Child Protection Sunday is a reminder to us all that the rights of children are everybody’s concern.
Children have a right to grow and develop into their full potential.
They have a right to be loved, to be nurtured to be valued and cherished by family and other significant people in their lives.
A child has a right to education, health care, and a safe environment.
The Royal Commission into institutional Sexual abuse has revealed the extent to which children were betrayed and hurt in so many serious ways. People who should have protected children betrayed them.
This was true of many institutions including sadly by people within the Church.
The extent to which this has happened has surprised and astonished us.
Steps must be taken to ensure that this never happens again.
Certainly, in the last few years, many steps have been taken to protect children from abuse.
Training and vigilance and a policy of zero tolerance are now in place. We cannot grow complacent; we need to keep improving and doing our utmost best for the safety of children. We have learnt a lot and we need to keep learning.
Jesus was very strong about the safety of children being non-negotiable.
We need to make amends and we need to be the safest place for children.
It is now true to say that our Church institutions have gone a long way to being among the safest places for children.
They can be no less!!
We need to be vigilant to ensure that children are safe everywhere.
This includes all institutions and even in the homes.
It is a Christian duty as well as a legal requirement, to report wrongdoing to children to the proper authorities.
We also need to be there for those who were abused as children years ago and are now adults. They have the right to be believed, to be cared for and for proper amends.
As we celebrate Child Protection Sunday, we are in fact celebrating love.