The Department of Protection of the Faithful's Office of Child and Youth Protection shares in the mission of the Archdiocese of Newark to be a living sign of Jesus Christ’s presence by assisting our youth in building a relationship with God by providing a safe environment. Toward this goal, the Office will implement and ensure compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The Office also shares in the Archdiocesan mission of coming to offer God’s merciful and loving providence to all. We are called to search out the needs, not only of the Catholic community, but of the total community; and then to respond accordingly with open mind and generous heart. Toward this second mission, the Office will provide outreach to victims/survivors and their families and demonstrate a sincere commitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being.
What’s Happening in Safe Environment
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
This unprecedented time is a good opportunity to turn the spotlight on to mental health. There are many resources available, here are just a few:
Keeping the Promise Alive, is acceptable for recertification, as well as the other options of taking Protecting God's Children, or recertifying online every month. Only 90 minutes, this session is good for five years, as is Protecting God's Children. You must use your original Virtus ID to enroll, so contact the Safe Environment team at firstname.lastname@example.org to register. You can see the schedule of all classes by clicking on the link on the right.
Online Recertification of Protecting God's Children
If you are recertifying your Protecting God's Children by doing the online option, please ensure you are reading the monthly articles in addition to doing the annual recertification module. Your account may be suspended in Virtus when no articles have been read in the previous year, and you will be unable to volunteer. The monthly articles are very valuable! Here's some recent feedback;
"Thanks as always for the wonderful articles on Virtus. This month's article on cell phones and children was rather timely for my family. My 12 year old is becoming more active in activities that do not involve parental participation and we have been debating back and forth the merits of having a phone for him to take on such outings. The article brought up some points we had considered and some we had not. Just wanted you to know that your articles matter :)"
Protecting God's Children - still bringing value, and helping to keep children safe
A recent attendee said: "I am very grateful for these classes. Sometimes as we get far away from taking the class our guard can go down when we have to seriously remain calm and vigilant. This is serious in our neighborhoods, our churches, our schools, everywhere...and I already have been sharing with others how they can help protect people from this type of abuse. I wish we did not have to take classes like this....but the reality is in our world today, we must! The video brought me to tears...the man next to me was fighting anger and wanting to 'hit' the men who abused children and spoke on the video....we all experienced many things...and we all left better for it. "
YOU CAN HELP
You can help prevent the abuse of children. Know the warning signs of offenders. They prefer to be with children. They go overboard touching, wrestling, or tickling. They may give minors alcohol or drugs, or show them pornography. They allow children to break the rules. Offenders act as if the rules do not apply to them. If you observe an adult who is not behaving appropriately with children, speak up. Let someone know what you saw. You are not accusing anyone of anything. You are letting someone know you care, are watching, and are concerned that no harm is done to a child.
YOU CAN GET HELP
Abuse is never the fault of the person harmed. It is always the responsibility of the offender. The reality is that most victims of abuse know their abuser. One in four females and one in six males report being abused as a minor. If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse there are things you can do, even if the abuse happened years ago. Call the police to report the abuse. If the abuser was in a position of authority in an organization, you should also report the abuse to that organization. If the abuse happened in a Catholic church or school, contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator for our Archdiocese at (201) 407-3256
The Catholic Church: Making Progress in Child Abuse Prevention and Victim Assistance
To date, the Catholic Church is the only youth-serving organization in the country - private or public - to undertake such a comprehensive program to create and promulgate safe environments for children and young people. You can learn more by visiting the USCCB's website.
Independent auditors from the USCCB have found the Archdiocese of Newark fully compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in every year since audits began in 2003.