Protecting God’s Children®
Child sexual abuse is a worldwide public health issue. Child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, is reprehensible—especially when the wrongdoer is affiliated with the Church. The VIRTUS® programs assist the Church in being a safe haven for children and a messenger for preventing child sexual abuse within the Church and society in general. We seek to achieve this lofty goal through our child sexual abuse prevention program: Protecting God’s Children®.
The Protecting God’s Children Program
Most organizations that work with children have some sort of child safety program. Through the Protecting God’s Children program, we maximize those efforts by helping churches and religious organizations refine their roles as child-safe environments and empowering caring adults to protect children.
Why Does It Work?
Child abusers seek to operate and abuse their power within nurturing, child-friendly environments where it is assumed that nobody would want to harm a child. Religious organizations of all faiths are an easy target. The Protecting God’s Children 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.
By utilizing best practices for training and loss prevention, the Protecting God’s Children program helps make churches safe for all people—especially children.
VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to help prevent wrongdoing and promote “rightdoing” within religious organizations. The VIRTUS programs empower organizations and people to better control risk and improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church.
Who created the VIRTUS programs?
The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. (National Catholic) created the programs. Monsignor Kevin McCoy, past board chairman of National Catholic, asked whether child sexual abuse could be prevented and, if so, how? In March of 1998, National Catholic invited prominent national experts—experts in many disciplines—to discuss these questions at a forum in Washington, D.C. From those discussions, the initiative for the VIRTUS programs was created. The National Catholic Board of Directors selected an Ad Hoc Committee to oversee development of the programs. The Ad Hoc Committee was assisted by a steering committee of nationally known experts and program and service providers.
Why did National Catholic select VIRTUS as the brand name for the programs?
The word virtus derives from Latin, and means valor, moral strength, excellence, and worth. In ancient times, virtus denoted a way of life and manner of behavior that always aspired to the highest, most positive attributes of people and aspects of human interaction.
VIRTUS Programs: Our Concept and Methodology
The VIRTUS programs are a platform that provide the foundation, and also, the superstructure, of all the risk control (loss prevention/loss control) initiatives undertaken by National Catholic on behalf of its shareholders and the Church.
The VIRTUS programs constantly and consistently employ several elements as the cornerstone of their methodology. These are (summarized):
- they target both institutional change, and also, individual behavior modification, with appropriate products/services.
- they provide both reactive/responsive and proactive tools, often assembled as “toolkits,” to address the exposure areas confronting our insureds.
- they employ multiple modalities (written materials, web training modules, audiotapes, videotapes, training manuals, seminars, etc.), to reach our audience.
- they utilize a “Think Tank” development model, including engagement of an Expert Consulting Team that assists with the development and implementation of our products/services.
- they are “constructed” and deployed in phases or components (Phase I of the VIRTUS programs deals with child sexual abuse and other inappropriate sexual behavior; we intend for Phase II to address violence prevention/mitigation; etc.).
- they exist as an ongoing process—phases are never “finished,” but rather are continuously refined and updated, and constantly available.
- all activities are designed to ensure a constant product/service “pipeline.”
- they seek and engage outstanding professional service providers for product development and training, whom we manage synergistically.
- they are committed to measurable results and continuous improvement.
- they adhere to a “best practices” standard.
Through the VIRTUS programs, we are committed and dedicated to the task of constantly providing National Catholic’s shareholders, and indeed the broader Church, with the absolute finest, most cost efficient, and effective risk control measures available anywhere.For more information please visit us at www.virtus.org.