Safe Environment

Safe Environment

Department of Children and Family Services 24-Hour Child Abuse Reporting Hotline
If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.

St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese’ Safe Environment Hotline
+1 224-225-9121

Hotline to Report Abuse by a Bishop or 1-800-276-1562

Learn about Georgia’s MANDATORY Child Abuse Reporting Law- How?

As of July 1, 2012, Georgia law states that all employees, volunteers, and clergy are Mandatory Reporters and are required to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. All suspected child abuse must be immediately reported but in no case later than 24 hours from the time there is reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused. The report should be made immediately to the Supervisor of the Parish or School (Pastor or Principal) and the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

If the allegation of abuse involves a member of the clergy, employee, or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, please contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection during business hours or the Diocean 24 hour Abuse Reporting line at 1-224-225-9121.

In 2019, Pope Francis issued Vos Estis Lux Mundi, which contained a call for the church to establish a way for people to report abuse by bishops. The service set up in the United States is called the Catholic Bishop Abuse Service. There is a hotline number and website where people can report abuse.

This service has been created to gather and relay reports of sexual misconduct involving bishops of the United States, and reports of their intentional interference in a sexual abuse investigation. If you wish to report any other kind of misconduct by a bishop, please contact your local diocese or eparchy instead.

If you wish to report sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, religious brother or sister, or layperson working for the Church, please contact instead the Victim Assistance Coordinator in your local diocese or eparchy. If your report involves a crime committed by anyone connected with the Church, please also contact the police.

You can make a report online at or call (800) 276-1562.

St. John Paul 2 Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is committed to providing a safe environment for you and your family to worship and grow in your Catholic faith.  Our parish follows the archdiocesan safe environment policies and procedures in accordance with the U.S. Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  Safe Environment programs are in place to assist parents and children.

Safe Environment Record Requirements

Safe Environment for ADULT VOLUNTEERS   

All clergy and staff, as well as ADULT volunteers whose duties involve contact with minors and vulnerable adults, undergo a background check (Sterling) and attend a required safe environment training (VIRTUS).

Safe Environment for MINOR VOLUNTEERS  

Minor volunteers are defined as volunteers who are aged 13 – 17 or older than 17 if still enrolled in high school.  Minor volunteers are present to assist the adult supervisor, and not supervise a group of children.  All Volunteers must be at least five years older than the minors for which they are in contact.  Minor volunteers must always be under the supervision of two Safe Environment Compliant adults.

The following paperwork on this page must be completed and returned to DRE-CCD in the parish office.

  1.  Minor Volunteer Application
  2.  School Reference Form
  3.  If a minor is homeschooled, instead of the Minor School Reference form, s/he must provide three non-relative references, which are then to be checked by the Safe Environment Coordinator

VIRTUS Trainings

VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children (commonly referred to as “Virtus”) is the training program for adults and children in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.

– All clergy and staff, as well as any ADULT volunteers whose duties involve contact with minors and vulnerable adults, must attend a VIRTUS Training.

–  All adults are invited, and parents are strongly encouraged to attend.

Upcoming Virtus session

Location: TBD

*These sessions are open to ALL in the Parish.  No childcare is provided. 

VIRTUS for ADULTS VOLUNTEERS –  How to register to attend VIRTUS  ADULT Training

Create an account and pre-register instructions

A summarized version of the registration steps is listed below:

  1.  Go to
  2.  Click on Registration
  3.  Select Begin the Registration Process
  4.  Select Atlanta, GA (Archdiocese) from the drop-down menu
  5.  Create a User ID and password – Do not use a shared email address
  6.  Complete personal information
  7.  Select a primary location, role, and title (If you are an EMPLOYEE of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, please select your employer as the primary location)
  8.  Let us know if you are involved with more than one location
  9.  Select a Protecting God’s Children session from the list

USCCB mandates Churches, schools, and youth organizations must ensure that children and youth who worship, study, or participate in activities sponsored by a parish can do so in the safest and most secure setting possible. Parents and caretakers have the right to ask these institutions if they meet the requirements of the Charter before they allow their children to become involved with them.

An effective safe environment program will have the following components:

  • A code of conduct for clergy and for any other paid personnel and volunteers in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people.
  • Training for all adults who work with children that consists of:
    • Signs an adult may see in a child who is abused
    • Signs an adult may see in a person who abuses children
    • What actions an adult should take when they believe child abuse of any kind may be occurring
  • Background check for clergy and for any other paid personnel and volunteers in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people
  • A training program for children that includes age appropriate materials pertaining to personal safety that conforms to Catholic teachings
  • A Safe Environment awareness program for all church members

Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral implements Safe Environment program as mandated by USCCB & St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago Child Safety program. All parish members are required to follow & practice the Safe Environment program guidelines. Please refer to Your Role in Creating Safe Environments

All parish volunteers must complete the following requirements:

As part of Cathedral Safe Environment program, all CCD students will be provided Teaching Safety – Empowering God’s Children training. If you DO NOT WANT your children to receive Safe Environment instructions, please fill out the Training Decline Form For Parents and return it to the CCD office.
Safe Environment Training DECLINE Form

Contact the Diocese Safe Environment Team
For questions and concerns, please contact Syro Compliance Team at

Learn More …Safe Environment Program and GuidelinesYour Role in Creating Safe EnvironmentsKeeping the Promise AliveCode of ConductSocial Media PolicyAdditional Documents & Forms


All children participating in one of our faith formation programs are offered a child-appropriate presentation each year.  The Children’s “Teachings Guides” and “Empowering God’s Children” programs are listed at the bottom of this page for your review.

Links and Resources

■  Archdiocesan Priests with Credible Allegations of Child Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta
■  Guidance on Reporting Abuse

Creating a Safe Environment
■  USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
■  Archdiocese’s Safe Environment Main Page
■  Safe Environment Policies and Procedures
■  Office of Child and Youth Protection

Social Media
■  Archdiocese Social Media Policy

Teaching Guides
■  Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide English
■  Children’s Safe Environment “Cheat Sheet”