It is intriguing that when the topic here is the sexual abuse of children that some would like to silence or restrict that!!!
Why is that?
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  Home :: 2006 July :: U. S. Bishops' Charter For Protection Of Children And Young People
Brief showing the articles only of the  U. S. Bishops' Charter For Protection Of Children And Young People
 
The full document is available here
 
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation with Victims/Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors
 
Key:
Available to Australians 
Not available to Australians 
 
 
ARTICLE 1.

Dioceses/eparchies will reach out to victims/survivors and their families and demonstrate a sincere recommitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being. The first obligation of the Church with regard to the victims is for healing and reconciliation. Where such outreach is not already in place and operative, each diocese/eparchy is to develop an outreach to every person who has been the victim of sexual abuse* as a minor by anyone acting in the name of the Church, whether the abuse was recent or occurred many years in the past. This outreach will include provision of counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services agreed upon by the victim and the diocese/eparchy. In cooperation with social service agencies and other churches, support groups for victims/survivors and others affected by abuse should be fostered and encouraged in every diocese/eparchy and in local parish communities.

Through pastoral outreach to victims and their families, the diocesan/eparchial bishop or his representative will offer to meet with them, to listen with patience and compassion to their experiences and concerns, and to share the "profound sense of solidarity and concern"expressed by our Holy Father in his Address to the Cardinals of the United States and Conference Officers. This pastoral outreach by the bishop or his delegate will also be directed to faith communities in which the sexual abuse occurred.

 
ARTICLE 2.
 
Dioceses/eparchies will have mechanisms in place to respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. Dioceses/eparchies will have a competent assistance coordinator to aid in the immediate pastoral care of persons who claim to have been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other church personnel. Dioceses/eparchies will also have a review board, the majority of whose members will be lay persons not in the employ of the diocese/eparchy. This board will assist the diocesan/eparchial bishop in assessing allegations and fitness for ministry, and will regularly review diocesan/eparchial policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors. Also, the board can act both retrospectively and prospectively on these matters and give advice on all aspects of responses required in connection with these cases. The procedures for those making a complaint will be readily available in printed form and will be the subject of periodic public announcements.
 
ARTICLE 3.
 
Dioceses/eparchies will not enter into confidentiality agreements except for grave and substantial reasons brought forward by the victim/survivor and noted in the text of the agreement.

To Guarantee an Effective Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors

ARTICLE 4.
 
Dioceses/eparchies will report an allegation of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor to the public authorities. They will cooperate in their investigation in accord with the law of the jurisdiction in question.

Dioceses/eparchies will cooperate with public authorities about reporting in cases when the person is no longer a minor.

In every instance, dioceses/eparchies will advise victims of their right to make a report to public authorities and will support this right.
 
 
ARTICLE 5.
 
We repeat the words of our Holy Father in his Address to the Cardinals of the United States and Conference Officers: "There is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young."

When the preliminary investigation of a complaint (cc.1717-1719) against a priest or deacon so indicates, the diocesan/eparchial bishop will relieve the alleged offender promptly of his ministerial duties (cf. c. 1722). The alleged offender will be referred for appropriate medical and psychological evaluation, so long as this does not interfere with the investigation by civil authorities. When the accusation has proved to be unfounded, every step possible will be taken to restore the good name of the priest or deacon.

Where sexual abuse by a priest or a deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate investigation in accord with canon law, the following will pertain:

a.. Diocesan/eparchial policy will provide that for even a single act of sexual abuse (see Article 1, note*) of a minor-past, present,or future-the offending priest or deacon will be permanently removed from ministry. In keeping with the stated purpose of this Charter, an offending priest or deacon will be offered professional assistance for his own healing and well-being, as well as for the purpose of prevention.

b.. In every case, the processes provided for in canon law must be observed, and the various provisions of canon law must be considered (cf. Canonical Delicts Involving Sexual Misconduct and Dismissal from the Clerical State, 1995; cf. Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 18, 2001). These provisions may include a request by the priest or deacon for dispensation from the obligation of holy orders and the loss of the clerical state, or a request by the bishop for dismissal from the clerical state even without the consent of the priest or deacon. For the sake of due process, the accused is to be encouraged to retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel. When necessary, the diocese/eparchy will supply canonical counsel to a priest or deacon.

c..If the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state has not been applied (e.g., for reasons of advanced age or infirmity), the offender is to lead a life of prayer and penance. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly, to wear clerical garb, or to present himself publicly as a priest.
 
 
ARTICLE 6.
 
While the priestly commitment to the virtue of chastity and the gift of celibacy is well known, there will be clear and well-publicized diocesan/eparchial standards of ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries for clergy and for any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people.
 
 
ARTICLE 7.
 
Each diocese/eparchy will develop a communications policy that reflects a commitment to transparency and openness. Within the confines of respect for the privacy and the reputation of the individuals involved,dioceses/eparchies will deal as openly as possible with members of the community. This is especially so with regard to assisting and supporting parish communities directly affected by ministerial misconduct involving minors.
 
To Ensure the Accountability of Our Procedures
 
 
ARTICLE 8.
To assist in the consistent application of these principles and to provide a vehicle of accountability and assistance to dioceses/eparchies in this matter, we authorize the establishment of an Office for Child and Youth Protection at our national headquarters. The tasks of this Office will include (1) assisting individual dioceses/eparchies in the implementation of "safe environment" programs (see Article 12 below), (2) assisting provinces and regions in the development of appropriate mechanisms to audit adherence to policies, and (3) producing an annual public report on the progress made in implementing the standards in this Charter. This public report shall include the names of those dioceses/eparchies which, in the judgment of this Office, are not in compliance with the provisions and expectations of this Charter. This Office will have staffing sufficient to fulfill its basic purpose. Staff will consist of persons who are expert in the protection of minors; they will be appointed by the General Secretary of the Conference.
 
 
ARTICLE 9.
 
The work of the Office for Child and Youth Protection will be assisted and monitored by a Review Board, including parents, appointed by the Conference President and reporting directly to him. The Board will approve the annual report of the implementation of this Charter in each of our dioceses/eparchies, as well as any recommendations that emerge from this review, before the report is submitted to the President of the Conference and published. To understand the problem more fully and to enhance the effectiveness of our future response, the National Review Board will commission a comprehensive study of the causes and context of the current crisis. The Board will also commission a descriptive study, with the full cooperation of our dioceses/eparchies, of the nature and scope of the problem within the Catholic Church in the United States, including such data as statistics on perpetrators and victims.
 
 
ARTICLE 10.
 
The membership of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse will be reconstituted to include representation from all the episcopal regions of the country.
 
 
ARTICLE 11.
 
The President of the Conference will inform the Holy See of this Charter to indicate the manner in which we, the Catholic bishops, together with the entire Church in the United States, intend to address this present crisis.
To Protect the Faithful in the Future
 
ARTICLE 12. Dioceses/eparchies will establish "safe environment" programs. They will cooperate with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents,ministers,educators, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children. Dioceses/eparchies will make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse.
ARTICLE 13.
 
Dioceses/eparchies will evaluate the background of all diocesan/eparchial and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. Specifically, they will utilize the resources of law enforcement and other community agencies. In addition, they will employ adequate screening and evaluative techniques in deciding the fitness of candidates for ordination (cf. National Conference of Catholic Bishops,Program of Priestly Formation, 1993, no. 513).
 
 
ARTICLE 14.
 
When a cleric is proposed for a new assignment, transfer, residence in another diocese/eparchy or diocese/eparchy in a country other than the United States, or residence in the local community of a religious institute, the sending bishop or major superior will forward and the receiving bishop or major superior will review-before assignment-an accurate and complete description of the cleric's record, including whether there is anything in his background or service that would raise questions about his fitness for ministry (cf. National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Proposed Guidelines on the Transfer or Assignment of Clergy and Religious, 1993).
 
 
ARTICLE 15.
 
The Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse and the Officers of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men will meet to determine how this Charter will be conveyed and established in the communities of religious men in the United States. Diocesan/eparchial bishops and major superiors of clerical institutes or their delegates will meet periodically to coordinate their roles concerning the issue of allegations made against a cleric member of a religious institute ministering in a diocese/eparchy.
 
 
ARTICLE 16.
 
Given the extent of the problem of the sexual abuse of minors in our society, we are willing to cooperate with other churches and ecclesial communities,other religious bodies, institutions of learning, and other interested organizations in conducting research in this area.
 
 
ARTICLE 17.
 
We pledge our complete cooperation with the Apostolic Visitation of our diocesan/eparchial seminaries and religious houses of formation recommended in the Interdicasterial Meeting with the Cardinals of the United States and the Conference Officers in April 2002. Unlike the previous visitation, these new visits will focus on the question of human formation for celibate chastity based on the criteria found in Pastores Dabo Vobis (1992). We look forward to this opportunity to strengthen our priestly formation programs so that they may provide God's people with mature and holy priests. Dioceses/eparchies will develop systematic ongoing formation programs in keeping with the recent Conference document Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (2001) so as to assist priests in their living out of their vocation.


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia