The policy is a comprehensive mandate (detailed in the document: Policies & Procedures for the Protection of Miniors) to deal with sexual abuse of minors by clergy or diocesan personnel. The Diocesan Review Committee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester published this policy on May 30, 2002 and revised and reissued it on March 10, 2005.
It details action in all the following matters:
• Creating a safe environment for children and young people
• Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors
• Offering prompt and effective response to allegations
• Cooperating with civil authorities
• Disciplining offenders
• Providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem is effectively dealt with
Our goal is to protect all our children in all environments, so that parents will be completely confident in the participation of their children in their parish, school, or in any interaction with priests or others in the Catholic Church. This approach is based on taking decisive, consistent action in an open, transparent manner.
The policy outlines several preventative steps to this problem. The diocese has a mechanism to respond to accusations of sexual abuse and a Diocesan Review Committee, a majority of whom are lay persons and/or not in the employ of the diocese. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a national Office for Child and Youth Protection to assist dioceses. A National Review Board including has been established to research and monitor how the U.S. Church has responded to this problem.
The policy requires the diocese to report any cases of sexual abuse of a minor to the civil authorities and cooperate in the investigation. The diocese will cooperate with civil authorities about reporting when the person is no longer a minor. In every instance, the diocese will support the right of the person to make a report to civil authorities.