Safe Environment, VIRTUS Program®
At Rochester Catholic Schools we recognize that our children are our most precious resource so we take extraordinary measures to keep them safe!
The Diocese of Winona-Rochester has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that all of the schools, parishes and programs administered in the Diocese adhere to child protection policies. It is absolutely essential that those entrusted to our care are safe. Since 2002, over 30,000 thorough criminal background checks and screenings have been run on clergy, employees and volunteers that work with children in the Diocese. Each year, every priest and deacon, as well as thousands of lay employees and volunteers are trained through VIRTUS Safe Environment, a nationally recognized program aimed to educate adults how to recognize and prevent abuse.
Register for a VIRTUS Session:
You can register for a VIRTUS training by clicking here and signing up for a session that is convenient for you. Volunteers must successfully complete a criminal background check. This process will be explained to you at the VIRTUS training. Volunteers will not be permitted to work in the school without completing these requirements.
This ongoing program strengthens the stringent policies and procedures that the Diocese has had in place for more than a decade. Children in grades K‐12 receive Child Abuse Prevention programming in our Catholic schools and in our Parish Religious Education programs through the Circle of Grace curriculum. This national program teaches children to:
- define their physical Circle of Grace;
- maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual boundaries;
- recognize boundary violations when they are about to occur;
- take action when boundaries are threatened or violated.
Additional information on the Diocese Safe Environment programs and other resources can be found on the website at www.dow.org.
The Diocese of Winona will provide a prompt, appropriate and compassionate response to reporters of sexual abuse of a child by any diocesan agent (employees, volunteers, vendors, religious or clergy). Anyone wishing to make a report of an allegation of sexual abuse should call the Victim Assistance Coordinator at (507) 454-2270, Extension 255. A caller will be asked to provide his or her name and telephone number. Individuals are also encouraged to take their reports directly to civil authorities. The Diocese of Winona is committed to protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people in our schools, parishes and ministries. The diocesan policy is available on the diocesan web site at www.dow.org under the Safe Environment Program. If you have any questions about the Diocese of Winona's implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, please contact Mary Hamann, at (507) 858-1244, or firstname.lastname@example.org.