Presentation on theme: "Decree on Child Protection Revised 2014 Diocese of Steubenville."— Presentation transcript:
Decree on Child Protection Revised 2014 Diocese of Steubenville
Introduction… The Decree on Child Protection deals with Child abuse Child abuse in the Decree is defined broadly, to include… Sexual activity Endangering or injuring a child Providing a child with alcohol or illegal drugs Physical and Mental abuse And using demeaning language
The Decree has two purposes… First, It is intended to prevent the abuse of Children through education and screening Second, it provides for assistance for handling incidents of abuse after they occur, which includes: Reporting the incidents to civil authorities Assessing the allegations Caring for the victim and the victim’s family Acting appropriately with the accused And attending to the effected church community
Who administers the Decree? The Vicar General is the principal administrator of the Decree The Child Protection Review Board is a consultative body to the Bishop and Vicar General In addition… All allegations of child abuse are to be taken seriously The victim will never be held responsible for an incident There will be full reporting to and cooperation with civil authorities Care will be taken to provide for the well-being of the victim, and due process rights to the accused
Section One of the Decree Education and Screening
Education… Education is the reason we are all here today! Education includes: All clerics, regular volunteers and employees who work with children attending an annual workshop on the Decree and Safe Environment Program Reading and becoming familiar with the Decree Making yourself aware of and maintaining Appropriate Boundaries with minors Knowing and using Diocesan Safe Environment Program resources, policies, forms, and curriculum
Who is a “Regular Volunteer”? An adult who is not an employee, but who is a catechist, coach, server, coordinator, etc… And who functions in a regular relationship with children. This includes: Interns, student teachers and others in similar capacities. It also refers to anyone who participates in an overnight event with children. And an employee functioning as a volunteer outside his/her regular duties. This Definition does not include occasional involvement, such as a driver or chaperone for individual activities.
Screening… All clerics, regular volunteers, and employees must have criminal background checks with fingerprinting from BOTH the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) every five years. All Prospective employees must provide three references: Two references shall come from previous employers. And a personal reference shall come from someone who is not a close friend or a relative All references must be checked. Regular volunteers and applicants for employment shall complete the Applicants Certification Form. (Appendix B)
Contact with Children… There can be no on-going (i.e., more than once) individual instruction or counseling with children without written parental consent, except in an emergency context. A child may not participate in an organized program without written parental consent. At least two adults must always be present for any contact. Some exceptions include: The Sacrament of Reconciliation Regular day-school or religion classes Providing transportation for a school or parish sponsored activity (for which there must be more than one student passenger) There shall be absolutely no overnight functions without at least two adults.
Additional Restrictions… Children may not be disciplined corporally or corrected with demeaning language. A child may not visit overnight at the rectory or stay overnight with a priest in any location without the parent physically present (written consent is not good enough). Further clarification on regarding “common sense” restrictions shall be obtained by reviewing the diocesan guidelines for Appropriate Boundaries when ministering to or working with Minors.
Communications with minors… Adults should be cautious when communicating with minors using written communication, cell phones, emails, text messaging and websites like Twitter and Facebook. Communication with minors should be for “business only” and not in any way personal. Adults should not use personal email accounts or personal cell phones to communicate with minors. Adults should avoid phone calls/text messaging to a minor’s personal cell phone. Adults should not give out their personal email or cell phone contact information to minors. Adults should not participate in on-line “chatting” with minors nor should adults consent to being a “friend” with a minor on websites like Twitter or Facebook
Preventive Intervention… Policies cannot always prevent an adult from abusing children. Any cleric, employee, or regular volunteer who observes another cleric, employee, or volunteer behaving in a manner which may pose a potential risk of abuse to children, should report the matter in confidence without delay. The proper superior or supervisor is to deal expeditiously with any situation of potential risk brought to his or her attention. If a serious potential risk is not resolved satisfactorily, appropriate action must be taken with due regard for personnel policies and due process.
Section Two of the Decree Response to Allegations
Initial Tasks include… Reporting to Civil Authorities and the Diocese. Immediate pastoral response to a victim. Immediate action, when the accused is a Priest or Deacon. Immediate action, when the accused is a lay person. Investigating Formation of a “Response Team.”
Reporting… We must report anything we see which is suspicious or poses a potential risk. Such incidents shall be reported immediately to the Vicar General, who will report the incident to Civil Authorities. An adult, who is considered a Mandated Reporter by law, must also report the incident to the Civil Authorities. The Civil Authorities will receive the full cooperation of the Church. If the accusation has the semblance of truth, the accused will be placed on leave, an investigation shall be conducted and additional specific procedures are to be followed. Ohio law requires all individuals acting in an official or professional capacity to immediately report any actual or suspected child abuse to civil authorities
Pastoral response… It is essential that effective, immediate and compassionate care be provided to a victim and his or her family. This immediate care is typically provided by the family’s Pastor (or in some cases the local Dean), until the Response Team plans are implemented. In addition to this immediate care, the Vicar General is to create a Response Team consisting of himself, a licensed counselor and other qualified persons for the particular situation. The tasks and responsibilities of the Response Team are outlined in Appendix “D” of the Decree
In Closing… This presentation is merely a very rough, brief summary of the Decree. Please know that... We appreciate your time. We need your help. The Church needs your help. But most importantly…. The Children need your help! You must read the Decree for youself!