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 of Brooklyn.

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.

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

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


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
Statement of Acknowledgment: English | Spanish

III. Authorize a criminal background screening
All 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. As of May 2010, all background screenings (employees and volunteers) will be done through the Safe Environment Office. The searches are done through LexisNexis (volunteers) or HireRight (employees). All information is kept confidential and if a positive result is returned, the pastor/administrator will be notified and appropriate steps will be taken. Background searches will be rerun every 3 years for employees and 5 years for volunteers.

Background Search Authorization: English | Spanish

Further Requirements

  • Continuing Education: All clergy and employees 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.