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What is Catholic Safe Environment Training?

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When it comes to ending child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, policy and procedure statements, like the child protection policy, are an important step in the right direction. However, such documents only go so far. 

Initiatives like the Safe Environment Coordinator program are an important additional step. The SEC is basically the point person in a church or diocese for most sexual abuse prevention matters. There is a single point of contact who addresses concerns, provides information, manages the environment, and is fully accountable to Church leadership.

These two efforts may well stop child sexual abuse in Catholic churches. But many times, a third step is necessary. Clergy sexual abuse attorneys take that third step. Attorneys hold Church officials accountable when they ignore agreed-upon procedures and put children at risk. Additionally, attorneys obtain compensation for these victims. This money covers things like therapy expenses and lost wages, as well as the severe pain and suffering that these victims endure.

What are Safe Environment Training (SET) Rules?

Every Catholic Church in the world must comply with mandatory SET guidelines. Some important ones include:

  • Training adults to recognize abuse red flags, as well as children who may have been abused.
  • A written and specific Code of Conduct which applies to anyone who regularly comes in contact with children, including clergy, volunteers, staff, and anyone else who is in a position of trust.
  • Sharing age-appropriate materials with children regarding the Church’s stance on sexual abuse, some basics about abuse, what to do if they are abused, and other such issues.

Additionally, the Church must be completely transparent with parents. If the Church is less than forthcoming about any of these matters, it may be best to consult an attorney.

How are Dioceses and Eparchies Implementing the SET Program?

Local congregations have a great deal of freedom in this area. Generally, they may design and put into place their own SET programs, as long as the initiative fully complies with the mandatory standards set out above. Legally, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is the only written policy that matters. Compliance with a local SET program may be evidence of compliance, but such proof is far from compelling.

Who Must Be Trained?

As a general rule, anyone who comes into contact with children on a regular basis must be SET certified. In addition, these individuals are fully accountable for their actions. Legally, if they are negligent or commit a tort, like assault, the Church is responsible for the person’s actions or inactions.

How Long Will The SET Policy Remain in Effect?

Safety has no expiration date, especially where children’s interactions with adults are concerned. So, the SET will remain in effect until it is modified, rescinded, or replaced.

What does the Church Teach About Sexual Abuse?

The sanctity of the body is one of the core teachings of Christianity. The Church goes even further, declaring the “human body shares in the dignity of the image of God.” As such, every person deserves love and respect. Anyone who violates that respect violates a central tenet of the faith. Children and other vulnerable individuals need special protection in this area.

Reach Out to a Lawyer

Policies and procedures, like the SET initiative, provide important and legally binding ground rules. For a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Orange County, contact DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. We routinely handle matters in Orange County and nearby jurisdictions.