What to Expect

All VIRTUS trainings are trauma-informed, research-based and evidence informed. The goal of providing training is to help participants and organizations to become more aware, as to prevent wrongdoing and promote right actions. Participants should expect training environments that are collaborative, with opportunities for communication and the ability to provide feedback.

Live and online training for adults:

VIRTUS offers many types of safe environment programs for adult and children—please see the "What We Offer" section for details.

Our most widely utilized program, Protecting God's Children® Program, may be provided in live facilitator-led or online settings. The material addresses child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which abusers commit abuse, and five steps to prevent abuse from occurring and stop it from continuing. In live settings, participants interact with the facilitator to navigate through specific scenarios and the varying levels of appropriate action responses. Participation is encouraged!

A message for Victim-Survivors:

We work closely with a team of victim-survivors and victim assistance coordinators to evaluate and revise both the content and delivery of training. Throughout this partnership, victim-survivors have made it clear that both substantive content and a message of hope should be shared in the context of the training. While everyone's journey is different, there is always a hope for healing.

To be clear, any content that addresses child sexual abuse and other types of abuse can be disturbing and challenging to experience for anyone, but especially for victim-survivors of child sexual abuse. Victim-Survivors consistently communicate a wide range of reactions to the training. Most consistent is when victim-survivors tell us that they wish training such as this had been available to the adults around them in their own childhoods.

While VIRTUS has worked diligently in partnership with survivors to remove as many potential triggers as possible while retaining elements in the content necessary to inform and empower prevention and response efforts, a person who has experienced abuse may experience heightened reactions to the program's content. We encourage victim-survivors to carefully consider whether the facilitator-led live training or individual online settings and modules might be more or less triggering, and to reach out to the diocesan or local coordinator to discuss concerns and potentially explore other training options in advance. Victims-survivors have shared with us that viewing the training online, while alone, may be more challenging—whereas a one-on-one training with a diocesan representative or even being present with others may be more helpful. We at VIRTUS recognize that providing such options is important so that a personal choice can be made.

In any case, we encourage you to communicate concerns and make necessary arrangements in advance of the session. While the training is helpful and required, it should not be a source of additional harm to a victim-survivor, so care and collaboration should be taken to assist victim-survivors meet the requirement. Our goal is to create safer environments for everyone.

Whom to contact:

Individuals may decide who they are more comfortable contacting—whether that be their local contact, or a safe environment or victim assistance representative from the diocese. For example, each organization that offers VIRTUS training usually has a local contact person at the parish, office or school, who is responsible for communicating about the safe environment efforts at the local level.

Additionally, dioceses and archdioceses also have a Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator, who manages the overarching safe environment program for the entire organization and liaises with each local coordinator. Each diocese typically also has a Victim Assistance Coordinator, who may be able to provide resources or insight to victims-survivors. Please take courage in knowing that when you communicate a concern, the role of the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator in particular is to provide support.

Please contact your location or your diocese if you have any questions regarding the training. This information generally can be found on a diocesan website, or on the local parish/school/organization website.

Alternative training for survivors:

Each organization determines the type and scope of training that will be offered to participants. VIRTUS advises organizations that offer training to provide alternative training options for persons who might have difficulty with the subject content of Protecting God's Children. VIRTUS also provides training alternatives and suggestions for these organizations to select.






















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