Across U.S. Catholic archdioceses, child protection policies vary widely

Penn Today

October 2, 2020

A report from CHILD USA, led by Professor of Practice Marci Hamilton, found that such policies lack uniformity, aren’t comprehensive, and often don’t take a victim-centered approach.

Although the 32 Catholic archdioceses in the United States have some sort of policy to protect children from clergy sex abuse, the content and quality of these policies varies, with little to no standardization across the board, according to a new report from the nonprofit think tank CHILD USA, founded and led by Penn’s Marci Hamilton.

“We live in a time where everyone is asking, How do we prevent child sex abuse in every institution, whether that’s the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church or at boarding schools,” says Hamilton, a national expert on child sex abuse and the Fels Institute of Government Professor of Practice. “In the past decade, some of the bishops have claimed to have the ‘gold standard’ for child protection and thus should no longer be subject to scrutiny or criticism for their past problems with child sexual abuse. We decided to examine the evidence.”

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