Break the Silence

Break the Silence

International Conference for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in the Church 


The Foundation “Have no fear”, Political Critique, and the Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation are pleased to invite you to Break the Silence: the International Conference for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in the Church . The event will take place in Warsaw on  November 17-18, 2017. It is a continuation of earlier meetings and discussions, but also the beginning of the first year-round campaign for defense of the victims of pedophilia in the Catholic Church in Poland and in the world, which will be held under the slogan “Stand on my side!”.

Practice of sexual abuse of children in the Church is nourished by impunity of perpetrators who are protected by conspiracy of silence of the clergy, lawyers, media and general public, including families of the victims. Children are often unable to bear the burden of harm, and the survivors are suffering from for years. That is why we need to break the silence and no longer let those who know to give permission for the tragedy of the victims in order to protect the Church.

We welcome to our Conference all those to whom the protection of children matters. We will host the Polish and foreign experts in psychology, sociology, law and the media, representatives of non-governmental organizations as well as those who are directly concerned: the survivors of pedophilia. We hope that this conference will become a platform for sharing ideas on prevention of pedophilia in the Church and for elaborating standards of legal protection of the victims and of psychological support for them. We also want to launch an information campaign aiming at convincing general public to stand up for victims, not for offenders.


Day 1 Friday – 17 November


11.00  Opening. Welcome speach

11:15 Speech of Adam Bodnar, the Ombudsman

11.30-13.00 Debate: The suffering of victims, the silence of society. How to support the survivors, their families and the whistleblowers? How to educate the society?

Host: Renata Kim (journalist)

Guests: Grażyna Lewko (psychotraumatologist), dr hab Maciej Gdula (sociologist), Agata Płachecka (politologist), Patrycja Kurowska-Kowalczyk (ppsychologist, sexuologist)

13.15-14.45 Debate: Does the law efficiently supports the survivors? Institutions, courts, the police

Host: Marcin Kącki (journalist)

Guests: Prof. Monika Płatek (lawyer), mec. Jarosław Głuchowski (lawyer), Marek Lisiński (survivor, president of the Foundation „Have No Fear”)

15.45 Speech of Adam Żak, catholic priest and the Church coordinator on kids’ protection

16.00 – 17.30 Debate: Are politicians afraid of standing on the side of survivors? How can we change it? How to solve the problem?

Host: Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska (journalist)

Guests: Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus (politician, Nowoczesna), Joanna Mucha (politician,  Platforma Obywatelska), Barbara Nowacka (politician, Inicjatywa Polska), Dorota Budacz (politician, Razem)

Day 2 – Saturday, 18 November

10.00 Welcome message: Marek Lisiński, Nina Sankari10.15   Alberto Athié (Meksyk): The legacy of Barbara Blaine to the Church and to the World

10:45   Pedro Salinas (Peru): The Peruvian Case

11.15   Juan Carlos Cruz (Chile): Survivors stand up in every corner of the world

11.45   Denis Buchanan (USA/Jamajka): The healing journey

12.15   Discussion

13.15   Lunch break

14.15    Kristine Ward (USA): Pope Francis Can End The Abuse Crisis at Anytime He Choses

14.45   Peter Saunders (Wielka Brytania): The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors15.15   Geoffrey Budden (Kanada): Canadian case. Litigation strategies.

15.45   Tim A. Law (USA): Clergy sexual abuse of children in Africa and Asia

16.15   Matthias Katsch (Niemcy): German institutions for prevention of child abuse

16.45   Discussion

17.15   End of conference



Foreign Speakers

Kristine Ward (USA)

Kristine Ward is the Chair and a founder of  the National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) based in Dayton, Ohio, United States. NSAC provides an Internet briefing service to inform and educate in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwilll regarding sexual abuse. NSAC in addition to supporting survivors advocates for legislative extensions in statututes of limitations. Ms. Ward has volunteered in this field for 15 years.

Talk:  Pope Francis Can End The Abuse Crisis at Anytime He Choses


Pedro Salinas (Peru)

 Pedro Salinas (Lima, Perú, 1963) is a journalist and writer. Author of various publications about peruvian politics and journalism. He is author of the book Half monks, half soldiers, an investigation who uncovered cases of sexual abuse to the interior of the catholic organization Sodalicio of Christian Life.

Talk: The Peruvian Case

Juan Carlos Cruz (Chile)

Juan Carlos came forward with his story of abuse by an emblematic priest in Chilean society, Fernando Karadima.  Cruz’s story broke in The New York Times forever changing the culture of cover-up and abuse in Chile and other countries by the Catholic hierarchy.  His book “El Fin de la Inocencia” published by Penguin Random-House became a bestseller in Latin America.  Now hundreds of victims have come forward putting the bishops in Latin America in the public scrutiny. Cruz received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the United States for his work with survivors of sexual abuse around the world. He is the first survivor who has received this honor.

Talk: Survivors stand up in every corner of the world


Matthias Katsch (Germany) 

Matthias Katsch as a child was victim of sexual abuse in a catholic school in 1977. In 2010 he started to speak out about what occurred to him and many other boys at the famous Canisius Kolleg in Berlin.  It was a beginning of a dramatic process of uncovering  of the sexual child abuse in Germany. Matthias is a co-founder of ECKIGER TISCH, association of victims of child abuse. He participated in the German round table for help and compensation for the victims of child abuse. He is member of the advisory board for the Independent Representative for the issues of child abuse (UBSKM), and member of the Board of Survivors (Betroffenenrat), installed 2015 by appointment through a panel of the German Bundestag.

Talk: The German institutional child abuse prevention and care


Alberto Athié (Mexico)

Alberto Athié is a former priest in Mexico who left the Catholic Church in 2000 to devote himself to disclosing and condemning the cases of clergy pedophilia. Since 2003 he has been a member of the Network for the Rights of Victims of Sexual Abuse in Mexico and of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Consultant on Ethics, Public Services and Human Rights at the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) in Mexico. He has won numerous awards, including the State Prize for Human Rights and the Prize for the Protection of the Rights of Girls and Boys from clergy abuse. Recognized by the magazine Quién (“Who”) as one of the 50 people who change Mexico.

Talk: The legacy of Barbara Blaine to the Church and to de World


Denise Buchanan (USA)

Denise Buchanan is the founder of Sacred Garden Designs, a company providing healing gardens and retreats throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Denise has a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and is currently completing a dual Ph.D. in Psychoneurology and Consciousness. Denise grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and was sexually molested and impregnated by a Catholic priest at 17yrs of age. Denise recounts her 30 year healing journey in her book “Sins of the Fathers.” Denise is also the author of “Pamela the Palm Tree” and the soon to be released book “Live your Inner Eden.” Denise is deeply committed to ending child abuse and helping people transform childhood trauma.

Talk: The healing journey


Tim Law (USA) Seattle

 Tim Law is a lawyer in the State of Washington, practicing for 40 years in the Seattle area. For 20 years he has worked with Catholic sisters in Uganda and the Philippines on children’s health and education issues. His focus now is increasing awareness in the physical and sexual abuse of children in Africa and Asia where addressing of these issues are actively suppressed by the church and government.

Talk: Christianity and Roman Catholicism is increasing the fastest on the African continent. Nearly 1/5 of Catholics live there and yet very little clergy sex abuse is being reported. Why?

 Other participants:

Peter Saunders (Wielka Brytania), Geoffrey Budden (Kanada), and Carlos Lombardi (Argentyna).


Polish Speakers


Adam Bodnar – The Ombudsman, lawyer and academic teacher, human rights activist, in 2010-2015 Vice-President of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Dorota Budacz – Politician (Together party), background: cultural studies

Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska –a member of the Conference program team, journalist, activist, member of The Political Critique team, cooperates with „Gazeta Wyborcza” daily

Maciej Gdula –habilitated doctor of sociology, works at Insitute of Sociology of Warsaw University, focuses on social theory and social classes, member of The Political Critique team

Jarosław Głuchowski –lawyer, cooperates with the “Don’t Be Afraid” foundation

Marcin Kącki – journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza” daily, author of press reportages, investigative journalist, author of several books including “Maestro. A story of Silence” ( by Czarne, 2013) about the molestation of choristers of Poznań Boys Choir by the conductor.

Renata Kim –press and radio journalist, a head of the “Society” section of the „Newsweek” (Poland) weekly

Patrycja Kurowska-Kowalczyk – Psychologist, a certified Clinical Sexologist of the Polish Sexology Society. Since her graduation she works with victims of sexual abuse. Since 2003 she works at The Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights, focusing on diagnostics of suspected sexual abuse in children and on intervention. She has over 15 years of experience in forensic-sexological opinions, participates in hearings of minors as an expert.

Grażyna Lewko – psychotraumatologist, psychotherapist, awarded for the Best Children’s Psychotraumatologist by the European Children’s Foundation

Marek Lisiński –a member of the Conference program team, President of the “Don’t Be Afraid” Foundation

Barbara Nowacka –politician (Polish Initiative)

Agata Płachecka – graduate of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun where on the International Relations faculty she defended her thesis: “Pedophilia in the Catholic Church during the pontificate of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis”. As a doctoral student in political science at the University of Casimir the Great in Bydgoszcz she focuses around the Polish Church in the face of social problems. She cooperates with the “Don’t Be Afraid” Foundation.

Monika Płatek – lawyer and academic teacher, feminist, Doctor of Science of legal sciences, professor of Warsaw University, founder and and long-term President of the Polish Association of Legal Education. She was an Ombudsman’s Plenipotentiary for the Rights of Victims of Crime (2002-2006) as well as a legal expert of parliamentary commissions, Open Society Insitute and the European Council.

Nina Sankari – member of the Conference program team, Vice-President of the Kazimierz Łyszczynski’s Foundation, acitivist, publicist, cooperates with the Atheist Review, Actually magazine, Clara Magazine, Magazine 50/50.

Marek Łukaszewic  – member of the Conference program team, President of the Kazimierz Łyszczynski’s Foundation

Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus -politician (Modern party)

Adam Żak –Catholic priest, the Church coordinator on children and adolescents’s protection


Krytyka Polityczna I Stowarzyszenie im. Stanisława Brzozowskiego