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April – 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
- 24,588 adults are safe environment compliant and submitted to a background check and participated in safe environment awareness training.
- 16,458 children have taken part in annual training since July 1 of last year (2022).
10 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse
Teach children how to help keep themselves safe and protected.
Open lines of communication with our children so they can talk about their concerns.
Maintain safe environment compliance certifications for people who have contact with or access to our children.
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.
Minimize opportunities for abuse or violation of boundaries. Choose group settings where possible. Monitor children’s internet use.
Discipline children thoughtfully and calmly, not when the adult caregiver is angry.
Recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse— remember five steps taught in the Safe Environment Awareness sessions.
Report concerns for abuse.
Invest in our children. Give your time and talent and cultivate healthy relationships with the children in our Diocese.
Encourage parental participation in children and youth activities.
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!
"1 in seven 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. *
- 182 child fatalities in 2022 were the result of confirmed abuse and neglect 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.”
USCCB Child Abuse Prevention Month Booklet
Child and Youth Protection Facts and Figures
5 Ways to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
5 Steps to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
10 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse
Human Trafficking: Protecting Our Children
"Promise to Protect" Victim Outreach
A Prayer for Healing
Rosary Guide for Healing and Protection
The Catholic Church is absolutely committed to the safety of children. Together we can make a Promise to Protect, and a Pledge to Heal.