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Salesians in India take a Giant step for Child Protection

March 1, 2014

In a colourful function held at Don Bosco School, Alaknanda, New Delhi during the feast of Don Bosco, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Anil Couto, Archbishop of New Delhi, released the two policies. The first copies of these policies were received by Rev. Fr. Michael Peedikayil, Salesian Provincial of New Delhi and Rev. Fr. Noel Maddichetty, Secretary of Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA). These policies were introduced by Fr. Maria Charles, Delegate for Youth Ministry, South Asia, and Editor of these policies.

The making of the present Don Bosco Child Policy, along the lines of our own tradition, began more than a decade ago in order to bring it up to date in keeping with modern needs. The 25th Salesian General Chapter had given directives to lay down norms of behaviour to which all Salesians and their collaborators must conform in dealing with children. The present Policy is an important step forward in this process. It is in consonance with the International treaties, conventions on child rights, polices and laws of the Indian Government and the guidelines of the Church.

Reiterating the stand on the rights of the children and committing Salesians to their care and protection, Don Bosco Child Policy India sets six key priority areas for children in their care: Survival, health and nutrition; Education and Development; Protection; Participation; An Educative Environment of Preventive System; and Advocacy and Networking.

``This Don Bosco Child Policy India is a document we can give to our children, parents, staff and all those associated with our Salesian work in India to abide by our policy on children``, said Fr. Charles Maria introducing the two policies. Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor of the Salesians for South Asia, presenting this policy stated: ``This Policy has been approved by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia. Hence I present and promulgate this policy for all our Salesian institutions with effect from 31st January 2014, the feast of Don Bosco. It is to be taken seriously as an official policy by the Salesians, staff, workers and everyone else involved with the children in our Centres of Work, for study, reflection and implementation.``

Don Bosco Child Protection Policy India is a very specific document dealing with protection of children against all exploitation especially that of abuse. It deals mainly with child neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse of children.  Offering guidelines for Child Protection in the Salesian Provinces of India, this policy speaks of general norms for the Provinces, Provincial Superiors, Institutions, members of the Salesian Society, Staff members in Salesian institutions and associates/visitors in Salesian Institutions.

The policy offers procedures and guidelines for dealing with child abuse in the Salesian Provinces of India. These procedures are in harmony with the guidelines of the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church and the substantive norms promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2001 and in 2010. The policy integrates also the guidelines given by the Salesian Congregation in 2002 concerning the abuse of minors and the provisions of the latest legislation of the Indian Government.

Fr. Maria Arokiam, Our Regional Councillor writes in his foreword to the policy: ``This Child Protection Policy will help to eliminate vigilantly all risks of child exploitation and abuse in all our services. Don Bosco Child Protection Policy - India is a sign of our unwavering commitment to serving the young in our land.  While we are far from perfect, we still stand tall as pioneer educators in the society with passionate commitment to the protection and safety of children. Don Bosco`s entire system of `assistance` is a framework of constructive presence among the young, involving also rules and regulations, meant to protect and promote children in our institutions. This document is therefore in keeping with our century-long traditions in this field. ``

Both the Policies have been approved by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia and they come into effect from 31st January 2014 in all our Salesian Provinces.

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