You are encouraged to download and read the Charter document (and other valuable material) from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website on the Child & Youth Protection page at http://www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/index.cfm
Safe Environment Compliance
The Safe Environment program of the Archdiocese of Atlanta is a program in which clergy, employees and volunteers who work in the Archdiocese of Atlanta participate. This includes, but is not limited to bishops, priests, religious, seminarians, deacons, school personnel, parish employees, Chancery employees. Also included are volunteers who work or have contact with children, youth, and/or vulnerable individuals.
To be Safe Environment compliant a person must have passed a background screening through the Archdiocese of Atlanta and attended a live three (3) hour VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children (PGC) training session.
What is VIRTUS?
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. Please see the calendar below for upcoming training dates, times, and locations.
What is the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session?
The VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training incorporates proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by all who interact with children. 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 steps to prevent child sexual abuse. Facilitators incorporate Archdiocesan policies and procedures into the training, defining child sexual abuse, and addressing the legal requirements of reporting child sexual abuse, along with the two videos that are a part of the session.
“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 website
Why am I required to attend a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session?
The Archdiocese of Atlanta is committed to the safety and well-being of its children, youth, and vulnerable individuals. The program implements procedures to minimize risk while building and fostering a culture of a safety. It requires all clergy, all employees, and volunteers working with children, youth, and/or vulnerable individuals to attend the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training which is part of the comprehensive Safe Environment compliance program.
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.
Who must attend a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session?
All clergy, all employees regardless of duties, 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*.
*The 60 day grace period is ONLY applicable for employees who DO NOT work with children, youth, and/or vulnerable adults.
Continuing education training consists of monthly bulletins sent via email to select users (e.g. educators, youth ministers) after attending a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children.
Individuals will be notified by the Safe Environment Coordinator at their location when it is time to renew their background screening and/or take the refresher course. Both the background screening and VIRTUS training are required to be renewed every five years.
Where can I find the VIRTUS training session schedule for the Archdiocese of Atlanta?
You can see all available VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children sessions scheduled within the Archdiocese of Atlanta by using the Session Calendar and Search box below. You may attend any session convenient to you.
The Session Calendar will show all the dates in which a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children session is scheduled in bold. By clicking on the bold number you can view time and location of the VIRTUS PGC session.
The Search box allows you to search for sessions in a specific date range, proximity to a specific zip code, language (Categories), or parish/school name (Locations). Once you complete the fields, click Submit Search. A list of available sessions will appear in a separate window.
How do I pre-register for a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session?
- Go to https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/.
- Click the green First-Time Registrant box on the left hand side of the screen.
- Select Begin the registration process.
- Select Atlanta, GA (Archdiocese) from the drop down menu.
- Create User ID and password. Do not use a shared email address.
- Complete personal information.
- Select primary location, role, and title. (If you are an EMPLOYEE of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, please select the location for which you are employed as the primary location.)
- Let us know if you are involved with more than one location.
- Select a Protecting God’s Children session from the list.
If you have trouble with VIRTUS registration, please contact Gina Garcia in the Office of Child and Youth Protection at 404-920-7552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I have already attended a VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session?
If you have already attended a live three (3) hour VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training session in another diocese within the last five (5) years, you will not be required to retake a live three (3) hour session in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Online VIRTUS training will not transfer to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
To transfer your VIRTUS account from another diocese, please contact VIRTUS at 888-847-8870 or by email at email@example.com.
We thank you for your commitment to keep our children, youth, and vulnerable individuals safe.