The Catholic Church of St. Ann and the Archdiocese of Atlanta are committed to helping children and young people learn and grow in a healthy and safe environment. The thousands of children who attend Mass here and are enrolled in our programs are guided and inspired by volunteers, clergy and staff who have been specially trained to keep our young people safe.
A set of procedures handed down from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 and updated regularly is the foundation of St. Ann’s safe environment policies. Clergy, staff and volunteers at St. Ann work on many fronts to ensure safety here:
•Training: St. Ann proudly offers safe environment training through a program called VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children. Available nearly every week around Atlanta and on the St. Ann campus, this course is designed to prevent wrongdoing in religious organizations and communities and promote “right-doing.” The parish requires all volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults to go through this course every five years. Sign up for VIRTUS Workshops.
•Mandatory reporting: All clergy, staff members and volunteers at St. Ann are required to report to state authorities if they have reasonable cause to suspect a child is being abused. If you think a child is being abused, take action.
•Background checks: Staff and volunteers at St. Ann are required to submit to a background check every five years.
•Campus security: St. Ann shut down access to the classrooms where our young people gather for religious education and preschool. Only credentialed staff have key cards to pass through these hallways during school hours.
•Launch Children’s Ministry: St. Ann’s religious education program for elementary school aged children has developed policies to ensure the safety of our parish youth.
•Social media policy: The Archdiocese of Atlanta and St. Ann recognize the powerful tool electronic media can be to evangelize and educate. St. Ann’s communications department has implemented the social media policies recommended by the archdiocese including having at least two parish employees overseeing every social media account and not advertising or making accessible to youth staff and volunteer accounts.
What is the hierarchy of the church doing in response to the recent revelations concerning the sexual abuse crisis?
Bishops to address abuse at November meeting: http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-172.cfm
Cupich says bishops must cede authority: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/exclusive-cupich-says-bishops-must-cede-authority-allow-lay-oversight
Pope accepts Weurl's resignation: https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2018/10/pope-accepts-cardinal-wuerls-resignation-as-washington-archbishop/
Pope Francis defrocks Chilean priests: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/francis-defrocks-two-retired-chilean-bishops-demonstrated-abuse-minors
Atlanta archbishop responds to abuse crisis: https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2018/10/archbishop-answers-important-questions-from-parishioners/
Bishops set goals for investigation, reporting, resolution: http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-139.cfm
Pope summons bishops to meeting on abuse scandal: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/world/europe/pope-bishops-conference.html
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/charter.cfm
Safe Environment Office: https://archatl.com/ministries-services/safe-environment/
How do I contact the hierarchy and make my voice known?
What are the causes of such behavior?
The John Jay College Study http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf
Separating facts about clergy abuse from fiction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201808/separating-facts-about-clergy-abuse-fiction
Clergy sex abuse not about gay priests: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/09/10/clergy-sex-abuse-not-about-gay-priests-top-psychologist-says/
Where can I go to read more about keeping my children safe?
Create safe environments at school, church, home: https://archatl.com/offices/child-and-youth-protection/resources/
Technology safety through the eyes of faith: https://www.faithandsafety.org
Virtus parent handbook: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ParentHandbook.pdf
Where can I go to read more about the sex abuse crisis?
National Catholic Reporter: www.ncronline.com
Catholic News Service: www.catholicnews.com