"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
I was asked several times before I came why it was necessary to travel so far for these meetings. Over the course of the past week, it has been impressed upon me not only the extreme importance of taking the issue of Child Protection and Safety very seriously; but also the validity of taking part in the workshops and seminars offered by the Child Safety and Protection Network. The sensitive nature of the subject matter lends itself to a necessity for interaction and discussion, something that is not achievable in the same way via video.
I have learned a great deal this week, and become acutely aware of the inherent dangers that lay in wait for children. Often in unexpected places with unexpected people. I have had the privilege to attend workshops on the following topics throughout the week; Learning from our past, Lessons learned from the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, Interviewing children, Indicators of abuse, Building boundaries for young children, Peer abuse, Privileges and perils of growing up in a "God system", prosecuting offenders. Needless to say, it has been a week of challenging subject matter.
We have a responsibility to protect children, and with that knowledge, we are in sin if we do not do everything in our power to do so.
"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
When you are asked to file police checks or submit to child safety training, or follow procedures put in place for child protection - it is not simply a clerical nuisance put in place to make you miserable. We are striving, to the best of our abilities to achieve the best practices of Child Safety and Protection. This has been phased in over several years, and this year we will have a zero tolerance for derelict applications. So get on those asap so that you won't be denied service with ANBC or NCEM in 2013!
Here are a few shots of the beautiful facility that we have enjoyed during this weeks conference. (Pat loaned me her picture taking apparatus).
Some of the campus, our accommodations were in "Asia House"
The fountain and globe
Pat in the dining room by the soda fountains
Lovely fresh fruit available all the time