The Diocese of Richmond remains in compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” according to an audit done by Stonebridge Business Partners. The Rochester, NY, company conducts the audits on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Office of Child and Youth Protection.
The charter is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of acts of abuse.
Data related to the diocese’s child protection program, called the Safe Environment Program, are gathered and audited annually, followed by an extensive onsite audit every third year. The data include statistics about background screening and VIRTUS training of clergy, employees and volunteers who regularly work with minors and the vulnerable. It also tracks assistance provided to victims, as well as any new allegations and subsequent investigation.
Since October 2004, the diocese has held 2,790 child protection training sessions, known as VIRTUS, “Protecting God’s Children for Adults.” In 2017, there were 280 training sessions.
Some 53,880 individuals have participated and 195 facilitators have been trained to lead a VIRTUS training session.
During the audit period — July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 — the diocese reported 30,512 active participants in the Safe Environment Program. Participants are considered “active” if they attend VIRTUS and are up-to-date on background screening.
For more information about the Safe Environment Program, visit http://www.richmonddiocese.org/safe-environment.