Safe Environment

Safe Environment

“As a background I want to call your attention to research that indicates Sexual Violence affects one out of every four girls and one out of every six boys before they turn eighteen’ (Finkelor, 1993). This statistic has remained constant throughout the years. As a community of faith we must frame our efforts within this reality.” (From a letter from the Archdiocese’ Office for Child and Youth Protection, promoting the poster component of its victim’s assistance campaign, April 15, 2013).’

As the statistics point out, Pedophilia, the sexually victimizing of children & youth, is rampant throughout the world, including within the United States of America. It is an addiction. Like all addicts, the pedophile is extremely skilled in manipulating their victims and abusing the trust of the victim’s family. The wounds created in every victim of a pedophile are horrific and last a life time. Because the vast majority of pedophiles occupy roles of trust within families, churches communities, school, youth groups, etc. they are extremely difficult to detect. Regrettably, during the first decade of the new Millennia, the poison of pedophilia has been agonizingly revealed among members of the Roman Catholic clergy. In response to this large scale threat to the psychological & moral well-being of all children, the Catholic Church has developed strict policies/guidelines which must be adhered to by every adult [salaried and/or volunteer] who has any contact with children participating in any way in the life of the faith community. Those requirements are the following:

• Criminal background check and child abuse clearance.

• Attendance at Safe Environment training.

• Acknowledgement of Ministerial Behavior.

• Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance

• Check of any Federal Criminal History by the FBI.

• Each parish/school must have a designated Safe Environment Coordinator

• All records are reviewed each year by the Archdiocese and all participants must have their records renewed/updated every five years.

• In addition, the Archdiocese has created a fully staffed and trained office dedicated to protection of all children: Office for Child and Youth Protection.

A second way in which the Church seeks to protect all children is to educate the children themselves and the adults in their lives. Children are taught how to recognize and respond to adult behavior that is not healthy or normal. Adult staff and volunteers are taught how to recognize potential victims of pedophilia and how they are expected to respond for them.

Listed below is contact information that you are encouraged to take advantage of both for the wealth of information available in them, and more importantly for assistance that you will need should you be a victim of pedophilia or a person who finds themselves in a position to intercede for a child. There is support for both the victim and the courageous person who steps forward to protect a child.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Office for Child and Youth (Responsible for Victim Assistance + Safe Environment)[888]800-8780 * [215]587-2466 * Fax [215]587-3711
E Mail:

Pennsylvania Department of Welfare’s ChildLine: 1-[800] 932—0313

Philadelphia Police Department:
District is the 24th:
24th Police District,
3901 Whitaker Ave., Phila. PA 19134
[215] 686-3240

“Children and Youth Division”of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services:
1515 Arch Street, Phila. PA 19102 [215]683-4347

You may also contact the child’s Priest, Principal, Teacher, Doctor, School Nurse or School Counselor, all of whom are obligated by law to follow-up on your report. In Mother of Divine Grace School, Principal, Mrs. Jane Lockhart is the designated reporter of any incident of inappropriate behavior.