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Training Overview

Requirements for Clergy, Employees and Volunteers

The Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People mandates that all clergy and all employees and volunteers whose work involves contact with children and young people undergo training in the detection, prevention, and reporting of child abuse.

The Archdiocese of New York is fully committed to preventing the sexual exploitation of minors, and to identifying any instance in which it does occur. To this end, all personnel with regular contact with children must receive specific training in identifying and responding to potential incidents of sexual misconduct. Although education alone cannot prevent or change inappropriate sexual behavior, it is essential to help each person to grow and mature in Christian sexuality, and to reduce risks to minors.

All of this is done to insure that the children and youth who attend parish and Archdiocesan programs are supervised by a staff that is fully trained to protect them from child abuse.

There are two training programs used in the Archdioceses of New York — VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” and “Safer Spaces” (a program developed by our Office for use in the Archdiocese). Personnel must attend a training class as follows:

  • All clergy must attend a VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class (this includes all priests, deacons, and candidates for ordination). If a cleric is coming from another diocese or is a religious order priest, we will recognize training that they did in their home diocese or religious community (e.g., Praesidium).
  • Professional and supervisory personnel in our parishes and schools must also attend a VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class (this includes: school principals, assistant principals, deans, assistant deans, teachers, teachers’ aides, or guidance counselors, directors and coordinators of religious education, social workers, counselors, and youth ministers). 
  • Other employees must attend either a VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class or a “Safer Spaces” class (this would include business, clerical or custodial staff at our parishes and schools).
  • Volunteers must attend either a VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class or a “Safer Spaces” class.

All personnel who are in regular contact with children will be also provided with a continuing education newsletter by the Safe Environment Office. For more information about the newsletter, click here. An annual refresher of safe environment policies and principles is also included in the annual sexual harassment training required of all employees.

 Register for a VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class

Please be advised that all our upcoming VIRTUS classes are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have made arrangements for the VIRTUS class to be available online. To register for the online class, please click here.

 To register for a VIRTUS class, please click here.  This link will take you directly to the VIRTUS website, which has a list of all classes offered by the Archdiocese.  Please follow all the directions, and provide all the information requested.  Please also note that these classes are offered only for those who work or are employed by the Archdiocese of New York.  Those who are working or volunteering for other dioceses should contact the Safe Environment Office of that diocese. 

Take the Safer Spaces class online

 Volunteers and eligible employees can fulfill their training requirement by viewing the Safer Spaces video online.  To do this, click here.

Training Refreshers for Staff 

We have created a brief narrated PowerPoint presentation to provide an annual training refresher for staff. This short video provides a brief reminder of essential child protection policies and principles.

To access the refresher presentation, click here.

Training for Parents and Children

The Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People also requires that education be provided to children, youth and parents about sexual abuse and its prevention. As a result, safe environment lessons are incorporated into the curriculum of both the schools and religious education programs.  These lessons are provided as part of the regular classes attended by our students, and are both age-appropriate and doctrinally sound.  A copy of the curriculum guidelines, which are entitled “Right, Safe and Good Relationships”, can be downloaded here.

The Department of Education of the Archdiocese offers information and resources to parents, who are the primary educators of our children. All parents are invited to download this “Fact Sheet” to help them keep their children safe (also available in Spanish), and should also consult our “Tips for Parents” page.

If parents choose not to have their child participate in the safe environment training, they must sign a form acknowledging that the information about preventing child sexual abuse was made available to them. This form is available for children in the schools or in the religious education programs.

Our Office has also produced age-appropriate materials to use in conjunction with the safe environment classroom lessons:

  • A coloring book for the primary grades. To download a black and white version of the coloring book, which you can reproduce for your program, click either the English Coloring Book or Spanish Coloring Book. To order pre-printed and bound coloring books with a glossy color cover, contact Geri at Bronx Design at 718.409.9874.
  • Decorative posters that can be used in your parish or school. Our Office has also produced decorative posters to use in conjunction with the safe environment classroom lessons. To order the posters, contact Geri at Bronx Design at 718.409.9874.

    You can view a full-sized version of the poster or download a small printable version (in Adobe PDF format):

“Bathing Suit Rule” –  Download

Be On Guard Online – Download

Be Safe Together – Download

Friendship is Love – Download

God’s Greatest Gift – Download

Jesus Always Loves Us – Download

This is a Safe Environment – Download

Trash Talk – Download

To order the posters, contact Geri at Bronx Design at 718.409.9874.

  • A comic book for the older grades. To download the comic book to be reproduced for your program, click here (a Spanish edition is being prepared and will be posted soon). To order pre-printed and bound comic books with a glossy color cover, contact Geri at Bronx Design at 718.409.9874.