VIRTUS is the Archdiocese of Atlanta required training for those interacting with children, youth, teens and vulnerable adults. VIRTUS Training is offered throughout the Archdiocese at various churches.
Effective January 1, 2016, the Archdiocese of Atlanta began utilizing VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children for Safe Environment training, which replaced the You Matter custom program. VIRTUS is a nationally recognized vendor utilized by 120 dioceses across the United States, offering a comprehensive program including Safe Environment training for adults, children and youth. VIRTUS also provides a convenient way for participants to register for training sessions, and allows participants to read and sign Safe Environment policies online.
WHAT IS VIRTUS PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN TRAINING SESSION?
The VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children Program incorporates proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, volunteers, and others who interact with children within the Catholic Church and School environments. Participants are made aware of the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and are presented with five easy steps to prevent child sexual abuse. Two videos are the centerpiece of the training. Facilitators incorporate Archdiocesan policies and procedures into the training, defining child sexual abuse and addressing the legal requirements of reporting child sexual abuse.
“The VIRTUS training program implements safety mechanisms that send a message to all abusers and potential abusers: Child Abuse is not tolerated. Children are vigilantly protected. Victims are listened to, heard, and shielded from further abuse. And offenders are identified and punished.” – VIRTUS Online Website
WHY AM I REQUIRED TO ATTEND A VIRTUS PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN TRAINING SESSION?
Recognizing that each individual is created by God, the Archdiocese of Atlanta is committed to the safety and well-being of its children and vulnerable adults and implements procedures to minimize risk and barriers to build and foster a culture of a safe environment. Requiring clergy, employees, and volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable individuals to attend the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training is part of a comprehensive Safe Environment training package.
The Archdiocese does not tolerate abuse or neglect of anyone. It will comply with all obligations of civil and Canon Law; it will promote healing where it is needed, provide education, training and guidance when it is appropriate, and endeavor to prevent any abuse of minors or vulnerable adults with firm justice and mercy towards all.
Individuals will be notified by their Safe Environment Coordinator when it is time to renew their background screening and/or take the refresher course: both are required to be renewed every five years.
New clergy, employees, and volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable individuals must attend a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training before they begin paid or volunteer work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta or within 60 days of their scheduled start date*. Continuing Education training consists of monthly bulletins sent via email to each user after attending a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children.
*The 60 day grace period is ONLY applicable for employees and/or volunteers who DO NOT work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
Please note that background screenings will be renewed every five years.
Every parish and school in the Archdiocese of Atlanta has a designated Safe Environment coordinator who will be assisting employees, volunteers and parents with this transition. Please do not hesitate to contact Jim Dooley Lay Parish Administrator, with your questions or concerns.