Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Impact of Neglect

Bruce Perry

Neglect can be as impactful (if not more so) on the brain and body of the developing child as physical abuse. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has published a brief on this issue as well as a video illustrating that impact.

You can find the brief at this link: In Brief: The Science of Neglect and the video at this link: In Brief: The Science of Neglect, Video.

Research shows that caregiver absence and/or unresponsiveness during a child’s early years can lead to cognitive delays, disruption of the body’s stress response systems, and impairment in executive functioning. Such deprivation in the earliest most formative stages of the child’s development can also cause impairment in health, behavior, and learning.

Attachment to one’s primary caregiver during the first months is a critical foundation on which a human being’s brain architecture is formed and creates the ability to form healthy relationships throughout life. This attachment includes a sensitively attuned responsiveness by the caregiver. The Harvard team’s brief creates a chart describing differing levels of neglect and their effects, distinguishing between chronic under-stimulation and severe neglect.

I would suggest many people in the general population are unaware of the degree to which neglect can impact human behavior, cognition, and even physical health.

The Pope Defends Catholic Church Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

Pope Francis

It appears that Pope Francis is angry. He seems to be frustrated with the UN Committee’s investigation and inquiry into the Catholic Church’s history with regard to child sexual abuse and related coverups.

According to the Pope, “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has acted with transparency and responsibility” on this issue. “No one else has done more. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked.”

The recent UN report arising out of this inquiry by the Committee on the Rights of the Child implored the Pope to immediately root out and remove priests who are known or suspected child abusers. The Committee received no response.

The leader of an Italian group representing victims of clergy based sexual abuse indicated that there have been few real changes under Pope Francis with regard to the Church’s response to sexual abuse. In fact, he indicates that sexual abuse by priests continues in Italy.

After all I have read and heard about Pope Francis and his widespread reputation as a humanitarian and all I have learned about the Church’s record on child sexual abuse, I, for one, am deeply disappointed.