PNG and Solomons Church launches child protection policy

The Catholic Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands launched its first child protection policy on February 24.

The policy outlines clear steps for investigating abuse within the Church and encourages members of report abuse.

Br Frank Hough, who helped formulate the new policy, said he hoped Church members would find reporting abuse less daunting.

He said societies in the Pacific are often male dominant with a great respect for church leaders and priests.

People also don’t want to bring shame upon the Church and are reticent to bring claims against the church or a priest, he noted.

This is especially so in rural areas, Br Hough said.

People wanting to make a complaint will be able to discuss the matter with a contact person, who can explain what options are available to them with Church and/or civil authorities.

The policy aims to create more awareness of child protection and various forms of abuse.

It also provides standards to establish a safe environment for children and is a framework other organisations within the Church can emulate, said one of its co-authors.

The policy reportedly complements the PNG government’s 2009 Lukautim Pikini Act, aimed at protecting children, which is up for review in the nation’s parliament.

The act has been criticised because of a lack of manpower, political will and funding to carry out its functions.

The PNG minister responsible for Child Welfare, Delilah Gore, said the national government continued to acknowledge its partnership with churches in the country.

The minister urged other churches to come up with their own initiatives on child welfare and other social needs.

Sources

News category: Asia Pacific.

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