for the Protection of Minors (PCPM)
- Pope Francis established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) on 22 March 2014. He defined its mandate and appointed the first eight Founding Members, representing experts from the fields of safeguarding.
- The PCPM mandate is twofold:1)to advise the Roman Pontiff on effective policies for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults; 2) to offer support to local churches in the development of their protection polices through advice, formation, education, research and project development in the area of safeguarding.
- Pope Francis approved the PCPM’s Statutes in April 2015.
- In February 2018, Pope Francis confirmed the mandate and nominated sixteen professionals.
The PCPM has identified two priorities: 1) Working with victims/survivors; 2) Developing mechanisms to monitor and assess compliance with safeguarding norms.
- National Day of Prayer for victims/survivors of abuse approved by the Pope in 2016;
- Protocols for outreach to victims/survivors and for receiving information from those who contact the PCPM;
- Researched global safeguarding guidelines and best practices and created a template for safeguarding policies to help church leaders at the local level in the development of their own policies;
- Conducted safeguarding guidelines workshops through interdisciplinary teams drawn from among expert Members with regional and national bishops conferences on six continents.
- Conducted two pilot projects in safeguarding outreach and data collection in Colombia and Zambia.
- Held an International Symposium on Safeguarding in Schools and Communities in 2017 with a focus on Latin America.
- Participated in over 240 educational events on six continents.
Ongoing Priority Projects
Survivor Advisory Panels (local SAPS)—from April 2017
The local Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP), based on that established by the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales. Local SAPs are safe spaces where victims/survivors can actively collaborate with their local Church and the PCPM to improve safeguarding outreach and methodologies from the perspective of someone who has experienced abuse. The program was piloted in Brazil, the Philippines and Zambia with the support of the local episcopal conferences.
Guidelines Implementation and Audit Project—from September 2018
The PCPM, through its Safeguarding Guidelines and Norms Working Group, is developing a program to assist episcopal conferences to create and implement guidelines and programs. The PCPM plans to release a developed program by the end of 2019.
The PCPM is currently conducting research in view of making recommendations regarding the Church’s response to the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. Subjects being researched include:
- focusing the Church’s response on the rights of the victims/survivors of this abuse, through appropriate transparency and confidentiality;
- compliance to reporting laws with civil authorities and the implications for the seal of confession;
The PCPM is organizing a major seminar for the end of 2019 in which it intends to further explore many of these questions.