In all of the varied ministries undertaken by the Augustinians, the paramount concern for each Friar is always the safety, well-being and protection of all children and vulnerable adults. Whether it is the classroom, parish, hospital, or any ministerial setting, each Augustinian is fully aware of the safety concerns necessary to perform his duties, and each knows the professional boundaries that must be maintained when ministering to children and adults.
Every Friar of the Province has been trained to understand the various facets of child sexual abuse prevention. Included in this training are the effects of sexual abuse on minors and vulnerable adults, the various types of sexual offenders, the ways in which to protect one from being accused, appropriate and inappropriate forms of touching, and how to report concerns about others who may be abusing children.
In addition, each Friar has participated in ongoing education which further informs and reminds him of the importance of appropriate contact with minors and adults. The Province educates each Friar regarding the prevalence, identification, and prevention of sexual abuse of minors, giving special attention to the topics that are of unique relevance to religious men.
Additionally, Friars working in dioceses in various parts of the country also participate in the local safe environment education programs and are aware of the policies and procedures of their dioceses. Background checks are maintained on each Friar in every arch/diocese where Friars are engaged in ministry.
The Province has established clear policies for ministerial conduct and each Friar is thoroughly acquainted with these procedures.
Ongoing education is a priority in the Province, and every opportunity is taken to remind Friars of their individual responsibilities to maintain safe and healthy environments in all of their ministerial settings.
The Province participates and submits to a thorough accreditation procedure by Praesidium, Inc. whose specialty is abuse risk management, and is fully accredited and maintains ongoing programs to ensure future accreditation.
The religious who are members of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova follow the Province's "Policies for Maintaining Ethical Ministry with Minors."
If you would like a copy of the policy document, write to the Victim Assistance Coordinator (P.O. Box 340, Villanova, PA 19085-0340) and we will send one to you.
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