Safe Environments Update – January 7, 2022

Each week the Office of Safe Environment will post a frequently asked question or tip on the topic of child safety, abuse prevention, VIRTUS training, mandatory reporting, criminal background checks, victim assistance, vulnerable adults and information from our Safe Environment Handbook. If you have a question related to any of these topics, you are not alone and others may benefit. Please send your questions or suggestions for a weekly topic to Erin Neil, L.C.S.W, Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinator or call (203) 650-3265.

Did you know…

Every U.S. State has a hotline for reporting abuse of a minor. If you call the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) Care-line here in CT 1-800-842-2288, they will provide you with the number to call in the State where the incident took place. There are many resources for reporting abuse online so to be sure you have the correct one, call DCF. The U.S.C.C.B. Office of Child and Youth Protection is a resource for Dioceses, including international contacts. Victim Assistance Coordinators in every US Diocese may be found here.

Additional Information:

The child abuse hotline in each state will ask for your name and contact information, the name and contact information of the perpetrator, the name, date of birth and contact information of the victim and his or her parents’ information. The more details you are able to provide, the more likely they can accept a report for further review however, this should not stop you from reporting what you know and this does not mean that you should investigate since this may interfere in a police investigation. You can start a report and if you receive more information then you should call in a new report. You may also ask a hotline operator to keep your information confidential. When contacting the police in a non-emergency, begin with the police department in the town where the incident occurred.

Several Catholic Dioceses outside of the US have a dedicated person in place to assist with an allegation of abuse which occurs internationally and they may be able to provide you with a contact in local law enforcement. If you don’t know what to do with an international report of child abuse, start with the local police department in the town where you received the information. The USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection is also a resource for Dioceses. Victim Assistance Coordinators in every US Diocese may be found here.

To Report abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult or an incident of child pornography in the Diocese of Bridgeport involving any person from the Church, call DCF 1-800-842-2288 and Erin Neil, L.C.S.W. (203) 650-3265 or Michael Tintrup L.C.S.W., (203) 241-0987. You may also contact a Third-Party reporting hotline at Phone (833)-990-0004 or fill out a written report of abuse or neglect here.