Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church Essay

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In over a period of years, an increasing amount of attention has been shed to the problem of child sexual abuse in the church. While churches, and other facilities which care for children, have had their experience of this problem, most attention has been brought to the abuse in the Catholic Church. Around the world, case after case has been seen in the press of clergy and members of religious orders being charged with sex offenses against children. Some of these cases go back decades. The issue has certainly brought attention around the world. The reason why, is the question that ponders in everyone mind. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that 4% of all priests who had served in the US from 1950 to 2002 had …show more content…
The issue of opportunity is a major factor in the sex offenses in Churches. In churches, opportunities for abuse are in activities such as taking children home after an activity or youth group, giving individual attention to a child, and being alone with children in summer camps. These opportunities allow priests to be alone with children without other adults being suspicious or concerned. Another factor in explaining the opportunity for abuse is the power and influence that clergy have. Since in the church, priests or ministers are influential in defining what is right and wrong, they may have the power to show abusive behavior as normal. Children are in a position that church workers can use their authority within the church to persuade a child to comply with sexual acts (Farrell & Taylor 2000). When authority is misused in this way it adds trauma to the abuse. The betrayal of trust involved is enormous, and for some victims it causes the difficulty to trust authority again.
As awareness towards the problem of child sexual abuse has increased, the opportunity for abuse has decreased and the consequences has increased. Prof. Des Cahill (2012b) states:
“So it is important to ask: why has there been a decline in clerical child sex abuse since the 1980s...? To me there are eight reasons for the decline: the social visibility given to the issue since about 1983; the better child protection mechanisms that we have in place; the greater vigilance of Catholic parents

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