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Safe Environment Program
The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic
Icon of Christ Blessing the Children written by Mr. Peter Dziouba
The Byzantine Catholic Church of Passaic is dedicated to the realization of the special invitation of the Lord Jesus to our children and young people, “Let the little children come to me” (Luke 18:16). To this end our Eparchy is committed to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth adopted by the Catholic Bishops of America in 2002. The heart of this charter is a commitment on the part of the various dioceses and eparchies within the United States to providing a pastoral experience where the children and young people of our churches may come to Jesus through the ministry of His church in a safe, secure and healthy environment.
The Eparchy of Passaic is absolute in its commitment to provide such an environment where authentic faith development can flourish. To this end the Eparchy of Passaic Safe Environment Program has been instituted. All clergy and laity who serve within the eparchy are required to complete background checks and safe environment training. This program is carried out through the local parish in conjunction with the Eparchy of Passaic Safe Environment in Ministry Office.
This segment of our eparchial website is presented in an effort to facilitate our Eparchy of Passaic Safe Environment Program and share with you some helpful information regarding child sexual abuse. By our awareness and education we can protect our children and strive to prevent such sadness. By our vigilance we can assure them of a ministerial environment that truly reflects the presence and love of God.
Who and What of Abuse
Definition: The exact legal definition of child sexual abuse varies from state to state, however it is most commonly understood as an intentional act committed by a person in a position of trust that harms or threatens to harm a minor’s physical or mental welfare. Such abuse or harm can take place within the home, school, church or recreational and care environment. The perpetrators may be individuals both known and unfamiliar who are adults, adolescents and even other children.
Targets: The usual population of children who can be subject to sexual abuse includes preschoolers to adolescents, either pre-pubescent (prior to puberty) or pubescent (attained puberty), ranging in age from 0 to under 18 years.
Abusers: They come from a large spectrum of society and are very often individuals of trust within children’s lives. Such persons can include and are not limited to, parents, teachers, clergy, church workers or volunteers, coaches, police personnel, youth workers. They can be parents of children, older children, married and unmarried. Very often they themselves have been abused.
Effects: Those abused, if untreated may well grow into adults whose lives are filled with anger, rage, callousness and cynicism, criminal behavior, drugs and disease. Its effects are devastating and can have a life long effect upon its victims
Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
The following are some of the signs that a child may be the victim of abuse.
Code of Conduct with Minors
The following code of conduct, adopted by the Eparchy of Passaic, is an essential tool for church personnel to carry on any ministry with minors (persons under the age of 18) within the eparchy. It is directed at promoting open and trustworthy relationships between minors and adults. It’s reference to “Church Personnel” is to be understood as including Bishops, Priests and Deacons, with faculties to function in the eparchy of Passaic, minor clerics, seminarians of the Eparchy, those enrolled in the Deaconate Formation Program, men and women religious working in the Eparchy, lay ecclesial ministers, employees, and volunteers.
By virtue of our Christian responsibility we are all bound to report any and all suspicions of child abuse to the proper authorities. In most states, with some variation, physicians and health professionals, psychologists and social workers, teachers, day care workers, law enforcement personnel, clergy (outside the priest-penitent relationship), church workers, foster parents, attorneys and youth workers are required by law to report suspected incidents of child abuse.
~ Appropriate parish or eparchial personnel
~ Local Child Protective Services (Agency)
~ Local Police
Helpful telephone numbers:
Eparchy of Passaic Safe Environment Program Coordinator
National Child Abuse Hotline*……………..…...(800) 422-4453
*Proper child abuse reporting contact numbers for the
Dr. Maureen Daddona, Ph. D.........................(516) 623-6456
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