Pacific dioceses receive child safeguarding training

New Zealand’s Catholic Church has been training Pacific Islands church personnel on safeguarding children and dealing with abuse.

National Office for Professional Standards director Bill Kilgallon and the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith’s promoter of justice Msgr Robert Oliver visited American Samoa in July.

Accompanied by clinical psychologist Carolyn Cavana, they were there at the invitation of Bishop Peter Brown of Samoa-Pago Pago.

The Pacific Islands bishops’ conference (CEPAC) are “just at the stage where they have introduced policies and procedures”, Mr Kilgallon said.

The New Zealand office was asked to help train people responsible for running the procedures in American Samoa and Bishop Brown invited other dioceses to send people.

The training had representatives from American Samoa, Samoa, Tahiti, and Fiji.

“First of all we had a day with all the priests, deacons, catechists and some of the teachers in American Samoa, about 100 people, talking about boundaries, healthy boundaries in relationships and about the new procedures,” Mr Kilgallon said.

“Then we had four days with people who will actually be doing this.”

Mr Kilgallon said the interaction “was a great opportunity for us to share what we have learned so far, but also to see the issues from a different perspective”.

“So it was a good learning for us, because obviously in New Zealand, we have got lots of communities from the islands.”

Mr Kilgallon was impressed by the people who will be working in this area in the Pacific dioceses -people with senior government experience, judges, lawyers, police, a psychologist.

He said the New Zealand church will continue to liaise with their Pacific counterparts.

“And I hope that we will be able to assist them, because obviously the populations in some of the islands are quite small, and they will need to borrow expertise from different people and share some of those resources.”

Noting the cultural and legislative differences across the Pacific, Mr Kilgallon said it was good Msgr Oliver could reflect some of this back to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Mr Kilgallon said he worked with Msgr Oliver at the recent Anglophone conference in Rome and invited him to visit New Zealand and the Pacific.


  • National Office for Professional Standards (NZ)
  • Image: Samoa News
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News category: Asia Pacific.

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