Effective today, November 20, 2023, the new Guidelines for Training in the Protection of Minors and Persons in Vulnerable Situations developed by the Focolare Movement are available. Margarita Gómez and Étienne Kenfack, Counselors of the Movement’s International Center on the aspect of Physical Life and Nature, offer us some clarifications.
Illustrating the characteristics necessary to make a concrete commitment to the protection of the life and dignity of every person: this is what distinguishes the new Guidelines for Training in the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons (SCVA) in the Focolare Movement, released today, November 20, 2023, International Children’s and Adolescents’ Day. A work that has seen the direct collaboration of 40 specialists and people involved in this field from all continents and that aims exclusively to provide the necessary elements so that in every country where the Focolare Movement operates, an adequate training strategy can be developed that is oriented towards prevention and eradicating any kind of abuse, both within the Movement and in the environments where its members are found (work, neighborhood, school).
As early as 2013, the Movement had been engaged in training for the protection of minors, with widespread work in all the countries where it operates and a six-hour course that contained the basic principles. This training effort as of December 2022 had reached 17,000 people, and although the training was open to all, it was mainly carried out by people who had responsibility or direct contact in activities with minors.
Following the report on the serious cases of sexual abuse recorded in France, published one year after the GCPS consulting survey, a strong need arose to offer targeted training to all members of the Focolare Movement of every age, vocation, nation, role.
For this reason, the Guidelines are a universal tool, leaving ample room for appropriate inculturation and specific implementation in the particular context of origin.
“The training is aimed at everyone, and by ‘everyone’ we mean not only the members of the Movement but also the people who work in our facilities-said Étienne Kenfack. The Guidelines, on the other hand, are aimed at the Movement leaders in the different geographical areas and their teams who will be responsible for implementing them.”
The Guidelines will come into effect on January 1, 2024, for a period of 20 months ad experimentum. A period of comparison in order to gather all the changes and transformations that will be needed for the future.
“The document – continues Margarita Gómez – rests on a key resource for us, and that is communion: therefore, we will work in a network, there will be an international commission and local teams that will carry out the project; there will be moments of exchange, with online links to help us resolve doubts, to share good practices. It is no coincidence that we have decided to title our training program ‘All responsible for all.’ I hope that these Guidelines will find great acceptance in our communities and that in a few months we may have given a significant boost to training in this area.”
Maria Grazia Berretta
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