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Right Relationships Workshop held for Contact Persons in Highlands

Mount Hagen: The Right Relationship in Ministry (RRM) Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) conducted a week-long workshop on contact persons for the Highlands region.

Held from 11th to 15th January 2021 at Rebiamul, in the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen, the program had 9 participants from the five catholic dioceses in the region.

The purpose of the workshop was to update and increase the number of adequately trained contact persons in each diocese so that there are enough contact persons on the ground should any case of sexual abuse by any clerics, religious or church workers occur.

The Objective of the workshop was to:

- familiarise with the Protocols of the RRM

- understand well their role and responsibilities as contact persons

- prepare, conduct and interview, and make a first-hand comprehensive report

- create awareness to build a safe environment and church for our children and vulnerable people

- Understand the cultural mind-sets and behaviours of region, its implications and impacts

- Be aware of an overall view of the state law

The sessions were based on the Right Relationship protocols, processes and best practices. The interactions and role play of possible complaints and interviews as well as the child protection policy of the church. The Care, Well-being and Protection of children were also highlighted in the sessions.

In his opening address Archbishop Douglas Young, SVD, D.D. said, “the importance of Protocols, the protection of children and vulnerable, and the church. The Church is the body of Christ and as members we are also sinners. We therefore have to be a church of forgiveness. We must be compassionate, responsible and accountable. Empathy for everyone, the victims and alleged. To get the whole story, once only, with all details from the victim-survivor. The contact persons are seen as agents of purification, of healing and reconciliation, which consists in justice, forgiveness, peace and truth for both parties”.

One of the participants stated that “the protection of life is very important and the safety of everyone is to be considered in every case”.

Another participant commented that “the training was very informative and clarified the importance of their role and responsibility as contact persons”.

“I have to look into myself, change my behaviour and attitudes” said a third participant.

At the end of the training, Archbishop Douglas Young, SVD blessed the participants and gave them certificates. The facilitators were Ms Esther Igo and Sr Ancy John SCSA.

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