Protection of Children and Young People
In keeping with the archdiocesan policy regarding the protection of minors, St. Joseph the Worker requires all catechists and employees who work with children under 18 to attend a program designed to educate people about the potential warning signs of sexual predators and to help institutions develop a plan to protect minors from sexual abuse. The program, called VIRTUS, was developed by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group and is being offered in over 50 dioceses at this time. All catechists are expected to attend this three-hour program.
Additionally, the Office for the Protection of Children from the Archdiocese of Dubuque provides publications which help us be more informed of the issues and topics related to the abuse of children. It is our sincere hope that by partnering together we can continually provide the safest possible environment for all our young people to grow into healthy, Christ-filled adults. These NewsNotes may be found at the Virtus website at http://www.virtusonline.org.
Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse
The Archdiocese of Dubuque has established a program of pastoral assistance to people who believe they or those in their care have been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other Church personnel. This assistance will include help in informing civil and Church authorities. Victim Assistance Coordinators are trained to facilitate access to appropriate professional mental health services, social service agencies, support groups and/or individuals who can provide spiritual care. Any individual desiring help from this program is invited to call toll free 866-319-4636 to report an allegation or receive assistance. This program is part of the “Policy for the Protection of Minors.”
Safe Environment Training for Children Guidelines
Under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, all dioceses in the United States have agreed to establish age-appropriate safe environment training for children. Key components are to include information about quality relationships, proper forms of touch, actions to take in uncomfortable situations, and reporting possible abuse. Note: This training is not the same as education in human sexuality. It is recommended that the training be offered at grade 1, grade 3, grade 5 , grade 7, and grade 9. All children of the designated grade level are to be offered the training.
Parents/guardians will be provided the required notification letter concerning the timeline when the training will be offered; the content/curriculum of the training; information outlining the opportunity to review the content/curriculum materials; and a copy of the Parent/Guardian Safe Environment Training Refusal Form.
Catechists presenting the material will review the guidelines concerning their role in providing this training. Cross referencing between grade level catechetical outcomes and the outcomes of the Safe Environment Training will be encouraged for possible integration with existing curriculum.