Here is a text by Serge Traore on the training of child protection delegates. This text can be found in its entirety on his blog, which you can consult by clicking on this text.
From Sunday 04 to Friday 09 November 2018 the Child Protection Delegates (CPD) in the Society of Missionaries of Africa met in the Generalate in Rome for a Training Session. We were 26 delegates. The session was moderated by Stéphane Joulain, mafr, Integrity of the Ministry Coordinator and Bernard Ugeux, mafr, Coordinator of Ongoing Formation.
It all started on Sunday night, after the evening meal, with a word of welcome, a general introduction, a presentation of the participants and a social evening. This training follows the two training sessions held in 2017 in Nairobi and Ouagadougou.
On Monday, we started working. In a video message from the Superior General, we were invited to take our CPD mission and the training time offered to us this week seriously, given the seriousness of the situation of sexual abuse. We immediately entered the activity reports as CPD’s in our various mission countries. These reports allowed us to identify the important topics on which facilitators Stéphane and Bernard tried to provide answers or clarifications.
Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., President of the Gregorian University Centre for the Protection of the Child, spoke to us about the Protection of Minors as an integral, non-negotiable and urgent part of the Church’s mission. Stéphane Joulain explained the importance of Prevention as locations, places, environments, safe people. We discovered Lavigerie’s historical concern for prevention in his instructions. Bernard Ugeux gave us keys to listen to the victims and their suffering. André Simonart, Secretary General of the Society, showed how all correspondence on sexual abuse issues must be meticulously documented. Stéphane Joulain made us think about the importance of taking care of ourselves when we have to deal with the suffering of sexual abuse. Fr. Benoît Malvaux, canonist and Procurator General of the Jesuit Society, explained to us the whole legal and canonical process when it comes to sexual abuse: when, how to investigate, under what circumstances, what to do and how… the clarification of roles and structures…
Three confreres were invited to present their initiatives in their sector. Bernard Ugeux spoke about the Nyota recovery centre for young girls in Bukavu. Lowrent on mission in Goma shared on a formation session organized in the diocese. Serge Traore presented the Princess Tamar Project, a network of organizations, institutions, associations for the prevention of sexual abuse of minors in Brazil, an initiative of the Cardinal Lavigerie Center of the Missionaries of Africa in Brazil.
Our session was very interactive. We had many exchanges in small groups and in assemblies. In small groups we reflected on case studies. We have prepared different models of formation that we could give: formation sessions for confreres, formation sessions for candidates in formation houses, formation sessions for pastoral agents in a parish. Two role plays allowed us to see how we should behave as CPD’s in real situations of meeting with accusing families and also with an accused confrere.
Proposals of action.
We considered networking to launch a kind of international campaign to prevent sexual abuse and present it as a result of the celebration of the 150th Jubilee: a missionary work for the protection of children. We could then work on publishing audio-visual material for this campaign.
Our assessment of the session is very positive. We have discovered something new. We have a better understanding of our role as CPD’s. We have identified areas to be explored and themes that we have missed. Everyone feels ready to work on the Protection of Minors through the prevention of sexual abuse.
Moussa Serge Traore, M.Afr.
Prayer of the Safeguarding delegate.
God of mercy and compassion
You care for all your children
And never abandon them.
You see the suffering we cannot see,
The wounds that lie deep within,
And the cries which have been ignored.
Send us your Holy Spirit
To guide and support us.
Teach us to listen to the pain we cannot imagine,
To see the scars that time does not heal,
And speak with confidence for those who have no voice.
May we find in Jesus, your Son,
The courage to reach out to all who suffer,
The openness to respond to all in need.
He is the innocent victim
Who redeems us by his love;
The face of mercy
Who witnesses to the truth.
In his name may we treat survivors with dignity,
Learn from them with humility
And respond to them with integrity.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
Our Lady of Consolation Pray for us