The national sexual-abuse prevention program “Protecting God’s Children” was adopted by the Archdiocese of St. Louis in November 2002 and is provided at no cost to parishes, schools, and archdiocesan agencies. All archdiocesan employees and volunteers who work with children on a regular basis are mandated to attend a presentation of the program. Priests in the archdiocese also participate in the program, and pastors are encouraged to be present at sessions that are offered in their parishes.
Developed by National Catholic Services, “Protecting God’s Children” is a comprehensive two-and-one-half-hour program that includes two video presentations which incorporate stories from victims of sexual abuse and their families, who speak about the impact that the abuse has had on them. In addition, the videos feature testimony from perpetrators of child abuse, who tell how they selected their victims and how they made the victims feel that the abuse was their own fault. The program also provides information on how to prevent situations that can lead to abuse, on what behaviors should raise concern about abuse, and on how to report abuse.