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Training Pastoral Listening Ministers in Life Safeguarding Practices and Child Protection at ITCJ

By Jean Messingué SJ, Child Protection Officer, ITCJ 

ITCJ (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire) - At the end of the academic year 2018-2019, 60 women and men, engaged in the ministry of Pastoral Listening (Counseling) enrolled in a certificate training in Art of Professional Listening (Counseling), Psycho-spiritual Crisis and Professional Listening and in the context of this training, a full day was dedicated to learning life safeguarding practices and child protection from all forms of abuse.

These women and men as ministers of Pastoral Listening, they have an ethical responsibility not only to offer a safe environment to people they listen to but also to advocate for the culture of safeguarding and child protection in their context of work and community.

Participants responded to a questionnaire during the day of training. Important points resulted from the analysis of the responses to the questionnaire: Firstly, many were not aware of the teaching of the Church on safeguarding and child protection. For example, they did not know what the Church recommends when they encounter a case of child sexual abuse. Secondly, many of the participants asked if the issues related to sexuality are integrated into the long training journey of priests and those in religious life. This training revealed that more and more people engaged in parishes and community service are interested in gaining more skills on this subject of safeguarding and child protection in order to educate the whole Christian community.