- Candace Neff Director
News & Press Releases
In an effort to provide those who visit this site with up-to-date information regarding events or stories of interest happening within the diocese, the Secretariat for Communications researches and prepares articles and news releases.
Access to the most recent news is available under "News Headlines" on the home page. Copies of old stories are available by accessing the Archives at the end of the News and Press Release section.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by Presidential proclamation in 1985. Since then, organizations throughout the country have used this special time each year to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse in all its forms.
Child abuse and neglect remains a national problem. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in FY 2011 there were 676,596 reported victims of child abuse and neglect in our country; 1,545 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. In Michigan alone, 33,366 children were victims of abuse or neglect. Imagine if a disease claimed that many young lives. What would be our national response? Abuse, even if it is not fatal, robs a life and damages a child's spirit. It changes who that person is on a fundamental level.
A hallmark of the Catholic Church is the protection of life and the dignity of the human person. Through scripture and Catholic teachings we are called to protect the life and dignity of all human persons no matter how young or old. Working to prevent child abuse is an important response of what we are called to do as Church.
The Diocese of Gaylord, along with dioceses across the United States, has implemented many efforts to protect children in our parishes and in our communities.
The Catholic Church has done more to protect children than almost any other organization in the United States. Consider:
- Safe Environment training is taking place in nearly every Catholic diocese and eparchy of the country. Over 2.2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it. Safe Environment training is a critical component to preventing child sexual abuse in institutions.
- Last year over 4.8 million children were taught to recognize a grooming process, say No, and to tell parents and other trusted adults about such behavior.
- Background checks are conducted on Church personnel who have contact with children. Over 2.2 million volunteers and employees have undergone background screening.
- Dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct which let people know what can and cannot be done as well as letting others know what behavior can be expected.
- Dioceses/eparchies have Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard.
- Dioceses/eparchies have Safe Environment Coordinators who assure the ongoing compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
- There has been a Zero Tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. If a credible accusation is made against a cleric, they are permanently removed from ministry regardless of how long ago the offense occurred.
- Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological testing for those wishing to enter the seminary. Parishes are encouraged to use the materials below to help promote an awareness of child abuse and neglect issues and to work toward prevention and healing.
- The USCCB Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection develops resources for use by dioceses/eparchies. These resources include facts and information for parents.
- The Causes and Context of the Sexual Abuse Scandal Study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found no one cause for the increase and decline of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, but rather a confluence of events. The National Review Board is developing a set of recommendations based on the Study.
The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has done but more needs to be done. Click on the Child Protection link on the left to find many helpful resources and links. For more information about diocesan efforts or for help in making a report, contact Tom Tenerovicz at 989.732.5147.