2013 Audit Finds Dioceses Spending More on Child Protection, Fewer Allegations Made

President of US Bishops Renews 3-Fold Pledge of Helping Victims, Educating, Holding Perpetrators Accountable

Washington, D.C., (Zenit.org) | 437 hits

U.S. dioceses and religious orders in 2013 increased what they spent on child protection by more than 50% over what they spent the year before, according to the 2013 report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). In 2013, dioceses and religious orders spent $41,721,675 for child protection efforts, an increase of more than $15 million over the previous year, when they spent $26,583,087.

The numbers were reported in the “2013 Survey of Allegations and Costs: A Summary Report for the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” The Georgetown University-based research organization has gathered information since 2004, as part of an annual report required by the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The full report can be found at 
www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2013-Annual-Report.pdf

The survey also found that in 2013 the total number of new allegations and victims decreased to its lowest level since CARA began collecting the data. The number of offenders decreased by 6%, and the number of allegations and victims decreased by 1%. 

Deacon Bernard Nojadera, director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, said one reason for increased costs on child protection was “the rechecks of background for a majority of diocesan personnel. This year, for instance, in many dioceses it was time for the every-five-year background check renewal. There was also an increase in the number of roles that required background checks.” He noted that “some dioceses realized that the system that was used 10 years ago is no longer adequate to the task at hand and bought more sophisticated programs to help keep track of training, background checks, risk management, payroll, etc.” He added that “it is encouraging to see dioceses putting the necessary resources into ensuring the safety of children in its parishes and schools.”

The survey reported that most instances of abuse of minors by clerics reported last year took place between 1970 and 1979. However, the report noted there were 10 instances of credible allegations against persons who currently are minors, nine against diocesan clerics and one against a member of a religious order. 

CARA also reported that the overall number of instances of abuse declined from the previous year. A total of 457 victims made 464 allegations against 352 offenders. Three-quarters of the alleged offenders identified in 2013 were deceased, had already been removed from ministry, or had already left the religious institute at the time the allegation was reported. 

All but one of the 195 U.S. dioceses/eparchies completed the CARA survey, with the Diocese of Lincoln continuing to decline participation.

The first part of the annual report provided results of an annual audit of dioceses conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners to ascertain compliance with the Charter. The Diocese of Lincoln and the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle for Chaldeans, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg for Armenians and the Eparchy of Stamford for Ukrainians refused to participate.

Auditors reported an increase in dioceses providing outreach and support to 340 new survivors and family members in addition to giving continued support to 1,843 past survivors and family members. 

In reporting on safe environment training, auditors found that 4,645,700 children were trained or 94.6 percent of those possible; 35,914 priests or 99.6 percent; 16,129 deacons or 99.7 percent; 6,360 candidates for ordination or 99.5 percent; 167, 953 educators or 99.5 percent; 251,146 other employees or 98.6 percent and 1.902,143 volunteers or 98 percent.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stressed the need for ongoing awareness.

“As we continue to create a climate of safety for all minors entrusted to the Church’s pastoral care, our three-fold pledge guides us: to help victims heal; to educate about and prevent abuse; and to hold accountable those who have harmed children,” he said. “They remain essential priorities for our Church.”