Protecting Children and Youth
From Sexual Abuse and Child Molestation
A safe environment protects our children from harm, including sexual abuse and child molestation. It allows them to feel confident and secure in the classroom and at church.
The National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a landmark document announced by the U.S. Conference of Bishops in 2002. The document is a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Church and is their "Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal."
Article 12 of the Charter mandates that all dioceses and eparchies establish safe environment programs to help protect children from sexual abuse and child molestation. It will make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse. This guideline is the basis for the Diocese of Orange safe environment program.
In January, 2004, the Bishops of the Diocese of Orange announced The Covenant With The Faithful, in which they have pledged to implement in every way the National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and our own diocesan policies for the prevention of the abuse of children and young people.
How the Diocese of Orange Is Responding
The Diocese has instituted several policies towards that goal. These include:
- A code of conduct for employees and volunteers who work with children and youth, is outlined in the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct for Lay Employees and Volunteers. This code makes clear what acceptable behavior is and the standards of conduct regarding sexual abuse and harassment.
- A code of conduct for clergy and religious leaders who work with children and youth, outlined in the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct for Clergy and Religious Personnel. This code makes clear what acceptable behavior is and the standards of conduct regarding sexual abuse and harassment.
- Adopted as Diocesan policy the principles outlined in "Respecting the Boundaries: Keeping Ministerial Relationships Healthy and Holy."
To download the brochure: Respecting the Boundaries-Full Article (PDF) Fingerprint background checks on all adults who have regular and consistent contact with minors.
- Special training programs for all adults who work with minors, including priests, ministers, educators, church personnel, parents and volunteers. They are briefed on preventing, identifying, responding to and reporting child abuse.
- Two sexual abuse prevention program for elementary school children. For children K-8 in parishes the Circle of Grace program which was developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha and promulgated by Bishop Kevin Vann for the Diocese of Orange, and the RCL Benzinger's Family Life Series for children K-8 in diocesan parochial schools.
To learn more about the elementary school program, go to http://www.archomaha.org/education/safe-environment/circle-grace/
- A sexual abuse prevention program for teenagers developed by the Diocese of Orange: Breaking The Silence.
To learn more about the sexual abuse prevention program for teenagers developed by the Diocese of Orange, go to Breaking the Silence.
Protecting Children and Youth