The Knights of Columbus

  • By admin
  • April 28, 2020
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The Knights of Columbus have made it their mission to protect all minors and vulnerable adults. They provide a model for other Catholic organizations.

Two child protection programs lead the market: Virtus and Praesidium. These two providers meet the demand of the largest portion of child-protection training for the United States Catholic Church. Praesidium was chosen as the partner for advancing a rigorous child-protection program by the Knights in 2015.

The Safe Environment Program, which was created in this partnership, takes a research-based and intentional approach to preventing instances of sexual abuse perpetrated against children or vulnerable persons. It encompasses sexual and all other kinds of abuse, as well as neglect. It is fluent in potential risk factors, in identifying and responding to them, in appropriate interventions, and in using a range of safeguard practices which ensure children are well protected in all settings.

Training begins with a review of specific procedural safeguards, which are already in place, and includes walk-throughs for proper child-adult interactions for reporting suspected and known abuse. With twenty years of a unique central role in the advance of child protection in the Church. The program also includes a safety concern hotline, guidebook for quick-reference, safe use of computers, the internet, and social media. There are background screenings for all volunteers.

The Knights ensure the information is broadly known and implemented. All Youth Program Service Personnel, as well as Grand Knights, Squire Service Personnel, State Youth Directors and Diocesan Coordinators, are required to participate in the training and to follow the procedures. To volunteer or lead any youth-related activity within the Knights, a person must complete training within 30 days—and be recertified every two years.

With established procedures and in-depth training to build on, the Knights go granular for implementation. Prior to youth events, the Director and Grand Knight holds a meeting with volunteers to review pertinent details of the event, to review the Safe Environment Program, and to discuss how it pertains to the activity at hand, thus ensuring all procedures and protocol are followed during each event.

Training begins with a review of specific procedural safeguards, which are already in place, and include walk-throughs for proper child-adult interactions for reporting suspected and known abuse. With twenty years of a unique central role in the advance of child protection in the Church. The program also includes a safety concern hotline, guidebook for quick-reference, safe use of computers, the internet, and social media. There are background screenings for all volunteers.


Mike Hoffman is the founder and editor of this “Seeds of Hope” column, which spotlights success stories from the United States Catholic Church as inspiration and practical ideas for everyone working to promote child safety and pastoral care for survivors of abuse and their families. To nominate a program or event to be featured, send information here. To submit an essay for this column, visit our submission page to find out how easy it is to publish with us.

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