PENANG: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children , Article 3.1 states that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration. Our Holy Pontiff’s exhortation in the Moto Proprio Vos estis lux mundi, “You are the light of the world, A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” establishes new procedures for reporting abuse and violence and includes an obligation for every Diocese in the world to set up, by June 2020, a system that allows the public to submit reports easily.
A Professional Standards Office committee has been working since 2015 in an advisory role to the Bishop of Penang regarding the formulation of policies and the investigation process in child protection. The Diocese of Penang has promulgated the Child Protection Manual themed Keeping and Restoring Communion dated Feb 6, 2019. Bishop Sebastian Francis has inculcated the three core principles of Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency in handling children and vulnerable adults issues. To spread this awareness, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Georgetown, organised a three-hour Child Protection talk attended by parents and participants from church ministries.
Parish Priest, Fr Joachim Roberts, in his opening address thanked those in children’s ministry for their time and effort in nurturing and planting the seeds of faith in the young ones. The Church is always grateful and now wants the parishioners to be the eyes, ears and hands in safeguarding children. Fr Joachim plans to appoint a Safety Officer who will handle all matters regarding child safety and care in the parish.
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