Protecting the Children
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in response to the reports of sexual abuse of children and young people by some priests and bishops. In June 2003, the diocese produced a manual entitled Establishing Bonds of Trust. This manual, with revisions, contains documents pertinent to the protection of children and youth including the Diocese of Bismarck Sexual Misconduct Policy and Code of Conduct. If you would like to view this document, please contact Dale Eberle, Chancellor, Diocese of Bismarck.
Developed around the USCCB's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese of Bismarck's Safe Environment Program is intended to make sure that our children and young people enrolled in Catholic schools or those who participate in church-related activities in our parishes are safe.
The Diocese of Bismarck has put together a Step-By-Step Guide as a resource for parishes and Catholic schools to use in implementing the safe environment program.
The Diocese of Bismarck is firmly committed to the health and protection of our children, young people and vulnerable adults. The pervasiveness of child abuse in society demands that we each take individual responsibility to acquaint ourselves on its cause and with the steps we can take toward its prevention.
Code of Conduct
The Catholic Church must be exemplary: clergy, staff, whether diocesan, parish or Catholic school and volunteers are held accountable for their behavior. To enable the highest level of accountability, there must be a clear and unambiguous definition of appropriate behavior. To this end, this Code of Conduct is defined for the Diocese of Bismarck and it provides a foundation for implementing effective and enforceable standards for all clergy, educators, employees and volunteers in regular contact with children and youth.
Although anyone can report suspected abuse or neglect of a child, North Dakota law requires certain individuals who work closely with children to report suspicions that a child may be abused or neglected. These individuals are known as "mandated reporters." Professionals having knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected, or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, must make a report of the circumstances.
Those professionals required to report are any:
- physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, medical examiner, coroner or any other medical professional
- mental health professional
- religious practitioner of the healing arts
- school teacher or administrator, school counselor
- addiction counselor
- social worker
- day care center or any other child care worker
- police or law enforcement officer
- member of the clergy
- any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected, or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, may report such circumstances