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April – Child Abuse Prevention Month

Blue ribbon for Child Abuse Prevention Month

As Catholics, we must continue to be models of abuse prevention every day, indeed every hour. Our commitment must be ongoing and resolute. Efforts to prevent abuse and to safeguard all who seek to join our parish and school communities can never be abandoned for an easier way.

Most Reverend Michael F. Olson

Please join Bishop Michael Olson, the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Office of Safe Environment in observing April – Child Abuse Prevention Month during which time we will bring together experts and information aimed at equipping our community with tools to help create the safest possible environment for our children to worship, learn and grow.

As Catholics, we are committed to protecting our most vulnerable members, especially children and youth. We believe that by educating ourselves and others about the signs of abuse and how to prevent it, we can work together to create a safer environment for all children and youth within our communities. Join us as we work together to protect our children and youth and to promote healing for those who have experienced abuse.

What We Have Accomplished Together

  • 25,274 adults are safe environment compliant and submitted to a background check and participated in safe environment awareness training.
  • 18,354 children have taken part in annual training since July 1 of last year (2023).

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25:40

Mass of Reparation for Victims of Abuse

Saturday, April 6, 2024
St. Patrick Cathedral (10:00 AM CDT)

We recommit our efforts to ensuring the safety of children and young people and pray for the victims and survivors of abuse.

Reiteramos nuestros esfuerzos para garantizar la seguridad de los niños y jóvenes y oramos por las víctimas y sobrevivientes de abuso.

Chúng tôi cam kết và nỗ lực bảo đảm an toàn cho trẻ em và thanh thiếu niên; đđồng thời luôn cầu nguyện cho các nạn nhân và những người sống sót sau các vụ lạm dụng.

10 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse

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Teach children how to help keep themselves safe and protected.

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Open lines of communication with our children so they can talk about their concerns.

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Maintain safe environment compliance certifications for people who have contact with or access to our children.

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Examine our own behavior and ensure that we, as safe adults, model appropriate boundaries and behavior for our children and the children in our ministries.

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Minimize opportunities for abuse or violation of boundaries. Choose group settings where possible. Monitor children’s internet use.

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Discipline children thoughtfully and calmly, not when the adult caregiver is angry.

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Recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse— remember five steps taught in the Safe Environment Awareness sessions.

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Report concerns for abuse.

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Invest in our children. Give your time and talent and cultivate healthy relationships with the children in our Diocese.

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Encourage parental participation in children and youth activities.

Blue Pinwheels

The Pinwheel is the national symbol of child abuse prevention efforts. It represents the innocence, joy and fun which should be the experience of all children. Planting Pinwheels on the grounds of the church or school leaves behind a dramatic, visual, public display of support for protecting all of God's children from any kind of harm. Mark April by hosting your own pinwheel event!

Parish Blue Pinwheel Activities

A child plays with a blue pinwheel.

"1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Child Abuse Facts in Texas

  • Over 184 children are confirmed victims of abuse each day in Texas. *
  • 7 or more children are maltreated every hour in Texas. *****
  • 1 in 10 children in the US live in Texas. *****
  • 4 children die from abuse or neglect each week in Texas.*
  • 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, more powerful children. ****
  • Child sexual abuse can have lifetime impacts on survivors — especially without support. It can impact educational outcomes, lead to heightened symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, higher suicidality, drug abuse, and chronic health issues. ***

* Texas Association for the Protection of Children (TexProtects) 2021/2022.
** 2022 Child maltreatment fatalities and near fatalities annual report.
*** Adult Manifestations of Child Sex Abuse. (August 2011, Reaffirmed 2017). American College of Obstetricians and Physicians.
**** Townsend, C., & Rheingold, A.A., (2013). “Estimating a child sexual abuse prevalence rate for practitioners: studies.”
***** The Texas Association for the Protection of Children(TexProtects) State of the State 2022/2023