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Vatican's Child Protection Commission Seeks Public Input for Updated Church Safeguarding Guidelines
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The Vatican's Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has announced an invitation for public feedback on Church safeguarding principles in order to create updated diocesan guidelines. The commission has provided an online survey in multiple languages, including English and Spanish, allowing anyone to participate.
The responses received will be utilized to formulate an updated Universal Guidelines Framework (UFG), which is expected to be approved and distributed to Catholic dioceses and territories worldwide by the end of 2023. The aim is to encourage local adaptations of safeguarding guidelines according to the respective cultural contexts.
The commission emphasized that these principles aim to promote protection from abuse within the Church, based on existing good practices in safeguarding. The focus is on providing assistance to individuals impacted by abuse and emphasizing the importance of appropriately addressing instances of abuse.
In addition to the public input, the guidelines have also been shared with bishops' conferences for their feedback. Furthermore, in 2024, the commission plans to release its first report on the progress of safeguarding guideline implementation in various countries.
To gather information directly from local Churches, the commission will receive updates during the bishops' conferences' ad limina visits to Rome on a quinquennial basis.
The establishment of safeguarding guidelines globally by the Catholic Church began in 2011. Speaking to Vatican News, commission member Teresa Devlin acknowledged that the Global South, especially Asia, lags behind in developing their own guidelines and structures for reporting and responding to abuse. However, she highlighted that the progress varies across different regions worldwide. The commission hopes that by providing guidelines and supporting their implementation through training, financial aid, and capacity building, they can assist Churches in the Global South and other areas where guidelines are not yet fully developed.