by Lannie Walker
Guam - The Catholic newsletter "The Pacific Voice" is offering 10 tips to protect your child from abuse by members of clergy. Recently the church released information about allegations of abuse by three different priests who had served on Guam.
Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, developed and released the list in connection with Child Abuse Prevention Month. The tips are:
- Sexual molestation is about the victim - although the family and community are affected by the crime the primary person of concern must be the victim
- No one has the right to have access to the children - church and school volunteers must for be properly screened before being allowed around children
- Common sense is not all that common - it should not be assumed people know the proper boundaries regarding minors. For example: no minister, cleric or any adult should be allowed in a child's bedroom alone with a child
- Child sexual abuse can be prevented - barriers such as protective guardians, codes of conducts, and background evaluations should be in place to prevent abuse
- Residual effects of abuse can last a lifetime - a sense of betrayal and feelings of shame can last long after the abuse has ended
- Being heard leads toward healing - acknowledging the abuse is an important part of the healing process
- It is not possible to predict the abuser will be - most abuse is by someone who has gained the trust of the victim
- There warning signs of abusers - one warning sign is age inappropriate relationships
- Adults can be educated to identify behavior of abusers - abusers may shower a child with attention or develop relationship with family to increase their credibility
- Background checks work - by scaring off potential predators and uncovering past actions by which ban adult from working of volunteering with children
The Archdiocese of Agana has invited any victims on Guam to reach out to the church. You can do so by calling Deacon Jeff Barcinas at 472-6116, Extension 205 or Deacon Steve Martinez at Extension 208.