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England and Wales: Bishops’ plenary in Valladolid on child abuse prevention. Testimonies from victims

(London) Training on the prevention of child abuse. This will be the focus of the next Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, which will be held at the Royal English College of Valladolid, in the Spanish autonomous community of Castile, from 3 to 10 May. “The Bishops’ Conference will depart the UK on Friday, 3 May”, a spokesperson explained. “The first meeting will be dedicated to the ordinary administration of various departments. Then courses on the protection of minors will be held under the guidance of Baroness Hollins, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the professional body representing psychiatrists in the UK”. This is not the first time that the leaders of the 22 Catholic dioceses in the UK focus on the prevention of sexual abuse. This time, in Valladolid, the victims will be given the spotlight. Some of them will tell their stories to the bishops with great discretion and anonymity. In a statement released on its ad-limina visit to Rome last September, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales acknowledged that child protection measures needed to be further revised as indicated by the independent inquiry into sexual abuse commissioned by the UK Home Office. The Bishops had already launched a prevention mechanism that has been in place since 2000. It relies on a representative in each parish and a coordinator in each diocese, in addition to a diocesan commission of experts, and to a national committee independent of ecclesial authorities.

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