Safe Environments / VIRTUS

At St. Margaret Mary, all clergy, employees, lay ministers, volunteers and members of societies are required to be VIRTUS trained by the Diocese of Bridgeport.  They are also required to go through a background check. This ensure the safety of the minors of our parish and makes sure everyone complies with the Safe Environment Code of Conduct.

 

2015 Updates

The entire code of conduct was revised for the beginning of 2015. Please see the letter from Bishop Caggiano. Many people will now have to be re-certified or be trained for the first time to cooperate with the new rules, including background checks.  This must be done by April 1, 2015. Please read below for instructions on how this is to be done.

KEY CHANGES IN THE DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT SAFE ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM 2015

THE SAFE ENVIRONMENT HANDBOOK:

All of the policies related to Safe Environment programs in the Diocese of Bridgeport are included in the 2015 Safe Environment Handbook. This Handbook replaces the 2003 Sexual Misconduct policy and the 2004 Code of Conduct.  The Executive Summary which applies to your role must be signed and provided to each location where you work or volunteer and it must be re-signed when there is a change in role or a change in diocesan location. Carefully read the Safe Environment Handbook, paying particular attention to the sections that apply to your work and ministry, acknowledge your receipt and understanding of the Handbook by signing the attached form, and return the form as directed.
 

VIRTUS AWARENESS TRAINING & CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS:

NEW PERSONNEL: Prior to working or volunteering, all new personnel are required to register online with VIRTUS www.virtusonline.org and complete a live VIRTUS training session which lasts approximately three 3-hours. The Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) criminal background check and an electronic acknowledgement of the Safe Environment Handbook is included in the new registration process.
 
RENEWALS: Effective as of January 1, 2015, all members of the Clergy, Religious Sisters and Brothers, Lay Employees of the Diocese (Full-time, Part-Time and Per-Diem) age 18 and above and all volunteers who are working in scheduled contact with minors and vulnerable adults must, every five (5) years, undergo a criminal background check and must complete online VIRTUS re-certification on child abuse prevention. 
 
Volunteers and Independent Contractors who assist in adult-only ministries and have no supervisory responsibility or scheduled contact with minors or with vulnerable adults  must, every ten (10) years, undergo a criminal background check and complete online VIRTUS re-certification on child abuse prevention. Examples of the positions that fall into the (5) or (10) year re-certification requirement are available on the diocesan website.
 
The first step is to access your own VIRTUS account by visiting www.virtusonline.org. Each diocesan location has a local Safe Environment Coordinator who will assist you with accessing your USER ID and your PASSWORD. It is very important that you do not create multiple VIRTUS accounts. If you attended a VIRTUS training in the past, you should have an account.  You may contact the Diocesan Safe Environment database manager, Michael DiToro at 203-416-1407 mditoro@diobpt.org or you may contact the VIRTUS helpdesk at 1-888-847-8870 for assistance. If you do not own a computer or if you do not have access to the Internet, you may attend another live VIRTUS class and return your completed MYB background check authorization form to the Diocese of Bridgeport Office of Safe Environment. 
 

ANNUAL CONTINUING EDUCATION:

All diocesan clergy, lay personnel and volunteers who work with minors are required to participate in annual awareness programs concerning Safe Environment issues.  Beginning in 2016, online opportunities will be made available to meet the requirements for ongoing education on protecting children in subject areas of technology safety, mandated reporting and additional subject areas that expand on the VIRTUS program.
 
For questions related to the Safe Environment program or to report suspected abuse of a minor involving a person from the Church, please contact Erin Neil, LCSW Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinator (203) 650-3265 or email eneil@diobpt.org or Michael Tintrup LCSW (203) 241-0987.
 
 
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