In the Vineyard :: March 18, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 6

Wear the Blue Ribbon in April

Wearing the blue ribbon is a statement that “we care and are willing to speak out.” It reflects our awareness and willingness to be part of the solution. The ribbon indicates that as adults we have a “healthy suspicion” about child sexual abuse, and that we can identify the risks to children and youth early enough to prevent child sexual abuse from occurring.

As a concerned Catholic and member of VOTF, you can help parishes and communities create and maintain child safe environments and empower them with new tools to help protect children and youth.

Be Empowered!
Adults who interact with children and youth are on the front line of the prevention effort within each parish or community. These adults spend the most time with young people and are the primary individuals who watch over and protect our children and young people. But we need the work of every adult to keep children and youth safe, and it is the steps you take in your faith community, in local schools, in neighborhoods, and elsewhere that will reduce the scourge of child abuse.

What can you do? Start by helping your parish reinforce these five important steps to protect all children and youth:

  • Know the warning signs of how perpetrators work.

  • Control access to children and youth / screen adult volunteer applicants.

  • Monitor all youth programs / and train all volunteers in abuse prevention.

  • Be aware – have a “healthy suspicion.”

  • Communicate your concerns / talk with the person in charge / know how to report abuse.

Know and Control and Monitor
Child abuse perpetrators often exploit their power within nurturing, child-friendly environments where it is assumed that nobody would want to harm a child.
Insist that your parish community is a place where:

  • Child abuse is not tolerated.

  • Children and youth are vigilantly protected.

  • Victims are listened to, heard, and shielded from further abuse.

  • Offenders are identified and removed.

Be Aware
An outlook of “healthy suspicion” about something in your surroundings is an indispensable starting point. An attitude of concern and keen observation helps adults protect all children, youth, and vulnerable adults from being abused.
If you observe something that concerns you, communicate your concerns to the youth director, pastoral associate, religious education director, or other person in charge. They will help determine whether your “healthy suspicion” should be reported to civil authorities. To report abuse in your state, check out the resource provided under our Child Protection web page.

Steps You Can Take During April
Be aware; foster a “healthy suspicion”; and become an empowered adult to better protect children and youth.
Wear a Blue Ribbon! During this Child Abuse Prevention month, let’s all find a way to increase our awareness of child abuse prevention and the awareness of others. You are encouraged to wear a symbolic blue ribbon to signal awareness and dedication to prevent child sexual abuse.

(You can find various sources for blue pins and ribbons by searching online using the term “blue ribbons for child abuse prevention month” – usually they come in bulk orders.)


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