U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Release 2017 Annual Report on the Protection of Children and Young People
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2017 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The 2017 report for audit year July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, states that 654 adults came forward with 695 allegations. Compared to 2015 and 2016, the number of allegations has decreased significantly due to fewer bankruptcy proceedings and statute of limitations changes. Also, it notes that 1,702 victim/survivors received ongoing support. All dioceses and eparchies that received an allegation of sexual abuse during the 2017 audit year reported them to the appropriate civil authorities.
The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2017, over 2.5 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees, and volunteers. Over 2.5 million adults and 4.1 million children have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
Twenty-four new allegations came from minors. As of June 30, 2017, six were substantiated and the clergy were removed from ministry. These allegations came from three different dioceses. Four of the six allegations were against the same priest. Eight allegations were unsubstantiated as of June 30, 2017. Three were categorized as "unable to be proven" and investigations were still in process for five of the allegations as of June 30, 2017.
Regarding Charter Compliance, the report noted the following:
The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People continues to emphasize that the audit and the maintaining zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church's broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.
This is the fifteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, making a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.
The full Annual Report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2017-Report.pdf