For Immediate Release: January 11, 2019
The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has received confirmation that it remains in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, received notice of compliance from StoneBridge Business Partners, Rochester, N.Y., which conducts the yearly audits for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of Child and Youth Protection. The diocese is audited annually between July 1 and June 30. For the 2018 audit, the diocese participated in the on-site audit process.
“Since the last audit period, the Diocese of Richmond has significantly strengthened the Safe Environment Office by hiring an on-site Victims Assistance/Safe Environment Coordinator and incorporating new technology to assist with efficiency for the background screening process when volunteers register for VIRTUS,” said Ms. Maryjane Fuller, Director for the Diocesan Safe Environment Office. “Volunteers are now prompted electronically to review the Code of Conduct and submit a background check request for a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children for Adults training session. By enhancing this process, it will allow for better management for parishes and schools in the Diocese.”
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2002 to establish guidelines for investigating and resolving allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The Diocesan Safe Environment Office ensures that Charter standards are continually met within the Diocese of Richmond.
The audit gathers data on VIRTUS Child Protection training, background screenings for all clergy, employees and volunteers who have any interaction with children, information on assistance provided to victims of abuse and any new allegations or investigations of abuse that occur that year.
The audit of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 reported the following statistics:
- Since October 2004, the Diocese has held 3,223 child protection training sessions, known as VIRTUS, Protecting God’s Children for Adults. In 2018, there were 292 training sessions.
- Some 57,266 individuals have participated and 150 facilitators have lead VIRTUS training sessions since its introduction in 2004.
- During the July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 audit period, the diocese reported 32,103 active participants in the Safe Environment program. Participants are considered active if they attend VIRTUS and are up-to-date on background screening. Participants include all clergy, parish and school employees as well as volunteers who work with minors and the vulnerable.
More information on the Diocese of Richmond’s Safe Environment Program is available online.