Who can hold whom accountable?

Who can hold whom accountable?

Child protection expert sees worldwide movement on abuse © shutterstock

Pontifical Gregorian University's Child Protection Center sees worldwide movement on abuse ie. This is also true in places where combating abuse and protecting children have not been ies so far, says expert Sister Karolin Kuhn.

From year to year, there is an increased interest in what the center has to offer, she told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Rome.

Much disparity of experience

At the same time, the nun reported a lot of disparity in experiences. So one cannot start from zero to one hundred with persons "from a country, in which abuse only slowly comes into the consciousness". In extreme cases, even for those who have been trained, "it can become life-threatening when they come back and address scandals with their new knowledge.".

The CCP offers six-month diploma courses as well as two-year licentiate courses for church workers involved in the fight against abuse. In addition, there are online courses with around 70 partner institutions worldwide.

Kuhn, a theologian, social worker and educator from Munich, has been working there as a lecturer since the beginning of 2018.

Some worry how they will be received at home with their newfound insights, the nun explained. In some countries, she says, sexuality is not even talked about, let alone sexual abuse. Men's and women's roles are still distributed completely differently, as is "the understanding of what a child is.

Domestic and school violence

A major topic of mediation is also domestic and school violence. It is not enough, says Kuhn, "to say from above, as it were, from a Western point of view: You are not allowed to do that, it is harmful." It is also necessary to "make this understandable and offer methods of setting limits differently" and "taming a class of 80 children".

"When our students come back to their countries now, it's less likely to be held against them that they're just bringing back some isolated Western opinion from Rome," Kuhn said. Instead, they could now prove: "This is the state of things, general church thinking."

The expert cited the following as key target questions for the center: "Where is the church vulnerable as a system? Who is responsible for what exactly? What is the responsibility of, for example, the bishop, the religious superior, the head of an institution, the teacher, the priest?? And what are they not responsible for?"

Also to be asked, "Who lacks training and competence for the responsibilities they bear?? Who can hold whom accountable? Where did someone take power that was not his or her due, or where did he or she not exercise the power that was his or her due, that is, where did he or she fail to do something??" All these questions, she said, are too often still unresolved.

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