In response to the sexual misconduct cases brought about members of the clergy both in the United States and around the world, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has made the safety and security of their students its highest priority.
In all Archdiocesan efforts, the safety of children and help for victims are paramount.
All priests and deacons, as well as parish staff, teachers and volunteers in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who have regular contact with children must attend Safe Environment Training. This provides a greater understanding of adults’ roles as protectors of children, models of appropriate behavior and advocates for those who are most vulnerable.
To date, over 50,000 individuals have participated in Safe Environment Training. In addition, almost 110,000 young people have received grade-appropriate lessons concerning personal boundaries and healthy relationships.
The Archdiocese established a Victims Assistance Coordinators Program where coordinators are licensed professionals who respond with appropriate care to those victimized by sexual abuse.
A Safe Environment
- Creating a Network of Prevention and Protection
- La Creación De Una Red De Prevención Y Protección
- Brochure for Parents (Information about Student Education Program)
- Parent Handbook (Practical Advice for Parents)
- Teaching Touching Safety (Guide for Parents)
- Article for Parents (Pornography: Having the Conversation with Your Child)
- Reporting Suspected Child Abuse Brochure
- Safe Environment Education
- Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet: Tips for Parents and Guardians
Safe Environment Education for Elementary Students- Teaching Touching Safety
Lessons are taught two times in the school year with one lesson in December and the other in the spring. Parents will be informed of the date of this instruction by the local school principal.
Safe Environment Education Information for Secondary School Students
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls on Dioceses across this nation to “maintain safe environment programs which the diocesan bishop deems in accord with Catholic moral principles.” In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a program titled “Called to Protect for Youth” developed by Presidium Inc. along with a program developed by the Office of Child and Youth Protection titled “The Gift of Innocence” have been selected as the educational programs for our high schools students. Praesidium Inc. is an organization that focuses on risk management. Additional information on Praesidium can be found on the web at www.praesidiuminc.com .
The Office of Catholic Education has designated religious education teachers to instruct these lessons once a year. The school is required to provide notification to the parent of the date when the lessons will be taught. As a parent you have the right to withdraw your child from these lessons. The curriculum for each high school level is highlighted below.
Students will view “The Gift of Innocence “which is a 20 minute video and guided discussion which addressees the issues of sexual violence and why teens do not come forward to report or seek assistance. The video discusses sexual violence from a religious, legal and victim perspective and encourages teens to seek assistance. Students will learn:
- Sexual violence is a crime;
- Sexual violence is never the victims fault;
- Sexual violence is the offender’s fault; and
- The victim’s dignity as a person is never diminished in the eyes of God.
Sophomore, Junior and Senior Year
Students will view one of the three lessons in the “Called to Protect for Youth” curriculum created by Praesidium. The videos and lessons provide information on the three types of boundaries that child molesters try to violate. These are the physical, emotional and behavioral boundaries. Students will learn:
- To define and identify the three types of personal boundaries.
- That most adults in their life care about them and want the best for them
- Ways to respond if someone tries to violate their personal boundaries.
- To identify who they could tell if someone is sexually abusing them or someone they know.
- The importance of disclosing abuse. Students are told that if someone is abusing them or someone they know, that the students need to tell an adult, whom they trust, about this abuse.