The Diocese of Victoria wishes to ensure that the dignity of all persons is respected within our parishes and schools. This encompasses its programs and facilities, those we serve, particularly the young and the vulnerable as well as those who serve; clergy, religious, employees and volunteers in general. The Diocese, furthermore, upholds the fundamental good of all that God has created yet it recognizes the reality that within our humanity there is always the possibility of misconduct towards others. These policies are meant to assist the Church in responding with charity and justice.
Greg Beattie serves as Responsible Ministry & Safe Environment Coordinator.
How Do I Report Suspected Abuse?
Any cleric, religious, employee or volunteer who has reason to believe that a child or vulnerable adult may be abused, neglected or is for any other reason in need of protection, must first report this to a child protection social worker. Please refer to The Child, Family and Community Service Act (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca) or the MCFD handbook: “Responding to Child Welfare Concern: Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report”.
Reports of suspected child abuse can be phoned in to: 1 800 663-9122
If a child is in immediate danger call police at 911.
If you are a child or youth call the Helpline for Children at 310-1234.
Report suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult to police or Victim Link BC: 250-310-1234.
Subject to the advice of the appropriate authorities, the person reporting suspected abuse should also report this information to the DRM, at 1-250-479-1331, extension 223. This confidential voice mailbox is checked regularly. An Incident Report Form must also be submitted. This form can be found here.
Toll Free Voicemail: 1-877-237-7233 (Messages checked daily)
Why do we need the RMSE Policy?
The Responsible Ministry and Safe Environment (RMSE) Policy is intended to keep everyone in the Diocese safe from misconduct.
Does the RMSE Policy apply to everyone in the Diocese?
The RMSE Policy applies to everyone working for or under the auspices of the Diocese of Victoria: clergy, religious, employees, and volunteers.
How are volunteers screened under the RMSE Policy?
Volunteers are screened according to the level of responsibility and risk associated with their position.
Who requires a Criminal Record Check?
All clergy, religious and employees must complete a police criminal record check as part of their screening process. Medium/High risk volunteers must be issued a Clearance Letter from the BC Ministry of Justice, Criminal Record Review Program (CRRP) as part of their screening process. Volunteers apply for their Clearance Letter online. Teachers are approved by CRRP through the Teacher Regulation Branch of the BC Ministry of Education.
Is a Criminal Record Check all that is needed for Screening?
A Criminal Record Check is only part of the overall screening process for clergy, religious, employees, and Medium/High Risk volunteers. The Diocese subscribes to an 8 step safety process that includes a structured screening process comprised of interviewing, checking references, orientation, training, and supervision.
Who must complete the Training in the Diocese?
I have been volunteering with my parish for 20 years and am trusted by my pastor and the people I serve. Why do I now have to get a criminal record check?
The Church is a trusting environment, and adults traditionally have not been carefully screened or monitored in its ministries. Now we have come to understand that screening is the first opportunity to prevent would-be abusers from having contact with the children and vulnerable persons we serve. Screening, which includes the criminal record check, lets applicants know that we take the safety of our parishioners seriously. And screening can only be effective if it is applied consistently, to everyone who serves in ministry, whether they are veterans or newcomers.
Why do two Qualified Adults have to be present? We have a hard enough time getting volunteers. Now we need even more.
Our goal as a Church is to spread the Good News. The best way to proclaim the Gospel is to live it. Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two. When we minister in pairs, we are living Jesus’ message. And interestingly enough, Jesus’ message protects all participants. When two Qualified Adults are present, the risk of abuse and the risk of an allegation are both drastically reduced. Having other adults present protects you from false allegations. God’s pastoral practice is good safe environment practice – for everyone!