Child sexual abuse is a worldwide public health issue. Child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, is reprehensible—especially when the wrongdoer is affiliated with the Church. The VIRTUS® programs assist the Church in being a safe haven for children and a messenger for preventing child sexual abuse within the Church and society in general. We seek to achieve this goal through our child sexual abuse prevention program: Protecting God's Children®.
PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN
Through the Protecting God’s Children program, the efforts of the churches and religious organizations refine their roles as child-safe environments and empowering caring adults to protect children. We also educate the children about how to protect themselves. Our training programs for clergy, volunteers and employees include background checks, training, and diocesan policies.
WHY DOES IT WORK?
Child abusers seek to operate and abuse their power within nurturing, child-friendly environments where it is assumed that nobody would want to harm a child. Religious organizations of all faiths are an easy target. The Protecting God's Children program implements safety mechanisms that send a message to all abusers and potential abusers:
Child abuse is not tolerated,
Children are vigilantly protected,
Victims are listened to, heard, and shielded from further abuse, and
Offenders are identified and punished.
By utilizing best practices for training and loss prevention, the Protecting God's Children program helps make churches safe for all people—especially children.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Maximizing a church's role as a child-safe environment begins with making adults more aware of the ways children and adults interact with each other. The Protecting God's Children program educates and trains adults (clergy, religious, teachers, staff, volunteers, and parents) about the dangers of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, the methods of properly reporting suspicions of abuse, and responding to allegations of abuse.
All VIRTUS training programs, including the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN programs, are comprehensive and multi-dimensional—incorporating proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, volunteers, and others who interact with children within the church environment.