SNAP’s Reflection Points: 21 Things People Can Do to Prevent Abuse and Support Survivors

Here we have provided 21 suggested steps that you can take to help prevent abuse, protect children, and support survivors. If you have any ideas for other steps, please contact us.

 

  1. If you see something, say something! Report any suspected child sexual abuse to local law enforcement who are trained to investigate these cases. Here's a list of reporting hotlines you can use for every state in the US.

  2. Educate yourself about child sexual abuse. Learn more about warning signs for sexual abuse here and be prepared to make a report if anything seems wrong.

  3. Encourage open dialogue and don’t be afraid to talk about abuse. Ask all your children – including your adult children – if anything ever happened to them. 

  4. Talk to your children about sex abuse. Make sure children understand that you are always there to help and that if anything happens to them you will believe them and that it is not their fault. This resource can help.

  5. Encourage your friends and neighbors to learn about child sexual abuse. Educated communities are better able to prevent cases of abuse and intervene in ongoing cases.

  6. Be open to hearing about someone’s trauma. If someone tells you they were abused tell them “I am so sorry; I believe you; this isn’t your fault, how can I help you?”

  7. Invite survivors to share their stories at your church. The more that people are aware of sexual abuse, the more likely they are to get involved in prevention.

  8. Write letters to the editors about articles you see about abuse. Every article is an opportunity to educate others about prevention and protection.

  9. When you read an article about someone who was abused make a positive comment in the comment section. Victims read the comments and you can make them feel they made the right choice by speaking out.

  10. Donate to an organization that works to protect children. Non-profits rely on your donations to provide programs that support survivors and help prevent abuse. Support SNAP here.

  11. Work to abolish laws that protect predators, not children. Statutes of Limitations on child sexual abuse, both criminally and civilly, create barriers to prosecuting abusers and finding justice for survivors. Help abolish SOL backwards and forwards today.

  12. Support laws that support survivors. Mandatory reporting laws for clergy and “look back” windows are just two examples of laws that protect children and support survivors.

  13. Ask your Bishop/Cardinal to release all the files on child sexual cases to local law enforcement and publish lists online. Every step the church takes towards transparency is a right step.

  14. Write to your Attorney General asking for an investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic church. So far, 17 states have started this process: let’s get all 50 involved! You can use this letter template to make your outreach easier.

  15. If you are a survivor, report your abuse to the attorney general. This can help encourage AGs to open investigations or create programs to help prevent abuse. Find a listing of active investigations and hotlines here.

  16. Stay informed on what’s happening! Read articles on the AbuseTracker to keep informed of what is happening and how you can get involved to help.

  17. Volunteer your time to support survivors. Volunteering at a local Rape Crisis center or with an organization that works to with survivors can be valuable for you and helpful for survivors who need support.

  18. Attend a press event that SNAP hosts in your area. Just showing up and standing in solidarity with survivors helps them know they are supported and sends the message that everyone wants to stop abuse, not just survivors.

  19. If you are a survivor reach out for support. Silence is toxic, so join us and speak out. Support groups like these can help you heal!

  20. Read a book about the abuse crisis or watch a movie about the crisis. Books and films can help personalize the problem and let you gain a better understanding of the scope. Find suggestions here.

  21. Most importantly protect the children in your life by being educated and remaining vigilant. If each of us looks out for the children in our communities, we can play an active role in preventing sexual abuse.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Daniel
    commented 2019-08-20 20:05:11 -0500
    For many of us it’s too late. We can however take steps to protect our children and grandchildren. Do NOT rely on the Church to protect children as their vested interest is protecting the institutional interests of the Church. The Church talks out of both sides of their mouths and to them “they accept the abuse of children as the cost of doing business the American way”. It’s all about the $$$ to them!
  • Michael-Vincent Crea
    commented 2019-06-03 15:47:33 -0500
    UPDATE 3 June 2015: Celebrating today his “Birth into Humanity,” Pastor Michael-Vincent Crea and service ‘dawg-deacon’ Teranga are trying to return to housing with a TRO to be filed June 4, yet, still facing the street. A gift would be if even one of the survivors’ groups or individuals would respond logistically and lovingly. Today, also, celebrates the “Birth into Eternity” of Pope John 23 & the heroic St Charles Lwanga and his 22 Ugandan companions, refusing to submit to the King’s sexual advances and demands, instead killing these martyrs, that is, "bearing witness to the Truth.
    The release below followed the Vatican’s Office and Moderator for “Support of Survivors” to receive and respond to Pastor Crea’s 30-years of documents and “Leave Ur Gift at the Altar.”

    One World Life Systems MORE INFO: 212-360-7458 14 May 2019
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE Permission to call w/ID & # & to distribute widely “Why not Suicide?” Sexually Violated Seminarian Asks as Criminal Cardinals Retire Royally

    L E A D:
    Long suffering pro bono Pastor with Service ‘Dawg’ deacon, facing streets of Ithaca, NY, is challenging Pope Francis’ “No Room at the Inn” and First Responder Scicluna’s response time as ‘too little, too late’. Holy See’s ‘hired hands’ ‘in-house’ handling of horrors, still denying depth and darkness of criminal ecclesiastics, are not rendering our right reason to legal civil authorities, by giving not Light nor Good Shepherd care but ‘death sentences’ to sexually violated. [on 17 May, Pastor Crea & Teranga were put on the street]

    Ithaca, NY. May 14. Breaking the silence for over 30-years and in broad daylight after Boston broke, Pastor Michael-Vincent Crea and Teranga, his deacon ‘dawg’ and diplomat of “Respect and Hospitality,”as her name means, shall be “awaking the Dawn,” as usual, tomorrow.

    However, by sunset after the Sheriff changes the locks, both shall face ‘darkness of noon’ on streets of Ithaca, as criminal cardinals are housed, on the ‘lam,’ on taxpayers’ tab. Cost of his discipleship against the darkness of sexual violators shall again leave him without housing. Seeing solidarity of Spirit across the spectrum, staves off an Ithaca sunset suicide.

    Violated twice in Catholic seminaries; fired for speaking out against a Washington, DC priest having relations with a Brooklyn teen; mocked by the Cardinal’s monsignor secretary, now, Archbishop of Baltimore; saved from being a statistic of the Bishop of Newark, now, defrocked of title, yet, still retiring ‘rich and infamous’; both his DC successors informed of all aforementioned atrocities, yet, instead of giving 100% a clear, conscientious, commitment being Good Shepherds, they, along with worldwide “worthless wretches,” are stilling living large, fleecing the flocks, while suffering, slaughtering and silencing the lambs.

    Twice writing to both JP2 and Benedict without response, Crea would like to meet, greet, retreat and defeat with Pope Francis clerical abuse of authority and criminal ecclesiastics against anyone, at any age, anywhere in our “One World.”

    Returning from Rome found him disillusioned of Pope Francis’ Office for the Protection of Minors and the Vulnerable.

    With documents, his personal story and his pastoral pooch at his side, Pastor Crea found “No Room at the Inn,” fronting not fulfilling recent Rome press releases for 1.1 Billion Catholics: warmer than upstate NY but darker than Dante’s Hell!

    Having completed a pastoral internship to the sick and dying at Washington Hospital Center, Crea contends: “The Pope’s piecemeal ‘compromises’ need a directed diet of reality from Kubler-Ross’ final step of ‘acceptance’ not short term ‘final solutions’ for slow, torturous lifestyle labyrinths, but in accepting tough “Love never fails,” as Truth be told, sets all free!

    “Why are taxpayers paying the Pope’s ‘child support’ for ‘dead beat’ Bishops, as criminal Cardinals retire royally with full benefits, beyond any beliefs affirming of “sharing all things in common” and “carrying one another’s burdens,” demands the Cornell Agriculture and Life Sciences alum and The Catholic University of America Master of Divinity.

    Crea, personally and pastorally, prefers ‘Servant of Humanity’, as expressed in his Human Rights ministry’s motto, “Serving One Love and Developing One World for the Common Good of Humanity.” He chose not to be ordained.

    He founded One World Life Systems on the Winter Solstice in 1990, three-weeks after his father’s ‘Birth into Eternity’.

    Seeing videos from his former Peace Corps Senegal villages, he called his son to be “Pastor of the People’s Projects.”

    “I started on the darkest day of the year, yet, it has only gotten brighter ever since,” reflects the pro bono Human Rights advocate of “ecumenical, ecological, egalitarian and ethical” self-determined projects for basic necessities of life.

    Pastor Crea would encourage and welcome all taxpayers, especially Catholics and former Catholics, calling Illinois based “Moderator for Survivors” Teresa Morris Kettelkamp asking, “Why hasn’t she responded to Pastor Crea’s dire situation, as a member of the Pope’s Advisory Panel for the Office of Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons, including seminarians?” Ms Kettelkamp can be readily reached at (217) 725-3535. Even Teranga responds with “Respect & Hospitality,” ask her to do the same immediately.#####
  • Marti Williams
    commented 2019-03-05 21:40:13 -0600
    Thank you for this important information.
  • Carol Midboe
    commented 2019-03-05 14:29:10 -0600
    For survivors in rural and hard to reach areas Austin SNAP hosts a monthly video conference call on the second Monday of the month from 7PM to 8:30PM CST. Survivors and advocates can join the video conference or dial in by phone. Contact Carol Midboe at snapaustin@yahoo.com for more information.
  • Marti Williams
    commented 2019-02-25 08:46:12 -0600
    Thanks for the Survivors’ 21 points. They are an excellent starting point. Best for people living in larger communities, however. Should one be an abuse victim living on an isolated farm in say, for example, Kansas, it may all seem a bit overwhelming. Courage requires fertile soil in which to grow. It will be interesting to see what other Survivor groups—also international- contribute to our growth.

    And rather than leaving our Church, I believe that those of us who still retain our Faith should remain, changing it rather than leaving. Personally, it will most likely be a long time before I can even look at a cleric without feeling a severe case of nausea, but that doesn’t make me less a Catholic. Quite the contrary.
  • Michael Glavin
    commented 2019-02-24 19:33:29 -0600
    As someone who was pursued by priests during my childhood, I have to say I think this plan sucks. If you want to prevent sexual abuse by priests, you need to force them to change their culture. A 21 point plan is ridiculously too long. Three steps:

    1. Force a change in culture by eliminating the vow of chasitity, and encouraging priests to have normal sexual relationships. 2. Force a change in culture by reforming the misogynistic culture of the church: all positions open to all genders. 3. Force a change of culture by providing equal acees to the faith for all people, not just straight people and those willing to pretend to be straight.

    Short of that, I say to hell with the Catholic Church. I wish Catholics would leave the church en masse, cut off their money, and collapse the whole organziation. What’s left can join its rightful spot alongside the FLDS. Then normal Catholics could reorganize around values more inline with the teachings of Christ.

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