Children and Youth Personal Safety Instruction
Catholic schools and parish faith formation, sacramental preparation and youth ministry programs throughout the archdiocese began teaching children and youth about personal safety and sexual abuse prevention in 2006.
The personal safety lessons teach children and youth basic skills that help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations either in person or online. Young people are taught to check with a trusted adult first, say no when confronted with an uncomfortable situation and are encouraged to share concerns with a trusted adult.
The lessons approved by the archdiocese are age-appropriate and respect parents’ role as their children’s primary educators.
OPCY reviews and approves vendors to ensure personal safety lesson materials used in the archdiocese are current, relevant, and supportive of Catholic teaching.
Parents, educators and others can find out more about key messages children and youth receive in each personal safety program by contacting the Safe Environment Coordinator at your parish or school.
The personal safety lessons teach sound safety messages within the context of faith formation programs in parishes and Catholic schools. You can see how Principles of Child Protection Catechesis align with Scripture and Catholic teaching.
Additional Resources for Parents and Guardians
The online resources linked below align with personal safety lessons taught in parishes and Catholic schools. Parents can utilize information in these resources to reinforce those safety messages at home.
Resources for parents page on NetSmartz.org: https://www.netsmartz.org/TrendsandTopics
NetSmartz offers a collection of Tip Sheets on several online safety topics for parents, teens and tweens at this page: http://www.netsmartz.org/TipSheets
VIRTUS Online provides a concise list of dos and don’ts for parents and other caring adults in their printable handout Practical Advice for Parents on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Practical Advice for Parents on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ParentHandbook.pdf
If a child discloses abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice’s website offers help and support for parents of children who have been sexually abused and victims of other sexual crimes: http://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/HelpSupport?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
The FTC (Fair Trade Commission of the federal government) offers information for parents about keeping kids safe online: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/protecting-kids-online
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center helps raise awareness about bullying and offers tools to combat it: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has developed several publications helpful to parents. See them here: http://www.missingkids.com/ourwork/publications
This document explains the close connection between the teaching of the Catholic Church and teaching the faithful how to prevent Child Sexual Abuse: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/resources/upload/magisterial-teachings-child-sexual-abuse.pdf
The DecisionData.org web site offers resources to parents about Internet safety: https://decisiondata.org/internet/staying-safe-single-parents/