The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is launching new mandatory training on reporting child abuse.
The Bucks County-based Network of Victim Assistance will conduct the training for about 24,000 clergy members and other archdiocese staff on how to recognize and report child abuse. Cathleen Palm of the Pennsylvania Protect Our Children Committee said the training represents a major step for the archdiocese.
“This is not training about what to do if you suspect that a member of the clergy or a member of the Catholic Church is abusing someone,” said Palm. “This is training that really will help elevate people’s understanding that children are abused in very different forms by very different people so we have to be very attentive to all of that.”
Palm says the training shows that children aren’t the only ones who should report abuse. Archdiocese officials say the initial training sessions have been good and showed people how to identify abused children and get help for them.
The new training comes months after the archdiocese put more than two dozen priests on leave while investigating abuse claims. Five men, including an active priest, are being prosecuted for sexual abuse or for covering up abuse by others.