In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as youth began to speak up, it became increasingly clear that our society had problems with child abuse. At a meeting of North American ISKCON leaders in 1996 a group of youth graphically described the maltreatment they suffered when they were children under the care of ISKCON. This touched and moved the devotees present, and led to the establishment of a Task Force on Child Abuse in ISKCON created by the GBC in 1997. As a result of the recommendations of that Task Force, the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection was established. The vaisnava youth also established Children of Krishna, Inc. (CKI), which was an independent, grass-roots, grant-awarding organization sponsored by gurukula alumni, dedicated to helping our youth help themselves.
In March 1998 the ICOCP was incorporated as the Association for the Protection of Vaishnava Children (APVC, Inc). Dhira Govinda dasa began the office as Director, assisted by Ijya dasa as the secretary.
Beginning in June 2004, Tamohara das began serving as Director assisted by Krsna Kesava das acting as Secretary.
In 2005 the GBC adopted a Child Protection Policy and Procedure Guideline for implementation on how t o respond to allegations of child abuse.
In November 2009 the office was relocated to South Africa and Champakalata dasi was appointed as Director of the office. She is currently assisted by Krsangi Radhe dasi.
Up until 2009, the office had conducted 9 Review Panel training which resulted in 104 devotees volunteering their services as review panelists. Subsequently 5 more training sessions were held (UK, Sweden, Belgium, India and South Africa) The CPO has also held Child Protection Information Trainings in various countries such as the UK, Italy, India, Hungary, Germany, Canada, South America, and North America, Belgium, Sweden, Dubai, Australia and South African resulting in more than 500 devotees trained worldwide. The CPO also has sent out information packets to ISKCON centers and devotees worldwide, and has compiled reports on local Child Protection Teams.
The Child Protection Policy and Procedure Guidelines was revised and ratified by the GBC in June 2012 as the most current document which clearly and extensively details the policies and procedures to be followed within ISKCON. This document is ecclesiastical in nature.
|The CPO has investigated more than 350 reports of alleged child abuse to date —Of those reports, more than 80 cases warranted being brought to an official decision.|