September 1, 2006

Be Our Guest / Suzanne Yakimchick

What is the archdiocese doing to protect children from those who might harm them?

This question comes up whenever a report of abuse by someone who works for the Church is publicized. It is a good question, and one that has several answers.

Since 1995, the archdiocese has done criminal history background checks on all new employees.

Beginning in 2002, we began doing these important background checks on all current employees, as well as new employees, and on all volunteers who work with children and youth in any of our parishes, schools or agencies.

We use a professional firm with experience in this type of records search. In this way, we can take steps to prevent anyone from working with children who has a criminal history of any act that would be dangerous to children.

Since 1994, we have trained our employees and volunteers about our policy and procedures regarding child abuse and sexual misconduct. These materials are titled “To Be Safe and Secure,” and are found on our Web site,

Every person who works with children in any of our ministries, as an employee or volunteer, is required to sign a document that shows that they have read this material and agree to comply with it.

Beginning in 2004, we added a new requirement to this training, “Protecting God’s Children.” This training helps to raise awareness of the harmfulness of child sexual abuse and teach people how to prevent it.

The training is available on a periodic basis throughout the archdiocese and is required for all those who work with children. Anyone who wishes to attend this training may attend any of the sessions. The training schedule and registration materials are found at

All of these preventive activities are monitored by an outside auditing firm that verifies each of these and other elements of the “Charter for Protection of Children” adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been found to be in full compliance with all requirements in three successive annual audits.

As new technologies and processes become available to improve child safety, the archdiocese will work to improve what is done here to prevent child abuse.

Our children are a precious asset. We must all work together to protect them.

(Suzanne Yakimchick is the archdiocese’s chancellor and victim assistance coordinator. To report abuse by someone who works for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, contact Yakimchick at 800-382-9836, ext. 7325, or 317-236-7325.) †


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