Prevention training in the Kirchhellen Youth Monastery

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(Bottrop, Germany) Preventive training for sexual violence against boys, girls and people in need of protection and help was held again on February 27 in the Kirchhellen Youth Monastery. Five years ago, all employees and Redemptorists had taken part in a two-day basic training course, so that in addition to the annual training courses, everyone now had a six-hour in-depth training course. These advanced training courses on prevention are mandatory for all employees in accordance with the prevention regulations of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) and the German Conference of Religious (DOK).

The aim and mission of the prevention work at the Youth Monastery is that children and young people can feel safe in the diverse offers of our youth work. We want to create a culture of mindfulness and trust together with everyone involved. Because we want to convey to children and young people in particular: “I am significant. I am important”.

We worked on the topic of “power” and “powerlessness” in relationships in general and also in religious life. Questions of mindfulness, trust and responsibility are important rules. We asked ourselves about obedience, leadership, and (financial) dependency. The constant negotiation of all rules in living together may be tedious on the one hand, on the other hand it gives the experience of being involved in a creative and responsible manner.

Because we want to raise our voice against sexual, structural and spiritual violence in church and society. And above all, we want to look at the victims of sexualized violence.  They are in our focus.

We were concerned with further questions and topics from the life of the youth monastery: Group overnight stays in one room? Do girls and boys spend the night together in one room when they want to do so? How do we create an comprehension of sexuality, language and prevention in a multicultural community for everyone involved? It seemed important to us to perceive differences in cultures through: listening, getting to know each other, understanding social backgrounds, telling and hearing stories.

Also on the special day “The truth will make us free“ – “Be aware of Abuse – Work Up – Prevent” at the beginning of the  Provincial Chapter session of the Province St. Clement in November 2019 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, all employees and Redemptorists of the Youth Monastery were present. In view of the crimes of sexualized violence of children and adolescents by confreres from the province of St. Clement, which became known since around 2010, this conference took place. In addition to the members of the provincial chapter, the confreres of the province of St. Clement and all lay people involved in the communities and projects of the province were invited.

The special day of the provincial chapter as well as the further basic training in the Youth Monastery served to “perceive – work up – prevent” sexualised violence and thus be and remain a “safe place” as  the Youth Monastery.

Hildegard Kückelmann

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