Archbishop Robert Rivas speaks out on sexual abuse of children

Archbishop Robert Rivas has asserted that adequate systems must be put in place to deal with child sexual abuse in Saint Lucia.

Rivas noted that the Catholic Church has had its own challenges dealing with the matter of sexual abuse of children by the clergy.

However he noted that over a period of time the church has been working out systems to deal with the issue to ensure the protection of children and justice for victims.

Archbishop Robert Rivas said measures are being adopted to make penalties imposed on the perpetrators are commensurate with the gravity of the offence.

He disclosed that every member of the clergy in the archdiocese has to complete a whole day workshop on the matter of child sexual abuse, what their boundaries are in dealing with children and what their responsibilities are as Priests and deacons.

“We also extend it now to our schools and principals – to key people who work in the church,” the head of the Catholic Church here explained.

He noted that if the workshop is not completed, a Priest cannot leave here for work in another country such as the United States.

“I think this is one of the safety nets that we have put in place,” Rivas asserted.

Recently nurses complained that although it is mandatory to report cases of sexual abuse, the reports are falling on deaf ears.

Archbishop Robert Rivas commended the nurses for speaking out.

But he declared that even before the children are abused there must be measures in place to protect them.