St. John Berchmans Catholic Church is working closely with the Office of Victim Assistance and Safe Environment to create a safe environment for everyone, but especially for children. The Office of Victim Assistance and Safe Environment (OVASE) was created in 2003 to ensure that every parish, school, organization, and agency is safe for all children.
For any questions or inquiries, please contact Delia Traspena for more information.
The ARCHBISHOP’S LETTER FOR PROTECTION OF CHILDREN & YOUTH also provides some helpful introduction to OVASE.
In particular, OVASE:
- Offers immediate pastoral response and assistance to those who have been sexually abused by a clergy, an archdiocesan staff, or a volunteer.
- Will assess needs, explain procedures, and help reconnect the victim to the church through honest and direct communication, and trustworthy, ethical conduct.
- Provides educational opportunities for archdiocesan and parish leadership regarding the effects of abuse on victims and appropriate ministerial boundaries.
- Educates children and adults about preventing abuse, encouraging behaviors that keep children safe, and acting to protect children if abuse occurs.
- Trains and assists Safe Environment Coordinators in every parish, school, institution, and agency.
- Monitors criminal background checks for all clergy, employees, and designated volunteers.
Policies, documents, and other helpful links available on the OVASE Home Page.
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. The Archdiocese of San Antonio developed eparchial policies and procedures relating to the Charter. You are encouraged to read the following documents:
Parish Staff/Volunteer Training and Screening
Criminal Background Check (CBC)
- All staff/volunteers who minister to children and/or vulnerable populations must complete a CBC.
- Criminal Background Checks are good for three (3) years.
- Background check forms can be downloaded here: English Spanish
Sexual Misconduct Training
- All parish staff/volunteers over the age of 18 must view the Sexual Misconduct video and review the Policy on Sexual Misconduct. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- The Sexual Misconduct video must be viewed at least once.
- Volunteers are encouraged to review Policy on Sexual Misconduct regularly.
Safe Environment Training (LURES)
- All parish staff/volunteers who minister directly to children must receive LURES training.
- LURES training is good for three (3) years.