In order for child sexual abuse to occur the offender has to groom the community into thinking s/he is a good person. That will give them access to children. Then s/he must groom a family, so they too will give him/her access to a child. Then the offender must overcome any resistance from a child. This is done in a steady, planned process. It is not accidental. This is not about an accidental touch.
By attending a Protecting God’s Children training our communities and families are trained to identify a grooming process, to recognize the grooming behavior of someone looking for a child to abuse. Our policies do not stop with adults. Since the last hurdle an offender must overcome is to lower the resistance of the child, children too, must be taught how to speak out to protect themselves. They must be taught to recognize unsafe behaviors, to know it’s ok to tell an adult “No!”, and to know to whom to report unsafe behaviors. That is what our students’ training programs are designed to do. OPCY has learned of a booklet put together by the Chicago Children’s Advocacy center titled Keeping My Family Safe. Anyone interested can see the booklet by following this link. This is an excellent resource in addition to the parent guides from the programs used by parishes and schools. It does not replace the training offered to all our students; however, these guides can give parents an opportunity to discuss this subject with their children and just as helpful, how to discuss this sensitive issue without destroying the innocence of children.