For the Implementation of The Charter for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults
The communications plan for The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People reflects a commitment by the Diocese of St. Petersburg to provide information on how the charter has/will be implemented. This plan exhibits the diocese’s commitment to promote the charter and to deal as openly as possible with members of the West Central Florida community. This includes clergy, alleged victims and families, law enforcement, Catholic community and public at-large, and the media in cases of alleged sexual abuse by clergy or church personnel.
This plan provides information and direction for communications.
- Promote the existence of The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Policy of the Diocese of St. Petersburg For the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and guidelines through diocesan media, including our Catholic radio stations WBVM, 90.5 F.M. and WLMS, 88.3 F.M., The Florida Catholic Newspaper, the Official Diocesan Website www.dioceseofstpete.org and the Official Diocesan Pastoral Bulletin;
- Use the official Diocese of St. Petersburg website to provide instant access to charter/policy and Victim Assistance Minister;
- Use weekly Official Diocesan Pastoral Bulletins to 85 parishes and missions for current information and to direct pastors, parishioners and public to Official Diocesan Website for charter/policy information;
- Promote through secular media via news releases, interviews, and news conferences;
- Use diocesan media and secular media as avenues of reaching out to victims and to encourage those who have been abused to come forward;
- Meet with editorial staffs of newspapers and broadcast outlets to familiarize each with charter/policy information, how they are at work in the diocese and answer any questions;
- Provide spokesperson for media interviews/talk shows regarding this issue.
Notification of Allegations
- All communications regarding allegations of child abuse will follow the laws of the State of Florida while protecting the identity of the alleged victim and reflecting the confidential nature of the investigation;
- Care will be taken to insure that the rights of the alleged abuser are not violated.
- Notification to parishes, schools, priests, religious, lay employees, and volunteers will be made through statements/releases provided by the Communications Department, approved by the bishop or his representative;
- Every effort will be made to have the diocesan media “break” the story, allowing accurate and timely information to be communicated to our clergy, parishioners and communities.
- All media inquiries will be answered by the designated spokesperson, usually the Communications Director or the bishop’s representative. No other diocesan employee will respond to media inquiries without prior approval from the bishop;
- Every effort will be made to insure that all information is disseminated in a timely and appropriate manner to the secular press;
- Every effort will be made to respond to media inquiries with openness without jeopardizing aspects of the legal investigation/litigation or breaching elements of confidentiality for either alleged victim or abuser.