April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month. During Child Abuse Prevention Month, we are reminded of the call to be instruments of justice, working for the common good of all, which includes the protection of children. As Jesus entrusts to Peter the care of the flock, we are reminded that this responsibility belongs to everyone as a matter of charity and justice.
We are all part of a larger culture of protection and healing within the Church. As members of this culture, we value the prevention of abuse and the support of those who have been abused. Each one of us can play an important role in strengthening this culture. For example, we can better prevent abuse by ensuring that the signs of abuse are identified and reported. Noticing these warning signs, taking them seriously, and reporting them could prevent abuse in the future. Even when we witness inappropriate behavior or something that just doesn’t seem quite right, we must report our concerns through the appropriate channels.
We can also play a role in victim outreach by offering support, compassion, and prayers to those close to us who have been abused. The importance we place on carrying out these acts of charity will go a long way in creating a culture within our Church where children are safe, and victim/survivors find healing.
The 2020 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, produced by the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection (SCYP) in 2021, describes the progress of Catholic dioceses/eparchies in implementing victim assistance and child protection policies and programs in the United States, particularly those found within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The audit process measures compliance with the articles of the Charter. The Statement of Episcopal Commitment and Essential Norms, found after the Charter within the same booklet, are not the purview of the audit. Additionally, there is one-page summary of the findings.
For more resources, you can visit the USCCB's Protection of Children & Young People page.