WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board released its 2015 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People May 20.
Protection and prevention efforts continue being a priority. Over 4.3 million children and 2.4 million adults have been trained to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report them. Over 99 percent of priests (35,987), deacons (16,251), educators (162,803), and 98 percent volunteers (1,930,262) and candidates for ordination (6,473), and 97 percent (260,356) of other employees received training.
Over 2.4 million background checks were performed on adults at parishes and schools. These include, background checks performed on 99 percent of priests (35,720), deacons (16,257), 98 percent of volunteers (1,935,310) and other employees (263,690), and 96 percent of educators (158,556).
189 dioceses and eparchies were compliant with the Charter and one diocese was partially compliant specifically with Articles 12 and 13, which require proof that training programs are in place and that background checks are conducted on employees, clergy and volunteers. Ongoing efforts continue toward full participation of the one diocese and five eparchies that did not participate in the last cycle. Next year all dioceses and a majority of the eparchies will be involved in data collection or an on-site audit for the 2016 evaluation.
Between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, a total of 26 allegations against clergy received were from current minors, of those, seven were substantiated. All allegations were reported to local civil authorities.
"When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, we made a pledge to heal and a promise to protect. These promises remain essential priorities for our Church," said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the USCCB. "We remain ever vigilant in the protection of children and the outreach to those most harmed by sexual abuse. The Church cannot become complacent with what has been accomplished. We look for new ways of addressing the issue and showing others a model of protection."
Out of the 838 people who reported to have suffered past abuse as minors, 46 percent or 386 accepted diocesan outreach and healing. Continued support has been provided to 1,646 victims/survivors. All dioceses and eparchies have offices and personnel whose primary role is to assist victim/survivors, treating them with respect and offering them pastoral care.
The information in the report was gathered between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. The report on the response of the Catholic Church in the United States to clergy sexual abuse includes an annual survey conducted by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and an annual audit to numerous dioceses and eparchies.
The full report is available at: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/15-118-CYP-Annual-Report.pdf.
Keywords: clergy sexual abuse, Catholic Church, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, annual audit report, background checks, safe environment training, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Secretariat for the Protection of Children and Young People, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate
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Norma Montenegro Flynn
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