Building a Consistent Global Safeguarding Awareness

Member Prof Gabriel Dy-Liacco speaks about efforts to disseminate effective safeguarding education across the Church and calls for a Ministry for Victims.

The Pontifical Commission is a pioneer in the worldwide dissemination and sharing of culturally sensitive prevention methods to combat abuse. Members have developed guidelines from existing best practices which they refer to in training sessions, workshops, conferences and academic seminars the world over. The guidelines emphasize the importance not only of the education of diocesan clergy or religious, but also of families and communities.

“In terms of the research on preventing this type of crime from happening so far what the science says is the most effective tool from preventing sexual abuse of minors is by educating all people concerned,” notes psychotherapist Prof. Gabriel Dy-Liacco speaking to Rome Reports.

The husband and father of five children has been a Commission member since 2015. He has offered training to thousands of school administrators, directors, and superintendents of Catholic schools in the Philippines on safeguarding children in schools. He has also addressed guidance counsellors, campus ministers and personnel on the same topic.

From his experience, Prof. Dy-Liacco observes the lack of a universal and consistent acknowledgement and awareness of abuse across the Church. He says this needs to be cultivated if prevention models are to be effective and points to the pastoral accompaniment of those who have been abused as key.

“We do not have a ministry for victims, unlike our ministry to the youth, which is worldwide in every diocese, in every parish. And most religious orders have some kind of youth ministry,” Dr. Dy-Liacco recently observed in a June 2020 Webinar on Safeguarding during a global pandemic. 

“Safeguarding is not some administrative or legal task that has been tacked on recently and just needs ticking off” he concluded “it lies at the very heart of the Gospel as a concrete mandate given by Jesus and, as such, it is central to the mission and vocation of every Christian.”