News Release: Catholic Conference Welcomes New Laws to Protect Children
MCC has supported bipartisan abuse prevention measures since 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2023
MCC’s advocacy for this legislation since it was first introduced in 2018 stems from the Catholic Church’s commitment to prevent abuse, as more than 230,000 Michigan residents have been trained by the seven Catholic dioceses in the state since 2003 on how to protect children and vulnerable adults.
The policies addressed in House Bills 4120–4125 were first proposed three legislative sessions ago, in 2018. Since that time, MCC has worked with lawmakers to see preventative measures for the protection of children and adults brought to completion. Senate Bills 66–73 have also passed the legislature and will soon be presented to the governor.
“We applaud the leadership of Senator Chang, Representative Filler, Representative Rogers, Senator Hauck and all the sponsors of this bipartisan package to help prevent any abuse of children in the state,” said Tom Hickson, vice president for public policy and advocacy for MCC. “For several sessions, MCC has been proud to stand with the sponsors of these bills and other abuse prevention advocates to increase protections in the medical field, classroom, and in athletics.”
Provisions of the full sexual abuse prevention package found in House Bills 4120–4125 and SB 66–73 include:
- Requiring that for certain sensitive medical procedures on minor patients, a medical assistant must be present in the room, that the procedure is within the scope of practice for that physician, and prior consent from a parent or guardian has been obtained.
- Requiring the state to develop training for people who are deemed mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse.
- Requiring the state to investigate a medical professional who sexually abuses a patient under the pretense of a medical treatment.
- Prohibiting someone from using their professional position or a position of authority to prevent someone from reporting abuse.
- Prohibiting and criminalizing sexual penetration under the pretext of a medical procedure and creating penalties for this action.
- Requiring the state to develop and disseminate age-appropriate information on the prevention of sexual abuse and harassment to all public schools. The material would be for distribution to students in grades 6–12.
- Including sexual abuse under the false claim of medical treatment as a reason for permanent license revocation.
MCC’s advocacy for state laws to protect children from abuse in all settings follows more than twenty years of work by each of the seven Catholic dioceses in Michigan to implement strong and effective reforms to protect children and vulnerable adults. As a result of the national Catholic Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People — the “Dallas Charter” — enacted in 2002:
- Each Catholic diocese in Michigan maintains and supports a safe environment program.
- Dioceses require every employee and volunteer at a Catholic diocese, parish or school — both clergy and laity — to complete training on how to spot and report abuse.
- Every Catholic diocese in Michigan provides a Victim Assistance Coordinator to assist with healing and counseling.
- Dioceses have established Victim Review Boards comprised of professionals from relevant disciplines to respond to and act on any allegation of abuse.
- Catholic dioceses in Michigan immediately inform either local law enforcement and/or the state Attorney General’s office of any allegation of abuse that comes forward.
Through safe environment programs launched by the seven Catholic dioceses in Michigan, over 230,000 Michigan residents have been trained on how to recognize and immediately report any sign of abuse or activity that may be harmful to children or others.
“Along with the policies signed into law today, all institutions in Michigan — public and private — should be implementing and documenting safe environment policies, training, and reporting requirements to keep children and young people safe wherever they come in contact with adults,” Hickson concluded.
Note 1: Click or tap below on the name of the Catholic diocese in Michigan to read about established policies, ongoing programs, and continued efforts to maintain safe environments and to keep children and vulnerable adults safe:
- Archdiocese of Detroit
- Diocese of Gaylord
- Diocese of Grand Rapids
- Diocese of Kalamazoo
- Diocese of Lansing
- Diocese of Marquette
- Diocese of Saginaw
Note 2: Below is a map that demonstrates the geographical boundaries of the seven Catholic dioceses in the state of Michigan. While Michigan Catholic Conference advocates for public policies on behalf of the Church in Michigan, each diocese and its respective bishop is responsible for its own individual governance.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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