The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released its 2018 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organizations nation-wide.
- The Diocese of Grand Rapids has participated in annual charter compliance audits since their inception and has passed every year.
The annual report includes a survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The 2018 report for audit year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 states that:
- 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations. Compared to 2017, the number of allegations has increased significantly due to the additional allegations received in five New York State dioceses as a result of the implementation of their Independent Reconciliation and Compensation programs.
- Additional data on allegations provided by CARA’s annual survey shows that more than nine in ten alleged offenders (92 percent) identified during the survey year were deceased, already removed from ministry, already laicized or missing. Most reported abuse occurred between 1960 and 1990, with a peak in the 1970’s.
- Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were reported during the audit period. As of June 30, 2018, three were substantiated and the clergy removed from ministry. These allegations came from three different dioceses. Seven allegations were unsubstantiated as of June 30, 2018. Three were categorized as “unable to be proven” and investigations were still in process for six of the allegations as of June 30, 2018. For the remaining seven allegations involving minors, two were referred to a religious order, two were reported as unknown clerics, and three were not claims of sexual abuse, but were boundary violations.
Support for victim/survivors and their families
During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 472 victims/survivors and their families who reported during this audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,542 victims/survivors and their families who reported abuse in prior audit periods. Support may include counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services.
Ongoing work to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults
The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2018, over 2.6 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2018 over 2.6 million adults and 3.9 million children and youth have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
- Since 2002, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has held VIRTUS® — Protecting God’s Children training sessions in which more than 24,500 clergy, teachers, staff, volunteers and others have been trained to identify and report the abuse of minors. In this past fiscal year alone, 63 sessions were held. (View infographic)
Regarding Charter Compliance, the report noted the following:
- StoneBridge Business Partners, the auditor, visited 72 dioceses/eparchies and collected data from 122 others.
- All dioceses/eparchies were found compliant except for the Diocese of Lincoln, who was found non-compliant with Article 7 of the Charter.
- Three eparchies did not participate including the Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace, the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Eparchy of Phoenix
The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People continues to emphasize that the audit and maintaining zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church’s broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter. This is the sixteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, making a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.
The full Annual Report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/child-abuse-prevention/upload/2018-CYP-Annual-Report.pdf
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People can be found here: www.usccb.org/charter
Additional diocesan resources for Protecting God’s Children may be viewed at this link.