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January 26, 2005

Bill Would Require Religious Leaders Report Child Abuse

January 26, 2005 [Associated Press]

Religious leaders would have to report suspected child abuse under a bill that was reintroduced Wednesday.

The legislation passed the Senate last year but died in a House committee after fundamentalist religious groups argued that it established a church and state relationship.

"We had some evangelical ministers who felt they had a separation of church and state issue, and some that had told me that they preach from the pulpit that parents should reprimand and punish their children and they didn't want to come back the following week and report them for child abuse," said Sen. Robert Spada, a northern Ohio Republican who proposed the bill.

The bill, which is essentially unchanged from last year, would not apply to the "sacred trust" of a confession or to something said confidentially to a minister.

Other religious groups, including Roman Catholics and Methodists, supported the bill last year. Doctors, teachers and other professionals are required to report abuse.

Posted by Nancy at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

New centres to help abuse victims

January 26, 2005 [East Anglican Daily Times]
By Dave Gooderham

VULNERABLE victims of child abuse and domestic violence are set to receive vital support and information from a new specialist care centre.

Offering help to victims and witnesses of crime, the Victim Care Centre in Bury St Edmunds was launched yesterday and will be swiftly followed by similar units in Lowestoft and Ipswich costing almost £2 million.

Police said the centres would further improve the service offered to victims with specialist officers and staff on hand to help those who have suffered domestic violence or sex attacks.

Pc Rebecca Stocking, victim care officer, said: “Domestic violence blights so many lives and I hope that my work helps some victims recover from its effects and take positive steps forward.

“Every case is different - and you never get used to dealing with the effects of domestic violence and seeing how it saps victims' self-esteem.

“Our aim is to put victims in a position where they can make positive life choices for themselves and the greatest satisfaction comes from seeing these people get their lives back on track.”

The centre features three fully-equipped video interview rooms, a medical examination suite and a conference room.

Detective Constable Chris Murton, child protection team officer, who will investigate and support victims of child abuse, said: “In this job, we deal with extremely sensitive cases and you need to be both diplomatic and open-minded at all times.

“The crucial thing is establishing a rapport with the child. This may not be easy as they can be downtrodden and suppressed because of their experiences - and extremely wary of adults.

“It is a challenging job, but extremely rewarding to be part of a team which helps these children escape from those who abuse them.”

The centre, part funded by a £500,000 Home Office grant, will run in conjunction with Suffolk Victim Support.

Area manager John Doylend said: “It's an extremely positive step forward and can only help provide a better service to victims and witnesses.

“Our work complements that of the police and I am very pleased that Suffolk Constabulary is placing a greater emphasis on care and support for those affected by crime.”

Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull, of Suffolk police, said they were committed to taking a lead in providing a quality service to all victims of crime.

“The new centres will provide 24-hour specialist support and care for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our new centres will provide immediate specialist help and support to those who need it, helping them recover from their ordeal, while at the same time assisting police in tracing those responsible for their suffering.”

Posted by Nancy at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

Documentary: "After School"

Documentary film: A study of the growing and disturbing trend of teachers having sex with their students.

Months after the tragedy, Owen Lafave, her husband of less than one year, wants answers. He has teamed up with a documentary crew to narrate and explore the truth and reasons behind the rise in cases of child molestation by teachers in our schools.

“After School” is a disturbing look at a plague affecting our families and, more importantly, our children.

For more information visit: After School

Posted by Nancy at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)