In November 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the “Charter”) to assure a safer environment for children and young people and to express the responsibility of all to care for and reach out to the victims of sexual abuse and their families. In 2011, the Charter was revised to emphasis the deep commitment of the Bishops to creating a safe environment and preventing the sexual abuse of minors. Within the framework of the Charter, the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Program was developed.
We, the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, share responsibility for the life and mission of the Church. Each of us is called to celebrate, promote and when necessary to defend the life and dignity of every person. This responsibility requires that together and individually we treat everyone with respect, do what we can to see that harm is never brought to others, especially minors and vulnerable adults, and seek to bring healing for those who have been harmed. To help achieve this, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has taken the following steps:
• Appointed a Victims Assistance Coordinator to offer immediate assistance to victims.
• Adopted a Code of Conduct.
• Adopted and implemented age appropriate safe environment programs for the education of children, youth and adults.
• Established a policy requiring criminal background checks of all clergy and religious, those in formation for the priesthood or permanent diaconate, all church employees and volunteers who have regular contact with minors.
Ensuring a safe environment for children and young people is a continuous effort. The Archdiocese and St. Paul pledges to continue its efforts and work toward identifying areas where we can be more effective.