For nearly 20 years, the Diocese of Nashville has been taking strong steps to provide a safe environment for all children. Tennessee State Law requires that anyone who reasonably suspects that abuse is taking place to report it to civil authorities. Experts tell us that an awareness of child abuse and a willingness to respond to any reports that might come forward are two very good ways to prevent future abuse. The policies of the diocese have for many years and continue to fully support the state law. The bishop has further encouraged anyone who knows of, or suspects that abuse has taken place, to make the proper reports to the civil authorities, as well as the diocese if the potential abuser is an employee or volunteer of the diocese or one of its institutions. To assist in providing safe environments, we provide the following contacts to report suspected abuse, diocesan policies, an abuse detection and reporting educational presentation, abuse prevention resources, and information about the Diocesan Safe Environment Committee and Parish Safe Environment Coordinators. The diocesan policies are also available in Spanish for Spanish speaking employees and volunteers.
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Over the years we have used a number of educational programs to prepare Diocesan personnel and others to recognize signs of child abuse and to take steps to respond. The following presentation was used for the first time at the annual teacher in-service training in August 2004. It was created through collaboration between counselors from Catholic Social Services and Diocesan representatives working in conjunction with recognized experts in this area. It may be used as a guide in presentations by a counselor in educational sessions or by individuals as a tutorial on the recognition, reporting and prevention of abuse. It is being posted on the diocesan website and distributed as a CD to all parishes, schools, and institutions to be made widely available to anyone who wishes to learn more about the detection and response to child abuse.
Diocesan Safe Environment Committee and Parish Safe Environment Coordinators
The Diocesan Safe Environment Committee serves as a resource for parish Safe Environment Coordinators regarding various aspects of education programs and diocesan policies. For more information. see Diocesan Safe Environment Program under Documents in the right column.