Friday, 08 October 2021 11:48

Contributing to the culture of safeguarding


The online forum, organized by the TA Safeguarding Advisory Panel for the follow-up of the Policy for the Protection of Children, Adolescents and Vulnerable Persons held at the end of September, was organized under the slogan "Safeguarding, a way of being in relationship".

About one hundred and fifty people participated in the virtual meeting, a good group from America and Europe and some from Africa and Asia. Maite Uribe, President of the Teresian Association, and several members of the Governing Council were present.

Promoting the culture of safeguarding

Carmen Serrano, coordinator of the Panel, opened the meeting with a few words in which she recalled that "the proposal of this forum is to promote a culture of safeguarding in the different areas of our lives, which allows the full development of the person, because we are convinced that any kind of mistreatment, violence or abuse is not justifiable and violates the dignity and the full enjoyment of the rights of the person".

padres hijos bienMaite Uribe then referred to the development of the Policy for the Protection of Children, Adolescents and Vulnerable Persons of the Teresian Association and the establishment of the Advisory Panel. Both actions arise after the request of the Holy See´s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, addressed three years ago to the international ecclesial associations, urging them to develop protocols for the protection of minors or vulnerable persons. In her remarks, she thanked the Panel members for their qualified contribution and generosity in the elaboration and follow-up of the policy, which seeks to strengthen the culture of safeguarding and promote safe and protective environments.

Maite recalled how the pandemic has highlighted the importance of care in sustaining human life and, at the same time, has given rise to circumstances, such as confinement, that aggravate situations of abuse and the suffering of victims. She encouraged to continue contributing to a culture of safeguarding: "As an association we must and want to get involved in an issue with direct and painful impact on the lives of so many people, families and organizations, consciously and effectively assuming our institutional responsibility and, above all, collaborating in the creation of conditions that favor safeguarding, living the relational style inspired by the true humanism that St. Pedro Poveda left us and that, over the more than one hundred years of our history, has characterized the life of our families, groups, centers, projects and teams". She ended her speech by recalling the four attitudes to which she invites in her letter of the year The Wisdom of Goodness: "tenderness in gestures, gentleness in gaze, kindness in words, compassion in judgments".

Seven perspectives were briefly addressed by the members of the Panel, through a video that we attach. Their contributions arise from experience and reflection on their professional and personal practice.

  1. Sons and daughters of care. Cecilia Petit. Degree in Psychology from the National University of Cordoba (Argentina). Psychologist.
  2. The voice of children and adolescents counts. Juan Alonso Cózar Olmo. Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Granada (Spain). Pediatrician
  3. Accompanying the changes in adolescence. Charisse Marie Raagas. Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City (Philippines). Nurse and School Counselor.
  4. Positive parenting. Carme Tello i Casany. PhD in Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lleida (Spain). Clinical psychologist.
  5. The person at the center of the system. Laura Vaccaro. Degree in Law and graduate in Jurisprudence from the University of Palermo (Italy). Chief Prosecutor of the Juvenile Court.
  6. Healthy leaders for a healing Church. Febe Aguirre. Master in Guidance and Counseling, University of the Philippines (Quezon City, Philippines). Spiritual director and Clinical Team Member (Ontario, Canada).
  7. A path of reparation and protection in the Church. Karlijn Demasure. Doctor of Theology from KUL, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). Theologian.

Group work

Divided into ten groups, the participants dialogued on topics arising from the best practices and reflections presented. The international character of the groups enriched the dialogue, which, in the opinion of the participants, would have deserved more time. Each group presented a challenge to the plenary. The members of the Panel echoed them, appreciating the relevance of the reflections. Some of the ideas expressed were:

  • nube palabras buentratoIn order to promote safeguarding we have to incorporate it into one's own lifestyle.
    Importance of training in the family, school, community... to detect, prevent, protect, address, intervene, denounce... situations of mistreatment and abuse. A training that is not only intellectual but also experiential.
  • To favor spaces where children, adolescents and young people are empowered, express themselves, learn to manage their feelings and defend their rights. Children are often part of the solution and agents of change.
  • Knowing how to listen and accompany experiences of suffering, with a respectful and serious attitude... To do so, it is necessary to have gone through a personal process.
  • To put yourself in the shoes of the victims. To take care also of secondary victims. Abuse has a community dimension.
  • To accompany and strengthen the educational task of mothers and fathers. Generate alliances with social, political and ecclesial organizations that work along these lines. Education is a powerful tool for promoting a culture of safeguarding and relationships free of abuse of power.

In the final dynamics, the most repeated words were: commitment, gratitude and hope. There remains the desire, expressed in the evaluations, to continue to deepen on the themes outlined in the forum, to take a step further in the promotion of safeguarding and the conditions that enable a full life, especially for those whose rights are most violated.

TA Safeguarding Advisory Panel


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