National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April is dedicated to raising awareness about child abuse and working together to bring about an end to child abuse and neglect and create caring, supportive environments and experiences for children. Our Catholic Church continues its commitment to ensure the safety of children and prevent abuse, and, specifically this month, we give thanks for the many members of our community who join in this mission.
Our work with young people and vulnerable adults is directed by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June 2002 and revised in 2005, 2011 and 2018.
The Charter directs action for:
- Creating a safe environment for children and young people
- Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors
- Responding promptly and effectively to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy
- Cooperating with civil authorities
- Disciplining offenders
- Providing means of accountability for the future to ensure issues continue to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board
Learn about Child & Youth Protection in our Diocese: Reporting abuse | Compliance and audits | Additional resources
Safe environment policies and procedures in the Diocese (English | Español)
Catholics participate in “Healing Our Church” (Fall 2019)
Learn about family support programs available through Catholic Charities West Michigan
Highlights about our safe environment program in the Diocese of Grand Rapids from the 2022 annual report
From the USCCB:
Abuse Prevention Resources
Protection of Children and Young People: includes information on child abuse prevention, print materials, information about child abuse and human trafficking, and resources from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Prayer for healing of victims of abuse
Read more about the efforts of our Catholic Church here: Leaders in prevention: USCCB Charter marks 20 years (June 2022)