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Bishop Burbidge Affirms Commitment to Protection of Children & Young People

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, a time when the U.S. Catholic Church joins with other organizations to raise awareness about the seriousness of the issue.

Since the Church’s child sex abuse crisis of 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been forceful in implementing a series of policies and procedures for all dioceses, parishes and parish schools, through its adoption of the National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Nationally, more than 1.7 million clergy, educators, employees and volunteers have been trained in how to create safe environments and prevent child sexual abuse. The Church has equipped 5.7 million children with the skills to help protect themselves from abuse.  And the Church has conducted more than 1,500,000 background checks on volunteers and employees, 163,705 on educators, 51,000 on clerics and 4,955 candidates for ordination.

In the Diocese of Raleigh, in the last five years, more than 13,000 people have been trained in recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse. Each year, more than 20,000 safe environment resource packets are sent to parents with children enrolled in Catholic schools and parish faith formation programs. In 2009, 12,092 background checks were completed on Church personnel, including clergy, employees and lay volunteers.

In a letter to the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh noting the observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge extended his appreciation to priests, religious and laity “who serve our children and youth and exemplify our Diocesan commitment to providing a safe environment.” Bishop Burbidge asked Catholics in the Diocese to join him “in continuing to pray for those who have been harmed through abuse in the past as we safeguard our children and young people today.”