Therese is available to help you or anyone who has been sexually abused as a minor by someone representing the Catholic Church, whether the abuse was recent or occurred many years in the past. We encourage you to come forward and speak out. A report should first be made to the police or the Department for Children and Families.
- The best way to protect our children and our Church is for adults to learn red flag behaviors and to report concerns to ministry supervisors. All diocesan employees and all adult volunteers who work with youth are required to attend VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children training before beginning their work. We encourage you to sign up for a VIRTUS session, even if you are not required. Visit virtus.org, click on the “First-Time Registrant” button, and select “Wichita, KS (Diocese)” to view the schedule and register for a session.
Contact Kathy if you have VIRTUS / Safe Environment policy and procedure questions, need assistance with VIRTUS online, program materials or inquiries of someone completing VIRTUS.
If a child discloses abuse to you...
- Stay calm: It is important that you remain calm in front of the child no matter what emotions you are experiencing
- Listen carefully: Sit on the child's level and give full attention - don't ask specific details as this may overwhelm and confuse the child
- Believe what the child tells you: studies show that less than 5% of children lie about abuse.
- Reassure the child and explain that you will help to keep him/her safe: Tell the child he/she is brave for telling you and explain the abuse is not his/her fault. Explain that you will report the abuse to someone who will be able to help and that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe.
- Report abuse right away: Call 911 if the child is in immediate danger. Report all allegations and suspiciouns of abuse to the KS Dept. of Children & Families (DCF) at 1-800-922-5300. If a complaint of child sexual abuse by diocesan personnel (clergy member, religious, employee or diocesan volunteer) is made, first report to the police or DCF and then contact Therese Seiler, Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, at 316-269-3945
Who should I call if I suspect a child is being abused or neglected: