Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) inaugurated St. Joseph Safeguarding Centre at Archbishop’s House Extension Office on September 8, 2021 in the presence of the members of the Archdiocesan Curia and the Board the Centre which includes a senior retired police officer, a noted advocate and women’s rights activist, a pediatrician, a counsellor and experts in Church law. September 8th is celebrated as the birthday of Mary, Mother of Jesus and is the day of the Girl Child in India.
The starting of the Centre is one more step forward in creating a safe environment for all especially minors and vulnerable adults in all Church run institutions. It is hoped this will help in creating a culture of safety in society in general. The focus of the Centre is to be of assistance to all Catholic dioceses in the country on how to handle such cases giving priority always to the protection of the survivor.
Planned among the programs of the Centre are formation courses/Webinars for personnel who will have to deal with such cases. Pope Francis has repeatedly called on the global Church to take concrete steps for promoting a culture of safety. The aim and object of this project is to bring greater awareness and prevent crimes of sexual and physical abuse of minors and vulnerable adults and listening and providing psycho spiritual help to survivors and their families.
Fr. Nigel Barrett
Archdiocese of Bombay
September 9, 2021