by Fr. Gottfried Ugolini
On October 18th, 2017, the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone (Italy) organized a permanent formation study day entitled: “It happens often and everywhere: for a culture of attentiveness and responsibility for the prevention of sexual violence”. There were about 80 participants of all the diocesan areas of responsibility and other interested people, who listened to two relations which encouraged them to commit themselves to become “safeguarders” of minors. The Bishop stressed that prevention has to be an absolute priority in order to protect the children and youth. The taboo of sexual abuse should be broken by speaking openly about it. The Bishop pointed out that the Church and the Society are responsible for guaranteeing that children and youth may grow up unscathed.
Dr. Santangelo addressed the theme from the perspective of violence against women, especially in the context of a family which includes children. Prof. Keupp presented the results of the different analyses of some religious institutes where sexual abuse and other forms of violence had happened, and provided some clues as to which the prevention tasks are effective. The study found resonance with the media and with the participants who are working to extend safeguarding in the Diocese and beyond. The Diocese has a prevention officer and an Ombudsman together with an advisory board. The board has been working on a re-elaboration of the prevention concept which will be presented in December.