Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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International Symposium to Address Child Abuse
By ISKCON News   |  Feb 05, 2024

Lilasuka Dasi, Director of the Child Protection Office – North America (CPO-NA), is recommending ISKCON management send representatives to the 2024 International Symposium on Child Abuse held in Huntsville, Alabama, March 18-21st. This year’s focus is on child abuse in religious organizations.

The annual International Symposium on Child Abuse is a premier conference providing expert training, resources, and networking opportunities on the matter of child protection. The in-person-only 40th International Symposium on Child Abuse will offer more than 100 workshops over the multi-day event. There is a stand alone Pre-Conference option on congregational considerations for preventing child sexual abuse on Monday March 18th.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to come together and receive professional, advanced directives from experts in the field,” said Lilasuka, “I’m encouraging devotees to share this information with their leaders, managers, and other interested devotees. 

“ISKCON management, centers, zones, and regions are encouraged to send a representative to learn and glean information for their community,” she continued, “Child Protection Volunteers will greatly benefit from this gathering of professionals and resources. The more knowledgeable we are collectively, the sooner we can effectively prevent and address abuse of Vaisnava youth. Informed leaders, managers, and members make all the difference in how and when ISKCON turns the page on child abuse.”

Some topics that will be covered during the full conference include:

– Creating a Prevention Oriented Community

– How Domestic Violence Perpetrators Manipulate Systems & Professionals

– Challenges in Sexual Abuse Prevention: The Need for Evidence-Based Programming – Childhood sexual abuse has been identified as an entirely preventable childhood trauma.

– A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Child Sexual Abuse in the Church

– When Traditions Hurt: Addressing Abuse in the Faith-Based Organizations

– Child Sexual Abuse: When Victims Don’t Act Like Victims – Common Myths and Misconceptions

– When the Child Abuser Carries a Bible

Child protection is the foundation to happier, healthier individuals, and a stronger, more prosperous society. Most notably, Srila Prabhupada said, “The protection of children gives the human form of life its best chance to prepare the way of liberty from material bondage” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.5, purport).

Interested devotees should register directly on the Symposium website. To coordinate devotee attendance, please email the Child Protection Office – North America to share who has registered from your yatra. If you would like to sponsor a devotee to attend, email Lilasuka Dasi.

For more information about ISKCON child protection in North America, visit their website. If you would like to be among those supporting and strengthening the NA CPO, please visit their donation page. If you are concerned that a child has been abused in the U.S. or Canada, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. Trained staff are available 24/7.