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Protecting children

Protecting children

Expert advice: Dr Monica Applewhite on her last visit to Brisbane with Fr Fadi Salame (left), from Greenslopes Maronite community, and Nerang parish priest Fr Rafal Rucinski.

By Paul Dobbyn

DR MONICA Applewhite will return to Brisbane to run workshops for clergy and lay leaders to reinforce that “sexual abuse concerns not just some in the Church but everyone”.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, announcing Dr Applewhite’s return, said “she is a world expert in the field of sexual abuse and child protection in the Church”.

“Monica Applewhite was a great help to us in this when she first visited Brisbane, and we’ve invited her back this time to help us take a new step in the right direction,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“She also has a real gift for communicating – firmly but sensitively – with Church people; her presentations are invariably sobering and encouraging.”

Dr Applewhite will present to clergy on July 17, and clergy and lay leadership on July 18.

Both sessions will be held at Robertson Gardens, Kessels Road, Nathan.

The workshop title is “Preventing sexual abuse and preserving wholesome relationship development in faith-based organisations”.

Dr Applewhite visited in 2013 to run workshops for Brisbane archdiocese’s clergy and pastoral workers including parish-based staff and youth ministry workers.

She also presented workshops for Centacare and Catholic Education staff in Brisbane and Toowoomba.

The Texas-based researcher and practitioner in the field of abuse brought experience and scholarship to the workshops.

She had worked with sexual abuse in more than 20 different Christian and non-Christian faith communities as well as hundreds of secular organisations.

She had also analysed more than 1800 cases of abuse in educational, secular and religious establishments and interviewed more than 350 sexual offenders.

Archbishop Coleridge said “although the Catholic Church has done a great deal to come to terms with sexual abuse in a way that helps heal the wounds of the past and ensures that nothing similar happens in the future, there is absolutely no room for complacency”.

“Much has been done but there is still a huge amount to do – not just in revising protocols and procedures and putting new ones in place, but also in changing the culture and the attitudes that culture produces, which is much harder,” he said.

“Monica has helped us and many others move beyond ignorance and the denial it brings – and also beyond the defensiveness which fails to understand and deal effectively with abuse.

“One thing Monica makes clear is that sexual abuse concerns not just some in the Church but everyone.

“Just as it effects everyone, so too everyone has to be part of dealing effectively with abuse, and leading survivors, their families and the whole Church into a better future.

“That’s why Monica will be talking to as many people as possible in her time with us in Brisbane.

“We look forward to welcoming her back as a real companion on the journey.”

Numbers at workshops will be limited so early booking is advised.

Clergy, parish pastoral councils, parish finance councils, ministry co-ordinators and other ministry leaders of parishes can confirm their attendance at the July 17 and 18 workshops by contacting Marianne Deutscher at deutscherm@bne.catholic.net.au or (07) 3324 3365.

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