Of Dioceses/Eparchies Compliance with the
Charter to Protect Children and Young People
September 20, 2002
On August 7, 2002, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a survey to all 195 dioceses and eparchies in the United States to get a snapshot of how the Charter is being implemented. The survey asked nine specific questions related to key initiatives called for by the Charter, in addition, the survey asked for when initiatives would be met. With responses from 186 (95%) dioceses/eparchies received the results are very positive across the country.
There are common themes evident in the survey results. For instance, all dioceses/eparchies that answered in the negative to any of the nine questions were confident the new procedures would be in place no later than early 2003. In most cases, respondents indicated they would have implemented all major areas of the Charter by December 2002. Thus even negative responses did not indicate lack of support for any aspects of the Charter. Rather respondents were looking for advice on how to implement those aspects which they had not yet implemented, given their particular circusmstances.
In a few cases, certain dioceses/eparchies indicated they were slow to implement the Charter due to financial reasons. Stating their rural location, lack of funding, small support staffs, or other individual circumstance, nevertheless, they would be contacting possible volunteers for review boards and implementing the Charter as soon as possible within reason.
In regard to Question 5b, there are more responses "I" (Incomplete) than to any other question. This reflects the variety of legal requirements to which dioceses are called to respond and the fact that many requirements are under review by state legislatures.
The following is a look at the answers to each question of the survey. Percentages are out of the total 195 dioceses that received a survey.
1. Does the diocese/eparchy have a written policy on sexual abuse? Is the policy available to the public?
Yes 179 (92%) No 6* (3%) I 1 (.5%)
*Of the six, one diocese is currently in the drafting phase, while one has not made its newly drafted policy public yet; however, it plans to do so in the near future. Three indicated plans to have a written policy in the near future. There was one "no" without explanation.
2. Are the procedures for making a complaint readily available, in printed form, and the subject of public announcements? If not, when do you anticipate that this will be in place?
Yes 156 (80%) No 29* (15%) I 1 (.5%)
*Of the 29, 13 plan to comply by October, 2002. The rest indicate by the end of the year.
3. Does the diocese/eparchy have an assistance coordinator who aids in the immediate pastoral care of victims of sexual abuse by church personnel? If no, when do you anticipate such a position being filled?
Yes 133 (68%) No 52* (27%) I 1 (.5%)
*Of the 52, 24 plan to comply by the end of the year.
4. Does the diocese/eparchy have a review board, the majority of whose members are lay persons not in the employ of the diocese/eparchy? If not, when do you anticipate having this in place?
Yes 149 (76%) No 34* (17%) I 3 (1.5%)
*Of the 34, 25 plan to comply by the end of the year.
5. Does your state include clergy on the list of mandatory reporters?
Yes 123 (63%) No 54 (28%) I 9 (5%)
Do you also report past or old cases to the civil authorities?
Yes 105 (54%) No 48 (25%) I 33 (17%)
6. Does the diocese/eparchy have a statement or policy describing appropriate standards for ministerial behavior for clergy and other church personnel? If not, when do you anticipate that this will be in place?
Yes 118 (61%) No 66* (34%) I 2 (1%)
*Most are in the process of reviewing or updating their personnel handbooks to comply with the Charter by the end of the year.
7. Has the diocese/eparchy initiated a "safe environment" program for training and education of clergy, staff, teachers, parents, youth, etc. on detection and prevention of child sexual abuse? If you do not yet have such a program, when do you anticipate having it in place?
Yes 127 (65%) No 56* (29%) I 3 (1.5%)
*Of the 56, most are looking into the VIRTUS/National Catholic Risk Retention Group"s plan to implement by the end of the year.
8. Does the diocese/eparchy have procedures to check the background of clergy, church ministers, and other volunteers who have regular contact with minors? If not, when do you anticipate having these procedures in place?
Yes 160 (82%) No 23* (12%) I 3 (1.5%)
*Of the 23, most are developing procedures or revising older ones.
9. Has the local bishop/eparch been in dialogue with the Major Superiors of the Religious in the diocese/eparchy regarding the status of members of religious life? If this has not yet occurred, when do you anticipate such a dialogue taking place?
Yes 144 (74%) No 39* (20%) I 3 (1.5%)
*Of the 39, 7 indicated they have no religious working in their diocese/eparchy, and most indicated they were scheduled to have meetings with religious superiors by the end of the year.