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Archdiocese reaches out to abuse victims

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - The Archdiocese of Agana is continuing its efforts to reassure the island community that it is here for victims, whether from sexual abuse or child abuse.  Whether online or in print via The Pacific Voice, Archdiocese Spokesperson Deacon Jeff Barcinas says they are dealing with the current issues confronting the church. 

Aside from allegations made by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests against local clergy and the international sex scandal involving a number of priests across the globe, locally Barcinas says the church is reaching out to the community providing help to crime victims.  "And then giving some you know points of child abuse prevention in terms of the victims and making sure that they understand the victims and are sensitive to them," explained.

A new organization, Helping Our People Endure (HOPE), was formed in response to attacks on the local church regarding allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.  The group was co-founded by Cathy Gogue, a member of the Catholic church. She says HOPE is here to help people understand the issues, and according to Deacon Barcinas, more and more parishioners are coming forward, even so far as offering to provide help to those who might be a victim.

"We fortunate enough there are different Catholic faith-based professionals out there that are social workers in the area dealing with counseling that have brought up suggestions of trying to form sort of like a coalition or group perhaps make themselves available to make themselves accessible to victims who may be able to who would like to talk to them and be able to help them heal," he told KUAM News.

The deacon added that the Archdiocese is taking it a step further, offering help outside of the Catholic Church. "The main concern here is making sure that we really take care of the victims or if there are individuals that maybe are having different forms of maltreatments not necessarily sex abuse different abuses. 'Cause I know on Guam we definitely have a big issue of the number of cases of child abuse that are being reported to civil authorities ever year, that's a very serious issue that's facing Guam.

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