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Safeguarding - Child protection policy

The Order of Augustinian Recollects develops its educational and pastoral work in America, Europe and Asia. Together with the Augustinian Recollect Family, it serves more than 100 educational centers where thousands of students are trained thanks to the work of teaching and non-teaching staff. Faced with this reality, and with the objective of offering education and pastoral care where the fundamental is the person, the Order of Augustinian Recollects wants to promote a Policy for the Protection of Minors, inspiring us in the defense and promotion of the rights of the child. The main purpose is to encourage the good treatment of minors to protect them from the risk of institutional abuse. We want to protect our children and adolescents from the risk of physical, psychological or sexual abuse within the institutions of the Order. We also seek to protect everyone around us from possible misunderstandings, suspicions or false accusations.

This Policy subscribes to the obligations and responsibilities of the organization, lists the measures that will be implemented to protect the Minor from all types of abuse. Defines the prevention and correction actions to be established. It presents the protocols to follow in case of suspicion or verification of abuse and contributes to the creation of a more protective environment at different levels. It also aims to protect the good name of all people linked to the Order and the Church, offering a guarantee to all who trust us.

The proposal of this Policy is posed in a positive sense: proactive versus reactive (scandals); cross versus unidirectional (management only); educational versus directive (personal growth of all); preventive (promoting values ​​and opportunities for improvement); from various complementary approaches (law, resilience, pedagogy, spirituality).

A religious institution like ours must prevent criminal behavior by its superiors and employees or collaborators. To this end, it must adopt and effectively implement organizational and management models that include suitable surveillance and control measures to prevent crimes of the same nature, in addition to supervising the operation and compliance with the prevention model implemented.

As the Constitutions of the Order remind us, “the Augustinian Recollect spirit shines forth in apostolic activities, following the example of Saint Augustine, pastor of the Church, who always attentive to the greatest good of the universal Church, loved all men with vehement charity, promoting with healthy diligence the good of all. " This is what we intend to promote with the implementation of this Policy.

As reference documents of the Child Protection Policy, the Order has developed a Protocol for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, some rules of conduct in relation to minors, a framework plan for the protection of minors that must be adapted to each situation and context location and a communication plan for crisis management.

In December 2018 the Prior General constituted the Commission for the Protection of Minors of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.

The Commission for the Protection of Minors of the Order of Augustinian Recollects is a body dependent on the Prior General, whose objectives are:

1. Address the cases of abuse of minors that occur, or have occurred, within the scope of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, either by religious, or by contracted or voluntary personnel.

2. Propose concrete measures to promote the prevention of abuse and the protection of minors, among others:

  • Caring for victims and affected people;

  • Accompany the accused;

  • Promote the initial and ongoing formation of religious; d) orient religious in government function;

  • Create safe spaces within the scope of the Order.

3. Advise the Prior General and the Priors Provincial in cases that may arise in the area of ​​the protection of minors.

4. Ensure immediate compliance with the protocols and regulations that, regarding the protection of minors, are determined in the Order of Augustinian Recollects.

The creation of this Commission implies a renewed commitment by the Order against all types of abuse of minors and the creation of safe environments in all the places where we are and in the apostolic works that we attend. With this Commission, the Order joins the Church's efforts to promote prevention, transparency, and determination in the treatment of sexual crimes against minors.

Since 2015 the Order of Augustinian Recollects has a Protocol for the Protection and Prevention of Children and Adolescents that is mandatory throughout the Order. This Protocol is complementary to the Code of Canon Law, to the Modifications to the Normae de gravioribus delictis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and to the norms of the respective Episcopal Conferences.

Along with this protocol, in recent years steps have been taken to create safe spaces in all communities and apostolic works of the Order. As a result of this effort, the following elements have emerged:

- Rules of action in relation to minors in order to avoid improper conduct (Rome, 2018), which is mandatory for all religious and staff hired and volunteers of the apostolic works of the Order. Everyone must be informed of its content, and their knowledge and delivery must be recorded.

- Communication manual for crisis management (Rome, 2018).

- Framework Plan for the Protection of Minors of the Order of Augustinian Recollects

(Rome, 2018), to adapt to the different apostolic works, according to the culture and laws of each country.

In addition, the Commission for the Protection of Minors offers the email box to make inquiries or report possible cases of abuse in the context of the Order.

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