Diocese of Charleston's updated sex abuse policy goes into effect

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Since April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Diocese of Charleston held a special mass Sunday to bring awareness to the issue and support affected families.

The mass was offered as a way to help the healing process for child sex abuse victims and their families at St. John the Baptist R.C. Cathedral in downtown Charleston.
On top of help those affected in some fashion by child sex abuse, the mass also ushered in the Diocese's new policy to counter sex abuse. The policy was updated in December of 2011 with three major changes from it's last update in 2003.

"The bottom line is that this is a massive society problem," said Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. "While the church has been part of the problem in the past we certainly intended to be very much a part of the solution in the present and the future. We encourage everybody to look at this as a massive society problem that has to be eradicated."

The policy's three major revisions all deal with the growing use of social media and how the Church will regulate it's use between employees and youth.

The first change adds new restrictions to communicating with youth through social media like Twitter and Facebook.

The second is closing any ambiguity regarding background screening and safe environment training for employees and volunteers. In the four months since the policy was updated, Bishop Guglielmone has said all staff has taken the necessary training courses.

And lastly, the policy change gives more independence to the advisory board that assesses allegations of child sex abuse if they were to arise in the future.

Bishop Guglielmone told those at the special mass, "keeping our children and young people safe is a top priority for me and the Diocese of Charleston."

To read more about the policy and it's changes, visit the Catholic Diocese of Charleston's website.

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