The Office of Child Protection and Victim Assistance

The Office of Child Protection and Victim Assistance provides opportunities to report abuse, heal from abuse, and find support. Additionally, this office works to ensure that all children and youth in programs throughout the diocese have a safe environment full of caring and responsible adults to watch over them.

The Office of Child Protection performs background checks and safe environment training for adults and youth in accordance with the requirements of the USCCB Charter on the Protection of Children.

Here are the commitments the Diocese of Arlington makes with regard to allegations of sexual abuse and protecting God’s children:

  • No person in ministry has been credibly accused of sexual abuse
  • We report EVERY allegation of sexual abuse to legal authorities and fully cooperate with their investigation
  • Our Review Board, which reviews all available evidence provided by the Diocese and legal authorities with regard to allegations of sexual abuse after law enforcement is notified, is made up of mostly lay volunteers with professional expertise (medical, psychological, legal (civil and canonical), and child abuse)
  • All staff and volunteers who work with children are screened before they are given access to children or ministries
  • All staff and volunteers who work with children are trained to identify inappropriate behavior, grooming techniques used by abusers, and how to report suspicious behavior or abuse
  • Each and every allegation of sexual abuse is taken seriously

 

Learn how the Diocese handles sexual abuse allegations

Recent diocesan responses:

Recent Vatican and USCCB responses:

Important notices:

 

Programs and Resources

VIRTUS Logo

VIRTUS

VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children Safe Environment Training for Adults

Child with Bible

Youth Training Programs

Safe Environment Training Programs for Children and Youths

Filling Out Form

Background Checks

Paperwork for employees and volunteers to complete for compliance with the Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse.

Statue of Mary in Shrine at Church

Liaisons

Liaisons serve as the primary contact point for child protection related questions and policy implementation at the parish or school level.

USCCB CYP Pledge to Heal

USCCB Charter & Norms

Governing documents from the USCCB on the Protection of Children/Youth, providing safe environments, and reporting of abuse.

Stack of Reports

Annual Reports

Past Annual Child Protection, Victim Assistance, Advisory Board Reports and Victim/Survivor Sharing.

Nave of Church

Child Protection Resources

Additional Resources for Parents, Volunteers and Employees for the protection of children and youth and the promotion of a safe environment

Man Speaking

Facilitators

Facilitators are individuals trained to provide the VIRTUS: Protecting God's Children Training to employees and volunteers for completion of the required training under the policy.

Diocesan-logo-640-480px

Diocesan Review Board

View the names and professions of the current board members.

Cross-Clouds-Sunlight-640-480px

Counseling and Programs for Those Sexually Abused by Clergy

Explore opportunities for healing and growth including spiritual and pyschological counseling, Healing Masses, Prayers Services and Support Group Evenings with Bishop Burbidge and an Annual Day Long Retreat.

rescource card recommended reading many books

Recommended Reading for Those Sexually Abused by Clergy

Check out talks from previous annual retreats, read messages of hope from survivors, and learn about books that other victim survivors have found helpful.

Bishop-Burbidge-Cassock-Seated-640-480px

Bishop Burbidge's Message for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Clergy

Read Bishop Burbidge's message and personal commitment to hope and healing for those sexually abused by clergy, religious, lay volunteers, and employees of the Church.

Read the Letter

Frequently Asked Questions

Expand / Collapse All

Does the Diocese have a Review Board? If so, are the members only priests?

The Diocesan Review Board accesses allegations of sexual abuse of minors and regularly review diocesan policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors. The membership of the Review Board is publicly available and is comprised of mostly lay people who are professionals in the areas of psychiatry, social services, law, education, etc.

When did the Diocese create policies to prevent, report and investigate child sexual abuse?

In 1991, the Diocese of Arlington instituted its Policy on the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse. The policy described the purpose as follows: “The policy is intended to establish requirements and procedures in an effort to prevent possible sexual misconduct and/or child abuse by personnel of the diocese and the resulting harm to others, while the work of the diocese is being performed, and to provide guidance to the diocesan personnel on how to respond to actual and/or suspected incidents of sexual misconduct and/or child abuse by personnel of the diocese.” It applied to all diocesan staff, clergy and volunteers.

 

In 2002, the U.S. Bishops issued the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which is a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It also established guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse that all staff and volunteers are held strictly accountable to. It has been revised 3 times (2005, 2011, and 2018) in order to account for the latest advancements in best practices. 

 

For more information on the Charter, CLICK HERE

Who must undergo a background check?

 

According to the Diocese of Arlington's Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse, all employees of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington--all direct employees of any parish, diocesan school or diocesan office--regardless of contact with children must complete a background check.  Additionally, any volunteer with ministry with substantial contact with children must complete a background check.  However, background checks alone are not sufficient for compliance with the policy.

Additional information about the background check process of the Diocese of Arlington can be found on our Background Checks page.

Which adults must attend training?

According to the Diocese of Arlington's Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse, all employees of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington--all direct employees of any parish, diocesan school or diocesan office--regardless of contact with children must attend safe environment training.  Additionally, any volunteer with ministry with "substantial contact" with children must attend safe environment training.  However, training attendance alone is not sufficient for compliance with the policy.

Additional information about adult safe environment training in the Diocese of Arlington can be found on our VIRTUS: Protecting God's Children for Adults Training page.

When do I need to fill out paperwork or attend training?

If you are required to comply with the Policy, background check paperwork must be submitted to the Office of Child Protection prior to the start of employment or volunteer ministry.  The required training must be completed within 45 days of the start of your service.