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Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has been done but more needs
to be done. Until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society, the Church
will continue its efforts to stop it.
All audited dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior. These codes serve to let people know what behaviors are and are not accepted as well as what behavior can be expected.
All dioceses/eparchies have Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard. In 2012 dioceses/eparchies provided outreach to 2,170 victim/survivors.
Regardless of when the abuse occurred, a cleric against whom there is an established or admitted act of child sexual abuse is permanently removed from the priesthood. There is no statute of limitations for removing a cleric who has sexual abused a minor from public ministry in the Catholic Church. This year 172 priests were removed for past abuse first reported this year. Find more information in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological testing for those wishing to enter the seminary. Audit figures for 2012 report out of 6,368 Candidates for Ordination 6,228 have been trained and 6,316 have had a background check.
Over 4,684,000 children were given the skills to recognize both a grooming process and to tell parents and other trusted adults about such behavior.
Again in 2012, no diocese or eparchy entered into confidentiality settlements unless the victim/survivors/survivor requested it and it was specifically noted in the agreement.
Dioceses/eparchies report allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to the civil authorities. For more information, please see: Page 11 of the Charter Booklet.
The Charter requires that all dioceses/eparchies be open and transparent regarding any and all cases of sexual abuse. Parishes affected by abuse are informed openly, honestly and compassionately of allegations. Page 12 of the Charter booklet.
There is a bishop representative from each episcopal region of the U.S. on the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.
The Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection helps dioceses/eparchies/become and maintain compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and to integrate the Charter into the diocesan way of life.
The National Review Board is a lay group appointed by the USCCB President to offer its advice on matters of child and youth protection to the Bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.
The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People has designed orientation sessions to address questions new bishops and eparches may have regarding the Charter and the audit process. These meetings are held during the November bishops' meetings.
The Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection develops resources for use by dioceses/eparchies in their parishes and schools. Many are compilations of information from the audit documents. Resources can be found on their website.
Bishops and eparches communicate with each other on a regular basis to ensure a cleric who committed an act of sexual abuse is not transferred to another diocese or eparchy. For more information, please see: Page 29 of the Charter Booklet.
To ensure open communication between religious orders and bishops, a representative from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men serves on the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. For more information, please see: Page 17, Article 15, of the Charter Booklet
Recognizing the importance of on-going formation, bishops and eparches are committing time and resources to continued formation programs of chastity, celibacy and human formation for clerics. For more information, please see: Page 17, Article 17, of the Charter Booklet.
Reconciliation among all people, especially those most affected by abuse is part of an on-going diocesan/eparchial outreach activities and efforts. Masses, retreats, prayer groups, healing gardens, evenings with the Bishop are a few examples of outreach efforts. Find more information on these and other ideas.
All dioceses/eparchies have written policies on the sexual abuse of minors by clerics and church personnel. Most policies are available on diocesan websites. Find your diocese here.
The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has been done but more needs to be done. Until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society, the Church will continue its efforts to stop it.
Many of the 195 diocese and eparchies participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month. They use this month as an opportunity to highlight the many activities the diocese/eparchy is doing to prevent child sexual abuse. For more information, please see: What has-the-Catholic-Church-done-to-effectively-respond-to-sexual-abuse-by-church-personnel.
Additionally 164,372 educators, 37,991 priests, 15,684 deacons and 6,316 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated. For more information, please see Background Evaluations on the FAQ page.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established by the USCCB in June 2002. It is a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It is revised continually to reflect the ongoing commitment of the bishops.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People begins with an apology from the bishops. "Since 2002, the Church in the United States has experienced a crisis without precedent in our times. The sexual abuse of children and young people by some deacons, priests, and bishops, and the ways in which these crimes and sins were addressed, have caused enormous pain, anger, and confusion. As bishops, we have acknowledged our mistakes and our roles in that suffering, and we apologize and take responsibility again for too often failing victims and the Catholic people in the past. From the depths of our hearts, we bishops express great sorrow and profound regret for what the Catholic people have endured." For more information, please see: Page 3 of the Charter Booklet.
The Charter directs action in all the following matters:
- Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors,
- Making prompt and effective response to allegations,
- Cooperating with civil authorities,
- Disciplining offenders,
- Creating a safe environment for children and young people,
- And providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through a national Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and a National Review Board.
The Charter calls for annual audits of dioceses/eparchies to ascertain compliance with the Charter by the bishop and his diocese/eparchy. Annual Audits have been conducted since 2003. Of the 195 dioceses/eparchies 188 participated in the 2012 audit. Results of the 2012 audits are being published and a copy will be sent to the Holy See.
Safe Environment training is taking place in all audited dioceses/eparchies of the country. Over 2 million parish employees and volunteers have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Safe Environment training was also provided to 166,311 educators, 37,952 priests, 15,669 deacons and 6,228 candidates for ordination. These people were also trained to recognize the behaviors of offenders and what to do about it. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Background evaluations have been conducted on over 2 million parish volunteers and Church personnel who have contact with children. For more information, please see the Background Evaluation Methodologies document.
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