The Protection of Children and Young People – VIRTUS

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“Children and young people have a right to be protected from harm in any and in all environments – home, school, religious institutions, and communities.  The Diocese of Charleston is dedicated to promoting and ensuring the protection of all children.

The Diocese of Charleston will do all in its power to create a safe environment for children and young people, to prevent their physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and to bring the healing ministry of the diocese to all who are in pain.
The Diocesan Child Protection Policy continues to emphasize concern for children and compliance with all provisions contained in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and The Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priest or Deacons approved by the U.S. Catholic bishops in November 2002.
The Diocese of Charleston is committed to the goals of this policy (Diocesan Child Protection Policy pg. 1):
  • To minister to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the abused child and family as well as the affected Catholic community.
  • To report all incidents of child abuse to civil and diocesan authorities.
  • To strengthen all screening procedures with the goal of preventing child abuse by diocesan personnel and volunteers.
  • To minister to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the individual who is accused of abuse”

Criminal Background Checks

In its effort to ensure the safety of all children and young people, the Diocese has mandated proper criminal background screening of all clergy, religious, lay employees and volunteers.  Prior to employment, a criminal backgound check must be completed.  No one can be employed by the Diocese who has not completed the required background check.  Before anyone is permitted to volunteer in any parish program, a criminal background check must be completed.  No one will be permitted to serve as a volunteer until the criminal background check has been completed.

Safe Environment Training

VIRTUS Training for all Employees and Volunteers.  In addition, all priests, deacons, religious, lay men and women employed by the Diocese of Charleston and all who volunteer in the Diocese, in any capacity, are required to complete a formal, approved training program, VIRTUS.  The VIRTUS program has been adopted by many Dioceses throughout the country.  It is a three hour program that is meant to help prevent the abuse of children and young people.  The VIRTUS program is designed to help parents, and all who work with children and young people, to be alert to the practices of predators who seek to gain the confidence of children.  The program seeks to help provide a safer environment for children by alerting all responsible adults to proper safety practices and the proper procedures that should be followed for reporting suspected child abuse.  The more aware everyone is of the dangers that exist, the practices of predators, and the signs that should alert us to unacceptable, inappropriate behavior, the safer our children will be.

Volunteer Code of Conduct for Service at Saint Anne Parish

All who serve as volunteers in Saint Anne Parish are required to accept, and agree to, the following Code of Conduct:
“Our Children are the most important gifts God has entructed to us.  As a volunteer, I promise to strictly follow the rules and guidelines in this Volunteers’s Code of Conduct:
As a volunteer, I will:
  • Treat everyone with respect, loyalty, patience, integrity, courtesy, dignity, and consideration
  • Avoid situations where I am alone with children and/or youth at parish activites.
  • Use positive reinforcement rather than criticism or comparision when working with children and/or youth
  • Refuse to accept expensive gifts from children and/or youth without prior written approval from the parents or guardian and the pastor.
  • Report suspected abuse to the pastor, or appropriate supervisor and the local authorities.
  • Cooperate fully in any investigation of abuse of children and/or youth.
As a volunteer, I will not:
  • Smoke or use tobacco products in the presence of children and/or youth.
  • Use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol at any time while volunteering
  • Use, possess, or be under the influence of illegal drugs at any time
  • Pose any health risk to children and/or youth (i.e., no fevers or other contagious situations)
  • Strike, spank, shake, or slap children and/or youth
  • Humiliate, riducule, threaten, or degrade children and/or youth
  • Touch a child and/or youth in a sexual or other inappropriate manner
  • Use any discipline that frightens or humiliates children and/or youth.
  • Use profanity in the presence of children and/or youth
I understand that as a volunteer working with children and/or youth, I am subject to a thorough background check including criminal history.  I understand that any action inconsistent with the Code of Conduct or failure to take any action as outlined in this Code of Conduct may result in my being asked to no longer volunteer at Saint Anne Catholic Church.
  
To attend Virtus training, you must register online at www.virtus.org.
YOU MUST supply the Parish with information that you have fulfilled this requirement.
This is the only way we know that you attended.
Any questions please call the Parish Office at (803) 329 2662