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Go to the Child Abuse Page
Just when I was going to give up hope (temporarily of course) the resources were made available.
a grant recipient
Our Work Continues
An Update by Dhira Govinda dasa
Here is an update on the activities of the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection (ICOCP):
The Office continues to receive many applications for grants from gurukula veterans who suffered mistreatment while they were children under the care of ISKCON, and during the past year the ICOCP has funded more than $70,000 in grants. These grants have assisted devotees with educational and vocational opportunities, as well as with therapy.
One grant recipient wrote, "Just when I was going to give up hope (temporarily of course) the resources were made available."
Another writes "Thank you very much. I've spent so much time being negative towards people in ISKCON that it's somewhat difficult to change. It's hard to know what to say. Thank you. Please pass my thanks on to the committee as well. Both for myself and for the people that you've been helping out recently."
Yasoda dasi describes a mother's response to grants given to her two sons: "...Both of her sons received restitution grants from the ICOCP. ...She said that her son...has never sounded so good. He is upbeat, optimistic...He turned away from 5 pot smoking buddies because he did not want to jeopardize all that he has been able to achieve...I asked her how much of an impact she felt her son's meeting with Dhira Govinda and I had coupled with the funding for the truck. She said it was a turning point for him. He felt heard, his feelings were validated, the toll that the abuse that he endured was recognized and understood, and we proved we meant what we said by giving him the money...We have made a difference in his life...given him faith in himself... His mother feels grateful for what was done and feels encouraged by the steps that we are taking to address the abuse that affected so many."
If you or someone you know would like to apply for a grant from ICOCP, please contact Ijya dasa or Dhira Govinda dasa (see contact information below).
A major function of the ICOCP is to help ISKCON temples and schools deal with cases of known and suspected child abuse. Scores of devotees from around the world have contacted our Office during the past year, seeking advice on issues connected with protecting the children of Srila Prabhupada's movement. When ICOCP receives a formal allegation of child abuse, the Office immediately advises the local devotee community about necessary precautions for the protection of children, such as removing the alleged abuser from the association of children. Then, the case is fully investigated and given to a panel of trained devotee child protection arbiters who determine whether there is validity to the allegations. If it is decided that the accusations are true, the panel then determines a sentence/rectification plan for the perpetrator. This plan determines the parameters of the relationship that the perpetrator is permitted to have with the ISKCON society.
Thus far about 20 cases have been given to panels of arbiters and many have been resolved. For example, ICOCP has determined that Muralivadaka dasa, who admitted to fondling and attempting to fondle four pre-adolescent boys while serving as teacher or headmaster in the school that these boys attended, should be completely banned from all connection with ISKCON for five years, and should not ever hold a leadership position in ISKCON, including giving class or leading kirtana. Also, the Official Decision of his case specifies therapeutic goals for the perpetrator, as well as recommendations for restitution to the victims.
In another case, an ICOCP adjudicatory panel determined that Srutadeva dasa, who molested a 12 year old girl, should not ever reside or stay overnight on an ISKCON property.
Another important function of the ICOCP is to help ISKCON schools and temples establish child protection systems, including screening programs for staff and volunteers, and child protection awareness programs for children, teachers, and managers. In addition, the ICOCP works collaboratively with local ISKCON Child Protection Teams in all aspects of the child protection effort. Recently, Dhira Govinda dasa, Director of the ICOCP, spent several weeks in Mayapur, working with the schools and temple on child protection standards. Also, Vedasara dasa is now serving as a representative of the ICOCP in Mayapur. In a few months the ICOCP is planning to conduct a judges' training in Europe.
Here is the contact information for the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection:
ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection
P.O. Box 1438
Alachua, Florida 32616-1438
Director: Dhira Govinda dasa
Secretary: Ijya dasa
© CHAKRA 20-Mar-99
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