The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has launched a training program for more than 24,000 clergy, staff, and volunteers. The training, to recognize and report abuse, will last three hours for staff, including teachers, and one hour for volunteers.
An archdiocese representative said the curriculum includes a discussion of indicators of child abuse; and the criminal consequences for failing to report abuse.
The archdiocese wants to help clergy, employees, parish and school staff, coaches and volunteers understand their role and responsibility in the mandated reporting of child abuse under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
Mary Achilles is the victim services consultant for the archdiocese.
“I know how uncomfortable it is for people to make that call of suspected abuse but I’d say think about that,” said Achilles. “It’s difficult enough for you. But if we fail to do that as adults, we put the burden on the child–on the 8-year-old, the 6-year-old, the 10-year-old to stop the abuse themselves. This is part of a continuum of creating a safe environment.”
The archdiocese brought Achilles on to help review the recommendations in a scathing February grand jury report, and to advise the Church on how best to address the needs of victims of sexual abuse.