, maintenance staff, etc.). Ask about any problems they may have handled previously, or how they would handle a complaint from a child. Get all the information you need to be comfortable before you send your child off for a few weeks of fun. Learn more from the VIRTUS® article “Summer Camp Preparation” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

 

August 3-4

DID YOU KNOW?

When shouldn’t you be your child’s “friend”?

As parents, we want to be close to our children — such closeness is not to be confused with being our children’s friend, though – our children need us to be role models, authority figures AND trusted confidants. This can be a difficult balance to maintain, but we cannot let our desire to be close to our children blind us to when they need a strong, reliable adult to tell them what’s right and wrong. Parent/child relationships are not built on equality like friendships. Parents have life experience and wisdom that children do not, which gives you more insight and authority in a given situation. Parents also have the responsibility to make unpopular decisions in their children’s best interests, and this is an important responsibility to help your children grow up.  For more information, check out the VIRTUS® article “What makes a friend? Part 3 — When Should a Parent Not be an Older Child’s ‘Friend’?” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

August 10-11

DID YOU KNOW?

Using vanishing communication technology to send harmful messages

From your cell phone you can send virtually any form of communication — even messages that disappear almost immediately after being sent. With apps like Snapchat and Instagram, or even some texting apps, children with social media accounts can communicate privately and secretively, sending messages and pictures that disappear after they are seen. Obviously, vanishing messages pose a problem, as parents can’t monitor what their children are saying or receiving. Check your child’s phone for these apps and talk about the importance of transparency and honesty. It’s also important for children to know that even a “vanishing” message can be saved through a screenshot. To learn more, read the VIRTUS® article “Vanishing, Self-Destructing, and Electronic Communication” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

 

August 17-18

DID YOU KNOW?

Don’t let a predator use fear to manipulate a child

Many victims of abuse don’t report the abuse right away, if ever. Predators groom their victims, and part of this process is designed to make the victim feel like they should trust their predator, even more so than their own parents. Many victims also have a fear that their parents or trusted adults won’t believe them, or that they will get in trouble for what happened — sometimes an abuser will threaten a child, using the child’s fear to buy the child’s silence. It’s important for parents to teach their children to talk with their parents about what is happening to them, what might be frightening them, and that they will be supported in disclosing. For more tips, get a copy of the VIRTUS® article “Don’t Let a Perpetrator Use Fear to Manipulate Your Child” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

 

August 24-25

DID YOU KNOW?

Keep an eye out during social events at school and church

Now that your children are getting ready to head back to school, it’s a good time to re-familiarize yourself with the school or church property. Keep a special lookout for any rooms or areas where supervision is low, and where a predator could take a child without being noticed. During school events, these are the places to watch. You should also take note of any locked doors, areas under bleachers or in stairwells, or anywhere else suspicious. Child safety should be a priority for all events. Learn more from the VIRTUS® article “Premises Safety… Always a High Priority” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.

 

 

August 31-September 1

DID YOU KNOW?

The right kind of touch is important for children

Children are often naturally affectionate and trusting, and this can lead to unexpected hugs or touches that indicate their love for the adults in their lives. For adults who are aware that some touching can be inappropriate or can appear to be a boundary violation even though it was initiated by the child, it can be difficult to respond in these instances. Healthy, appropriate touch is important for children. Use these instances as teachable moments where you can affirm your affection in words and guide an appropriate touch by description and example.  Some examples of this could include patting a child on the shoulder or back, high fives, holding hands out of the classroom or when crossing the street, or helping a young child tie his shoelaces. As part of our commitment, the Archdiocese has updated the www.archla.org/protect website with valuable information and resources on how to protect our children and young people from child sexual abuse. For more information, read the VIRTUS® article “The Healing Power of Touch, Part II” at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/Pages/VIRTUS-Current-Online-Articles.aspx.