Twenty-four students from 18 countries graduated from Rome’s Jesuit university last week, and will return to their dioceses to strengthen or kick-start child protection policies.
The graduates studied in the Centre for Child Protection’s intensive programme at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
The ceremony, at the Gregorian University, included a panel discussion with five post-doctoral students and a poster exhibition of all 24 students’ final theses and research.
A Capuchin Sister of the Sacred Heart, Sr Agnieszka Jarkowska who works in Slovakia, did her final project on how communism created a favourable environment for abuse and secrecy, because the political systems thrived on and encouraged subordination, passivity and avoidance of responsibility.
Fr Bennette Tang Bacheyie of the Diocese of Wa, in Ghana, looked at the common, accepted practice of physical and emotional abuse in his country’s school system. He said caning and bullying are common, as well as other rituals.
Fr Bacheyie said he will return to Wa to help all 300 Catholic schools in the diocese create a safe school environment by training and educating teachers, caregivers and staff on more effective and humane ways to correct and motivate students.