VIRTUS Program

VIRTUS® PROGRAM
Protecting God’s Children

VIRTUS® Protecting God’s Children Adult Awareness Session

This is a three-hour training that helps clergy, staff, volunteers and parents to understand the facts and myths about child sexual abuse; how perpetrators operate; and how caring adults can take five important steps to keep children safe. The parent session also stresses monitoring of computers, cell phones and other technology that perpetrators use to gain access to children and young people.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles mandates this training for all adults working with children. This education component helps prevent child sexual abuse by first making every adult employee and volunteer aware of the issues surrounding child sexual abuse. This includes awareness of the many ways sexual abuse harms its victims, their families, the parish, and the community. The awareness session also helps adults learn to recognize the warning signs of abuse and shows them the appropriate way to respond to suspicious behavior. Finally, the awareness session empowers each person with five steps to help prevent child sexual abuse. More than 50,000 priests, deacons, parish and school staff members and volunteers have already participated in these sessions throughout the five Pastoral Regions of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Our goal is to provide this training to all adults who work with children so we can work together as a more effective community to prevent child sexual abuse.

RECERTIFICATION FOR VIRTUS CLASS

A re-certification is required every FOUR years for those who have taken the original Protecting God’s Children training. This Re-certification is known as “Keeping the Promise Alive” and it is a 1 ½ hour session for which you will get a Certificate valid for another three years. You need to submit a copy of this certificate to the head of your ministry.

FIND AND UPCOMING VIRTUS CLASS IN YOUR AREA

1. Go to www.virtusonline.com

  1. Select “Registration” on the left side of the screen
  2. At the right of “select your organization” scroll down to Los Angeles Archdiocese and the region where you want to attend a session. In our case you need to scroll down to and click on Los Angeles – San Pedro Region (Archdiocese). Click, and the available sessions in that region will appear. If no sessions are available in that region or the dates and times don’t work for you, feel free to try a nearby region.
  3. When you find a session that works, click and follow the on-screen instructions to create a user ID and password, enter your name and contact information, places where you work (or volunteer or worship), your roles (e.g. Volunteer), answer the other questions, choose the session, and confirm.

Note: Most sessions are open to participants from other parishes and schools, but you must call the phone number in the message box to reserve a space. If you just register online, your space will not be guaranteed at the session.

Some sessions are limited to participants from the church/school only. If the session you want is one of those, please select another session. Thank you.

SAFEGUARD THE CHILDREN

Every effort is made to assure that all persons ministering in the Archdiocese are aware of and will abide by the policies prohibiting sexual abuse, harassment or exploitation and of the procedures for dealing with incidents of sexual misconduct.

All priests, seminarians, Church and School personnel as well as catechist, parent volunteers and other minister who come into contact with minors are screened for their ability to work with children. It is also mandated for them to take a Child Sexual Abuse Awareness session- also known as Virtus- and is offered guidelines to interact with minors; such guidelines are provided by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Safeguarding the Children Committee.
virtus@stanthonyes.comAFTER TAKING THE ORIGINAL VIRTUS CLASS

You need to register online – PGC CLASS. After you have taken the Protecting God’s Children – Virtus Session you must go to virtusonline.org and register, by registering, you will be notified of all the updates to the program (including availability of taking the Virtus Re-Certification class online). Follow the next simple steps:

1. Go to www.virtusonline.com

2. Select “Registration” on the left side of the screen

3. Select “begin the registration process”

4. Follow information on the screen to input your information

PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Once a year the children enrolled in our Religious Education Program are offered a Program called “Teaching Touching Safety” which is a vehicle through which parents, teachers, catechists, and youth ministers give children and young people the tools they need to protect themselves from those who might harm them

Each year, the program provides a theme that introduces and builds on the basic concepts of the Teaching Touching Safety Guide. The material is developmentally appropriate for each age group and includes content and activities that reinforce the message.

The lessons are organized in a three-year cycle so each child experiences a totally different lesson plan each time the materials are presented and so each child receives the full range of information from the Teaching Touching Safety Guide in small, “digestible” bites, over a three-year period. Then, as a child advances to the next age group, there are a whole new set of age-appropriate lessons that explore the major topics in increasingly greater detail.

Parents may choose to “opt-out” from this class, however, they need to turn in the opt-out form to their DRE. For more information click on the link below.

Some Catholic Schools implement the Program called “Good Touch – Bad Touch” whose aim is to teach children how to protect themselves just as the Teaching Touching Safety Program.

OTHER LINKS

www.virtus.org/virtus

http://www.virtus.org/virtus/touchingsafetyprogram.cfm

http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/safeguard/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.archdiocese.la/protecting/resources/index.html

PRAYER FOR OUR CHILDREN
Lord, giver of light, and hope, you have entrusted your children to our care.
We cherish their love and energy for life.
Help us to help them be people of strength, character and integrity.
Share with us the love that will guide their hearts.
Share with us the courage that will shape their future.
Be the light that guides them- and us to your glory and goodness.


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