Each year during the month of April, the Archdiocese of Louisville seeks to raise awareness about child abuse in our parishes and schools through bulletin announcements (for copies, click here) and resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (click here).
This year, during the tenth anniversary of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese is expanding this effort through a series of newspaper ads calling attention to the seriousness of child abuse and the requirement to report. We also are taking this opportunity to thank community agencies who work with children and families every day to prevent and heal child abuse. Click here to view the ad that will run.
In the Archdiocese of Louisville, we have sought to confront, seek forgiveness, and establish systems of prevention and education about child abuse in our own midst. We have developed policies (click here) that conform to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. We also have established a childhood sexual abuse prevention and education program—called Honor Thy Children—for adult staff and volunteers that has trained nearly 27,000 persons since 2003. For a description and listing of training dates, click here.
- More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
- A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
- As many as one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood.
- Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions, and at all levels of education.
- Approximately one in seven youth online (10 to 17 years of age) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.
- 88% of cases of sexual abuse are never reported to the authorities.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO COMBAT CHILD ABUSE?
- Recognize that all adults in Kentucky have the responsibility to report abuse.
- Report suspected abuse. Call the Kentucky Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-752-6200 or the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. For the reporting phone number for each county of the Archdiocese, click here.
- Listen to and honor children by giving them a voice. Create an environment of responsiveness and comfort so that children feel free to disclose if they feel threatened or have been abused.
- Become informed about child abuse and speak out about it. Silence encourages abuse.
- Encourage adults who are victims of childhood abuse to report crimes to the authorities and to seek counseling.
- Donate gifts of time, talent, and treasure to agencies working to combat abuse.
- Become aware of the signs and symptoms—both physical and behavioral—of child abuse.
- For parents:
- Understand abuse and the various types (physical, emotional, sexual and neglect) of abuse.
- Learn what behaviors are age-appropriate for children and which are not so that you can have realistic expectations of your children.
- Seek out education on appropriate parenting skills and coping mechanisms.
- Take care of yourself, and seek professional help if necessary.
- Teach your children personal boundaries and respect for their bodies, and discuss with children the appropriate and inappropriate forms of touch.
- Confront the risk factors for abuse in your family and address them. These risk factors include drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, untreated mental illness, stress, excessive anger, or a history of abuse in family of origin.
- For more resources for parents, click here.
- Become informed about the topic of child abuse and about realities such as grooming, neglect, psychological abuse, and the myths and facts of abuse.
- Support legislation designed to address child abuse. Many child abuse prevention organizations engage in advocacy efforts that seek to educate the public and elected officials about issues related to child abuse.
- Pray for victims of child abuse and for all of those involved in preventing and healing the crime of child abuse.
We thank the many organizations that support children and families through education, prevention, treatment, and through enforcement of the laws against child abuse. Below is a sampling of organizations and agencies in the Louisville area (click on each for more information):