Diocese Safe Environment program adjusts to changing times

With the onset of the global pandemic, the Diocese of Venice Safe Environment training has transitioned online as of Sept. 1, 2020.

Donna Foti, Diocese of Venice Safe Environment Manager, said that the pandemic sped up a process to transition from in-person classes to online training. This training program is for all active employees and volunteers and clergy through Virtus Online.

“Online training provides flexibility and a streamlined process which allows users to complete the training and receive certification prior to starting their service within the Diocese,” Foti explained.

The training modules are available in English and Spanish and users are directed by their Parish/School/entity to register in Virtus as part of their onboarding process.

As part of the Safe Environment Program, the Diocese of Venice requires that all employees and those volunteers who work with children and/or vulnerable adults be fingerprinted and trained in Safe Environment. Retraining and recertification is required every five years.

The Diocese of Venice is committed to providing a comprehensive program in an effort to protect the most vulnerable from abuse.

The mission of the Safe Environment Program is to provide education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly working with minors, and parents, about the issue of abuse of children, including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse. In addition, the Safe Environment Program has a component which includes training sessions for children and young people in Catholic schools.

The Diocese annually undergoes a comprehensive audit by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to ensure that the Diocese of Venice is in compliance with current directives.

For further information about the Diocesan Safe Environment Program, please visit the www.dioceseofvenice.org/safeenvironment.

Report any abuse against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. To report abuse by Diocesan personnel or volunteers also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton, at 941-416-6114.