The Office of Safeguard the Children provides ongoing support, education, training and resources to help prevent child sexual abuse and to address children’s safety in our parishes, schools, homes and communities. We offer programs for Adults and Children as described below.
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Programs for Adults: Awareness Training
VIRTUS® Protecting God’s Children™ Program
VIRTUS® Protecting God’s Children Adult Awareness Session is a three-hour training that helps clergy, staff, volunteers and parents to understand the facts and myths about child sexual abuse; how perpetrators operate; and how caring adults can take five important steps to keep children safe. The parent session also stresses monitoring of computers, cell phones and other technology that perpetrators use to gain access to children and young people.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles mandates all staff, whether paid or volunteer, and all volunteers who work in any capacity with or around children, the elderly, or people with special needs are required to complete the initial three-hour VIRTUS® Protecting God’s Children for Adults program. This education component helps prevent child sexual abuse by first making every adult employee and volunteer aware of the issues surrounding child sexual abuse. This includes awareness of the many ways sexual abuse harms its victims, their families, the parish, and the community. The awareness session also helps adults learn to recognize the warning signs of abuse and shows them the appropriate way to respond to suspicious behavior. Finally, the awareness session empowers each person with five steps to help prevent child sexual abuse.
More than 150,000 priests, deacons, parish and school staff members and volunteers have already participated in these sessions throughout the five Pastoral Regions of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Our goal is to provide this training to all adults who work with children so we can work together as a more effective community to prevent child sexual abuse.
VIRTUS® Keeping the Promise Alive ™ Refresher Program
Keeping the Promise Alive provides ongoing awareness for the prevention of child sexual abuse. The material covered in Keeping the Promise Alive is designed to identify and reinforce the lessons of the original Protecting God’s Children® for Adults program by clarifying some of the more challenging aspects of the sessions and strengthening the participants’ ability to recognize risky behavior in their environments and take action to intervene in potentially threatening situations. This program answers the questions, “What have been some results of the Protecting God’s Children program, and what else can we do to keep all children safe?”
For more information about both programs above, please go online to: www.virtus.org/virtus. Have question on recertification? Please click here to download an info sheet.