The 2017 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, produced by the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection (SCYP) in 2018, describes the progress of Catholic dioceses/eparchies in implementing victim assistance and child protection policies and programs in the United States, particularly those found within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The audit process measures compliance with the articles of the Charter. The Statement of Episcopal Commitment and Essential Norms, found after the Charter within the same booklet, are not the purview of the audit.
The Annual Report is based on an annual audit process, carried out between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, by StoneBridge Business Partners.
Included in the report are findings regarding diocesan/eparchial compliance with the Charter, recommendations from the auditor on how Charter implementation can be improved, a progress report from the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection on its activities, and data regarding allegations, safe environment programs, background checks, financial costs related to allegations and child protection efforts in dioceses/eparchies, and more from StoneBridge and/or the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
According to the audit of dioceses/eparchies between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017:
- Stonebridge visited 61 dioceses/eparchies and collected data from 133 others. All dioceses/eparchies were found compliant with the guidelines of the Charter except for the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, and the Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, who were found non-compliant with certain articles of the Charter. Three dioceses/eparchies did not participate in the audit including the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands (due to hurricanes Maria and Irma), the Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace, and the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.
- 654 victims/survivors reported 695 allegations of abuse against clergy. Compared to 2015 and 2016, the number of allegations has decreased significantly due to fewer bankruptcy proceedings and statute of limitations changes.
- 24 allegations were made by current minors, of which; 6 were substantiated, 8 were unsubstantiated, 3 were unable to be proven, 5 still under investigation, and 2 others were referred to other institutions. All allegations were reported to law enforcement.
- Similar to previous years, 18% of allegations reported by current minors were determined to be substantiated.
- Dioceses/eparchies provided outreach and support to 205 victims/survivors and their families who reported during the audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,702 victims/survivors and their families who reported abuse in prior audit periods.
- 4.1 million children received safe environment training to help them identify abuse and report abuse to trusted adults.
- Over 2 million adults, including candidates for ordination, deacons, priests, educators, employees, and volunteers received safe environment training, as well as background checks.
According to survey data collected from dioceses/eparchies and religious institutes by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA):
- Costs related to allegations for dioceses/eparchies and religious institutes including settlements, payments to victims/survivors, support for offenders, attorney's fees and other costs were $228,956,675.
- Dioceses/eparchies and religious institutes spent $34,852,598 on child protection efforts such as safe environment training, background checks, and staffing costs.
- Among allegations received, most victims/survivors of abuse were 10-14 years old, 82% of victims/survivors were male, and most abuse occurred between 1960 and 1990, with a peak in the 1970's.
- About 4/5th of alleged offenders identified between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 were deceased, already removed from ministry, laicized or missing. The other 1/5th were permanently removed, returned to ministry after an investigation was completed, temporarily removed pending the completion of an investigation, or still active pending investigations during the survey period.