Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]
July 17, 2023
By Edoardo Giribaldi
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection releases its annual report to highlight the “ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2022 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Courage and fortitude
In the document’s preface, USCCB President Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of Military Services described it as a “a milestone accounting of the continued efforts in the ministry of protection, healing, and accompaniment.”
Archbishop Broglio underlined how the drafting of the report was made possible “thanks to the courage and fortitude of our sisters and brothers who were harmed, abused, or molested by a trusted clergy member, and who made reports and shared their stories.”
The report covers the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, and is the twentieth since its first release in 2002, when the US Bishops introduced the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, “a comprehensive framework of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and establish protocols to protect children and young people.”
The document registered a total of 1,998 victim survivors, who came forward with 2,704 allegations. This data shows a decline compared to the 2021 report (399 fewer) and the 2020 report (1,548 fewer).
According to the document, this drop was caused mainly by “the resolution of allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies.”
Specifically, of all the allegations that were issued, 2,217 (which represent the 83% of the total) “were first brought to the attention of the diocesan/eparchial representative by an attorney.”
A total of 16 reports involved current minors, while “all other allegations were made by adults alleging events that occurred when they were minors.”
Safety and support
The document also highlighted the support provided by dioceses and eparchies to 254 victim survivors, and to their families as well, who reported during the audit period and to 1,589 victim survivors who reported in prior audit periods.
Finally, the report focused on “the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”
Specifically, a total of 2.14 million background checks were conducted by the Church on clergy, employees and volunteers in 2022. During the same year, “over 2.1 million adults and over 2.9 million children and youth were trained in how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.”