The VIRTUS® programs assist the Church in being a safe haven for children and a messenger for preventing child sexual abuse within the Church and society in general. We seek to achieve this lofty goal through our child sexual abuse prevention program: PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN™.
Most organizations that work with children have some sort of child safety program. Through the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program, we maximize those efforts by helping churches and religious organizations refine their roles as child safe environments and empowering them with new tools to help them, and adults and parents, protect children.
Child abusers seek to operate and abuse their power within nurturing, child-friendly environments where it is assumed that nobody would want to harm a child. Religious organizations of all faiths are an easy target. The PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program implements safety mechanisms that send a message to all abusers and potential abusers:
By utilizing best practices for training and loss prevention, the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program helps make churches safe for all people—especially children.
Maximizing a church's role as a child-safe environment begins with making adults more aware of the ways children and adults interact with each other. The PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program educates and trains adults (clergy, religious, teachers, staff, volunteers, and parents) about the dangers of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, the methods of properly reporting suspicions of abuse, and responding to allegations of abuse.
All VIRTUS training programs, including the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN programs, are comprehensive and multi-dimensional—incorporating proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, volunteers, and others who interact with children within the church environment. Our training programs incorporate instructor-led training, train-the-facilitator education, awareness videos, and regularly scheduled continuing education and training via state-of-the-art web-based training and education courses.
For any organization, the best practice to prevent wrongdoing, including child sexual abuse, is to have an organization use its own people to facilitate awareness of the issue. The PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program begins with the training of internal facilitators—individuals selected by the archidiocese, diocese, or religious organization to train other adults and parents on how to best protect children. We use facilitator-led awareness sessions and web-based training so that participants learn the best methods for delivering their message, including the training for the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program.
We begin by making adults of the Church that interact with children aware of how to protect children. Our PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN program for adults is a three to four hour awareness session that instructs adults of the Church that interact with children that to protect children you must have continuous awareness and vigilance. This awareness session makes trainees understand the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse and five empowerment steps one can use to prevent child sexual abuse.
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