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Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Steps that institutions can take to protect children

We have been seeing in the media, more and more stories about the abuse of children involved with various institutions.  A recent story tells how the Jehova's Witnesses covered up abuse. In Australia, there has been a Royal Commission looking into institutional abuse. It seems each  chapter of their work reveals more breadth and depth of abuse.

In the United Kingdom, there has been the Rotherham story where 1400 children have been exploited. Authorities failed to act.

The reality is that children typically do not disclose abuse and when they do, they are telling the truth the vast majority of the time - we need to listen. So what can institutions do to better manage - here are 5 thoughts:

The long term impacts of child abuse in institutions is well documented. One only need to look at the impact of the Residential Schools in Canada. One recent story shows how one community is still tackling the impact of the St. Michael's school in Alert Bay, B.C. 

Institutions owe a duty to those in their care.


  1. Thank you Peter Choate for talking about this important issue and bringing light to the dark side of detention centers and institutions. Unfortunately, institutions and organizations have had a bad rap for placing the "whole" over the individual. In my experience from what I have seen, and as a graduate student of Community and Organizations, I believe a large part of the problem stems from fear- no one wants to lose his or her job. It is more simple for some to put the abusive case onto another colleague, who is not trained in social work.International policy regarding abuse or trafficking is an interesting concept. I hope that as a global society, we are able to come together as one. I think it is happening. Time seems to heal all wounds.

    1. Thank you for this very thoughtful post. You really nail the need for moral leadership - perhaps a 6th step.