Office of Safe Environment

We are deeply committed to creating safe environments within the Church for children and youth. We reach out to all who serve the Church as clergy, religious and laity to join this commitment by fully complying with regulations as set forth by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop Emeritus.

Scroll down to see the mandates for clergy, employees and volunteers, which were established in response to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our promise to protect children and youth flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.

Every year the Diocese of Brooklyn participates in the required USCCB audit of the Charter for the
Protection of Children and Young People. Every year since its 2004, the Diocese has been deemed in
compliance with the mandates of the charter.

Anyone in the Diocese of Brooklyn who has direct contact with children is required to follow the Safe Environment Mandates below.

CONTACT:
Maryellen Quinn
Coordinator of the Safe Environment Office
Phone: 718-965-7300, ext. 2107
Fax: 718-281-9673
safe@diobrook.org
The office is located at 310 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, 11215.

SAFE ENVIRONMENT MANDATES

I. Attend a VIRTUS workshop: Protecting God’s Children for Adults
The VIRTUS program for adults is a three-hour live awareness session that instructs adults of the Church that to protect children you must have continuous awareness and vigilance. This awareness session helps trainees understand signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five empowerment steps to prevent child sexual abuse. Register online

II. Sign the Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is a document that acknowledges the importance of legal, professional and responsible conduct of all who work with children and young people. All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to read the Code of Conduct and to sign a Statement of Acknowledgement Form. The Code of Conduct is distributed at all VIRTUS sessions. Members of the clergy should read the Code of Pastoral Conduct, copies of which can be obtained from the Office of Clergy Personnel as well as the Diaconate Formation Office. Copies can also be found here on the Diocesan website and also on the DioNet intranet site.

Code of Conduct for Employees: English | Spanish
Code of Conduct for Volunteers: English | Spanish
Code of Conduct for Clergy: English | Spanish
Statement of Acknowledgment: English | Spanish

III. Authorize a criminal background screening
All clergy, religious, employees, and volunteers are also required to have a criminal background screening completed before they start their employment or service. These forms are also distributed at all VIRTUS sessions. All background screenings will be done through the Safe Environment Office. The searches are done through Selection.com. Once a background screening is submitted the individual’s background will be checked against the national database quarterly. All information is kept confidential and if a positive the result is returned, the pastor/administrator will be notified, and appropriate steps will be taken.

Background Search Authorization: English | Spanish

Further Requirements

  • Continuing Education: All clergy, employees and volunteers who have direct access to children are required to do continuing training, which consists of reading monthly bulletins on the VIRTUS website and correctly answering questions about the bulletin. The VIRTUS system will send an e-mail reminder when a new bulletin is posted. There is also an annual re-certification, which is done online.
  • Transfers: Anyone who transfers to a new parish or school must fill out a new background search and Code of Conduct form.
  • High school-aged volunteers have the option to attend either a VIRTUS workshop or complete an online teen safety course, Healthy Relationships.  This program is provided by Virtus and can be accessed by registering on the Virtus website.

Children – All children in the Diocese of Brooklyn are required to participate in Child Lures Prevention. The Child Lures Prevention program teaches children essential safety with a non-frightening approach which preserves the innocence and optimism of childhood. The program is presented in every school and faith formation program in the Diocese.

Religious Communities: All Religious in the Diocese must submit an authenticated letter of suitability from their Superior/Ordinary. Should the religious communities use a training program other than Virtus, they are to submit the information on this program to the Bishop. If the community does not have a training and clearance program in place, they are welcome to be trained and cleared by the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Visiting Clergy: Must submit an authenticated letter of suitability, from their Superior/Ordinary, including Safe Environment status, from their home diocese or Religious order, one month prior to their arrival in the Diocese of Brooklyn. This letter must be submitted to the Chancery.

International Clergy: Must submit an authenticated letter of suitability from their Superior/Ordinary including Safe Environment status, from their home diocese of Religious order, one month prior to their arrival in the Diocese of Brooklyn. If the home diocese does not have a training and clearance program in place, the clergy member MUST be trained and cleared by the Diocese of Brooklyn.