Vatican’s ‘Just Petty Gossip’ statement highlights the problems with investigating child abuse and safe guarding children.

Posted on April 6th, 2010

This is not an attack on the Catholic Church or the Pope, although we do not support the actions of the individuals involved in representing the Church’s interests.

The situation demonstrates that child abuse is not just an issue for British society, as the cases involving Catholic priests abusing children occurred in America and Germany. These incidents of abuse by adult males in a position of power reinforce information found in many pieces of research. The children who suffered these traumatic acts of violence by adults were vulnerable due to their age, their disability and there were in turn isolated from society.

The Church’s acts of ‘covering up’ abuse reflex the behaviour of families and other sections of society, who choose to deny that child abuse takes place. The investigation into child protection allegations by Social Workers can be hampered by a partner who refuses to communicate their concerns to Social Work professionals, due either fear of physical violence or the risk of losing their partner. This leaves Social Workers in the situation were families in a similar manner to the church refuse to report incidents of abuse to Local Authorities.  This allows children to be sexually exploited for years not just by Catholic priests but by other powerful members of society, who destroy the lives of children and affect their adulthood.

These children need the Catholic Church and the Pope not to blame lower ranking officials for the decisions of people with the responsibility to protect them from harm.

Within our own society neighbours refusing to report incidents of domestic violence are colluding with the perpetrator of the violence and should been seen supporting the actions of the aggressors.  There should be a consequence to the lack of actions by the Pope and other adults who fail to protect children from abuse.  Children rely on adults to make them safe and secure.

The Catholic Church acts as a role model to society and its current crisis highlights how difficult it is for Social Workers to investigate incidents of child abuse when met with a wall of silence and lack of co-operation. The abuse of children will continue if adults in power refuse to accept their responsibility to protect children, particularly those who are disadvantaged through poverty or disability. These issues and others keep some children on the edge of society and they become targets for adults, wishing to hurt them for their own gratification and pleasure. Whether it is the Catholic Church, the Pope, a partner or a member of the public that walks past a small child being hit hard by an adult, they are all failing to protect children from harm. The abuse of children can be reduced if adults control their inappropriate actions and people report child protection concerns to the authorities, supporting and  respecting the role of Social Workers whilst they investigate the complex issue of child abuse.

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