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Schools and parents are on the front lines when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse. There are steps you can take to protect your own children and others too:
Get educated about child sexual abuse:
Look at statistics and learn more about the problem. Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, has compiled statistics and facts on child sexual abuse and it can be viewed by clicking here.
Minimize opportunities for sexual abuse:
Find out how sexual predators groom potential victims. Think carefully about any settings/situations your children will be in. To learn more on how to minimize these opportunities from Darkness to Light, click here.
Teach children to recognize sexual abuse and to report it:
Emotional and behavioral signs are more common than physical signs. For tips on how to talk to talk about it from Darkness to Light, click here.
New Jersey Child Assault Prevention is a statewide community based prevention program, available to schools in the Diocese, to reduce children’s vulnerability to abuse, neglect and bullying by providing comprehensive prevention workshops for children, parent and school staff.
STOPit is a mobile app, available to schools in the Diocese, which allows students to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials. To learn more about the STOPit app, click here.
Learn to recognize the signs that a child is being abused:
Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for. To learn more on how to recognize the signs from Darkness to Light, click here.
Protecting God’s Children® for Adults is training conducted by VIRTUS® certified facilitators on the prevention of child sexual abuse. The training makes participants aware of the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five easy steps one can use to prevent child sexual abuse. To learn more about the Diocesan offerings of this program, click here.
Make sure all places are safe for your children:
Churches, schools, and youth organizations must ensure that children and youth who worship, study, or participate in activities they sponsor can do so in the safest and most secure setting possible.
Our diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection staff members work to ensure that clergy and for any other paid personnel and volunteers in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people receive VIRTUS® training and adhere to the Pastoral Code of Conduct.
Fingerprinting/background checks are required for school and parish employees, volunteers, and Department of Education Background Checks are required for all educators. To learn more about the Diocesan fingerprinting/background check process, click here.
The ParishSOFT Safe Environment Program is a secured web-based application which collects Safe Environment Program data about individuals and stores it in a central diocesan database. The program helps the Diocese of Metuchen and its organizations to protect those whom we serve by ensuring that the employees and volunteers across the diocese exemplify civil law compliance and personal integrity. To learn more about the ParishSOFT Safe Environment Program, click here.
The RCL Benziger Family Life Series program for children is used in the Diocese of Metuchen's Catholic elementary schools and religious education programs that includes age-appropriate materials pertaining to personal safety that conforms to Catholic teachings.
Do not be afraid to speak up, even to Church Leaders:
Under church law, you have the right and responsibility to bring concerns about these matters to the attention of the clergy. Canon Law 208-223 can be viewed here.