Safe Environment

Contact Info & Staff

Protecting Gods Children

The Charter for Protection of Children and Young People(Charter)is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.  The Charter includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of further acts of abuse.  It directs action in all the following matters:

  • Creating a safe environment for children and young people;

  • Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;

  • Making prompt and effective responses to allegations

  • Cooperating with civil authorities;

  • Disciplining offenders; and

  • Providing for means of accountability to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with in the future through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.

A copy of the Charter can be found here.

THE OFFICES OF SAFE ENVIRONMENT & VICTIM ASSISTANCE

The Office of Victim Assistance and the Office of Safe Environment are two distinct but closely related offices.  These offices are accountable for integrating the approved standards of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (USCCB, 2002) with our Catholic values and teachings, canon laws, and policies.

The Office of Safe Environment is responsible for educating clergy, members of a religious order, diocesan and parish employees, and volunteers whose ministry places them in regular contact with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.  The required Safe Environment training teaches attendees how to prevent child sexual abuse, how to recognize predatory behaviors, review proper boundaries, and how to create safe environments for children, youth, and vulnerable adults in our parishes, schools, agencies, and the community at large.  Safe Environment training also emphasizes the need to create and maintain a culture of awareness, knowledge, and vigilance for those entrusted in our care. 

  • A comprehensive Child and Youth Protection Policy.  Click HERE to read more. 

  • A Diocesan Code of Conduct.  Click HERE to read more. 

  • Ongoing education and training on the prevention and detection of child sexual abuse

  • Criminal background checks

A diocesan Child and Youth Protection Policy and Code of Conduct which applies to all clergy; all members of religious orders; all parish and diocesan employees, including those who have no contact with children; and adult volunteers whose ministry puts them in regular contact with children, young people, and vulnerable adults. This includes: 

  • A Safe Environment Program requiring completion of a sexual abuse prevention training and passing of a criminal background checks of all clergy, all religious, all diocesan and parish employees, and any volunteers whose ministry places them in regular contact with children.  To date, over 43,000 adults completed the initial Safe Environment training.  

  • An Office of Victim Assistance to provide support and services to individuals who allege sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy or other members of the Diocese.  The Victim Assistance Coordinator begins the claim process and offers appropriate counseling and spiritual assistance as needed. 

  • A Memorandum of Understanding with the District Attorneys of the seven counties of the Diocese, which states that all allegations will be reported to the appropriate District Attorney before the Diocese begins its canonical (Church law) process. 

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