Protecting God's Children®
Child sexual abuse is a worldwide public health issue. Child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, is reprehensible—especially when the wrongdoer is affiliated with the Church. The VIRTUS® programs assist the Church in being a safe haven for children and a messenger for preventing child sexual abuse within the Church and society in general. We seek to achieve this lofty goal through our child sexual abuse prevention program: Protecting God's Children®.
The Protecting God's Children Program
Most organizations that work with children have some sort of child safety program. Through the Protecting God’s Children program, we maximize those efforts by helping churches and religious organizations refine their roles as child-safe environments and empowering caring adults to protect children.
Why Does It Work?
Child abusers seek to operate and abuse their power within nurturing, child-friendly environments where it is assumed that nobody would want to harm a child. Religious organizations of all faiths are an easy target. The Protecting God's Children program implements safety mechanisms that send a message to all abusers and potential abusers:
• Child abuse is not tolerated,
• Children are vigilantly protected,
• Victims are listened to, heard, and shielded from further abuse, and
• Offenders are identified and punished.
By utilizing best practices for training and loss prevention, the Protecting God's Children program helps make churches safe for all people—especially children.
How Does It Work?
Maximizing a church's role as a child-safe environment begins with making adults more aware of the ways children and adults interact with each other. The Protecting God's Children program educates and trains adults (clergy, religious, teachers, staff, volunteers, and parents) about the dangers of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, the methods of properly reporting suspicions of abuse, and responding to allegations of abuse.
All VIRTUS training programs, including the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN programs, are comprehensive and multi-dimensional—incorporating proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, volunteers, and others who interact with children within the church environment. Our training programs incorporate instructor-led training, train-the-facilitator education, awareness videos, and ongoing web-based training through online training bulletins and training modules via our VIRTUS Online system.
Using The Church To Protect Children
For any organization, the best practice to prevent wrongdoing, including child sexual abuse, is to have an organization use its own people to facilitate awareness of the issue. The Protecting God’s Children program begins with the training of internal facilitators—individuals selected by the archdiocese, diocese, or religious organization to train other adults and parents on how to best protect children. We use facilitator-led awareness sessions and continuous online training so that participants learn the best methods for delivering their message, including the training for the Protecting God’s Children program.
Training Adults To Protect Children
We begin by making adults of the Church that interact with children aware of how to protect children. Our Protecting God’s Children program for adults is a three-hour live awareness session instructing adults of the Church that to protect children you must have continuous awareness and vigilance. This awareness session makes trainees understand the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five empowerment steps one can use to prevent child sexual abuse. Continuing online training is a valuable component of the Protecting God’s Children program for the continued awareness of child abuse.
Please use the following link to access the Official Charter document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
DID YOU KNOW?
Teach children how to answer the door safely
You would never knowingly let someone dangerous or unsafe into your home. But it is impossible to fully vet every stranger — maintenance worker, new neighbor, salesperson, etc — who shows up at your door. Teach children a few tips about answering (or not answering) the doorbell. Consider these rules, or something similar, for your family: Always look to see who is at the door first. If the person is a stranger, get an adult to answer the door. Do not open the door to someone you do not know. For more information, request a copy of the VIRTUS article “Beware of inviting other people – and vulnerability – into your house,” at lacatholics.org/did-you-know.
Read the VIRTUS article “Beware of inviting other people – and vulnerability – into your house” here.
Enseñe a los niños cómo abrir la puerta de forma segura
Usted jamás permitiría a sabiendas que alguien peligroso o inseguro entrara en su hogar. Pero es imposible examinar completamente a cada extraño (trabajador de mantenimiento, nuevo vecino, vendedor, etc.) que se presente a su puerta. Enseñe a los niños algunos consejos sobre cómo contestar (o no contestar) cuando tocan a la puerta o cuando suena el timbre. Considere estas reglas, o algo similar, para su familia: Siempre vea primero por una ventana o por la mirilla de la puerta para ver quién está en la puerta. Si la persona es un extraño, el niño o joven debe pedir a un adulto que abra la puerta. No abra la puerta a alguien que no conozca. Para obtener más información, solicite una copia del artículo de VIRTUS en inglés, “Beware of inviting other people – and vulnerability – into your house” (Tenga cuidado con invitar a otras personas –y a la vulnerabilidad– en su casa) en lacatholics.org/did-you-know.
Lee el artículo de VIRTUS en inglés, “Beware of inviting other people – and vulnerability – into your house” (Tenga cuidado con invitar a otras personas –y a la vulnerabilidad– en su casa) aquí.
2021 Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Brochure
The Office of Safeguard the Children of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles annually publishes the
2021 Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse brochure, which provides an up-to-date
listing of safe environment policies, programs, resources, contact numbers and other important
information about how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is working to prevent child sexual abuse.
Copies of the brochures are available in the parish vestibule or online at:https://lacatholics.org/child-abuse-prevention-month/.