ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection
by Dhira Govinda dasa
Reposted November 29, 2002


Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

There are three major functions of the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection.

1) Caring for victims of abuse in ISKCON. This involves funding and referrals for therapy, as well as vocational and educational opportunities. The Office of Child Protection is acting in this capacity, and, in conjunction with Children of Krishna, is assisting many young adults in this way. Please inform anyone who is eligible to receive such assistance about the services of this Office.

2) To resolve past and present cases of child abuse in ISKCON. This involves setting up investigative and adjudicative procedures to resolve allegations of child abuse. We held our first judges' training in North America from July 3-6 in North Carolina. The training was very successful, and we now have 10 devotees who have received professional training in the area of child abuse. These devotees are now prepared to hear and adjudicate cases. There will be three judges assigned to each case. We expect to have some cases ready to present to a team of judges, meaning that the investigative phase will be completed, within two to three weeks. To give some idea of the work to be done in this phase, this Office has thus far received about eighty cases that need to be investigated and adjudicated. For many of these cases we have little more than a name of a suspected perpetrator, and other cases are well-known amongst devotees, with many reports of abuse attributed to the suspect.

3) To set up systems for the protection of the children of Srila Prabhupada's movement. This involves establishing screening procedures for all volunteers and employees in our schools, temples and projects, setting up child protection teams throughout ISKCON, and educating children, parents, managers, and others about child protection.

Regarding screening, this Office is working in conjunction with Mother Laksmimoni Prabhu of the ISKCON education office. Within a few days we will be sending a letter to all schools that describes minimum standards for screening personnel, and also includes a basic screening form and personal interview questions. The Child Protection Office is available to assist ISKCON centers in screening and education related to child protection. Our Office has extensive materials on child abuse education, and we are working on dovetailing this material in Krsna consciousness, and disseminating it around ISKCON in a manner such that it will be practically and effectively utilized.

We do have a list of alleged abusers, and we are determining how to distribute it, with regards to legal concerns and protecting innocent parties. We are also working to formulate a concerted effort for adequate screening and child-protection education in our temples.

Monitoring and evaluation of all these programs is the real key to success. This office will be following up with temples and schools to ensure that screening procedures and educational programs are in place.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like further updates. Hare Krsna.

Your servant,

Dhira Govinda dasa

Director- ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection

ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection
P.O. Box 1438
Alachua, Florida 32616-1438

Tel: 904-418-0882
FAX: 904-418-0982

email: dgovinda@aol.com

CHAKRA 1-Aug-98