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Highlights of the Diocese of Manchester Safe Environment Program
Ensuring Child Safety is a Priority in Our Parishes and Schools
Training of Church Personnel. The Diocese of Manchester requires all Church personnel who regularly work with minors to complete sexual abuse awareness training. Refresher training is required every four years.
In addition, parishes and schools are required to provide personal safety training to children and youth through the Circles of Care and Netsmartz programs.
Screening of Church Personnel. The Diocese of Manchester requires all Church personnel who regularly work with minors (including all clergy) to undergo background screening. Criminal records checks are repeated every 4 years.
Safe Environment Coordinators. Every parish, diocesan school, and camp is required to appoint a Safe Environment Coordinator to assist the pastor, principal, or director to ensure that safe environment requirements are met. The Bishop’s Delegate for Safe Environment and her staff are in regular communication with the Safe Environment Coordinators, pastors, and principals.
Safe Environment Database. The Diocese of Manchester has established a safe environment database to track compliance with the screening and training requirements of all Church personnel who regularly work with minors.
Compliance Reports. The Diocese of Manchester requires that parishes and schools regularly update the safe environment database and, on an annual basis, complete a verification form to demonstrate that the parishes and schools have complied with all safe environment requirements.
Compliance Visits. The Bishop’s Delegate for Safe Environment and her staff conduct visits to every parish and school at least once every four years. As a part of the site visit process, the Delegate and her staff conduct reviews to ensure that all safe environment requirements have been fulfilled. During the visits, the Delegate and her staff interview the pastor or principal, safe environment coordinator, and others involved in child safety at the parish/school.
Encouraging Reporting of Abuse
Posters. All parishes and diocesan Catholic schools display a poster with information about how to report suspected abuse.
Reporting Cards. The Diocese of Manchester developed wallet-sized cards that state how to report abuse to the civil authorities and to the Office for Ministerial Conduct. These cards are inserted in the posters described above.
Parish Bulletins. Regularly throughout year, parishes publish the procedures for reporting sexual abuse of a minor.
The Diocese of Manchester website prominently posts information about how to report suspected abuse.
As noted above, all Church personnel who regularly work with minors are required to undergo training in sexual abuse awareness and reporting. In addition to the initial training, refresher training is required every four years.
The Diocese of Manchester requires that parishes and schools provide training for children and youth in religious education programs and in the diocesan Catholic schools. These programs encourage children to identify trusted adults and speak up if something doesn’t seem right.
The Diocese of Manchester has developed a number of resources for parents, all of which encourage parents to report suspected abuse. These resources include a Talking with Your Children About Sexual Abuse pamphlet and a Boundaries Guide for Parents.
Ensuring the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is Fulfilled
Monthly Reports. The Bishop’s Delegate for Safe Environment provides the Bishop and the Diocesan Review Board with monthly reports about her compliance work with parishes and schools. In addition, she provides an annual report to the Bishop and to the Diocesan Review Board.
Diocesan Review Board Audit. In accordance with the Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal Policy for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocesan Review Board conducts a regular audit of the Office for Ministerial Conduct to ensure compliance with diocesan policy (which includes all requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People).
USCCB Audit. The USCCB conducts an annual audit of the Diocese of Manchester to ensure compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.