Safe Environment

What is the Safe Environment Program?

The Archdiocese of Seattle has a long commitment to the protection of children, youth and vulnerable adults. For years, we've taken steps to ensure the safety of those who serve and are served in our parishes, schools and agencies. Our program was established in the late 1980's, well ahead of the 2002 USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth, to ensure our safety commitments, while also offering assistance to those who are suffering in the aftermath of abuse.

What is Our Mission Statement?

The Safe Environment Program assists the Archbishop in coordinating child abuse prevention efforts throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle. The program support parishes, schools and agencies of the Archdiocese with all Safe Environment efforts, including background checks, training, and development and implementation of related policies.

How Do We Carry Out Our Mission?

The Safe Environment Program uses two programs to help keep children and vulnerable adults safe.  Virtus and Circle of Grace training are designed for specific age groups to provide understanding about abuse prevention.  Protecting God's Children for Adults ensures safe environments in our parishes, schools and Archdiocesan departments and agencies.  This free training increases awareness about the nature of child sexual abuse.  Participants register for an in-person or internet-based initial training session to learn the warning signs of abuse, strategies for handling suspected abuse and ways to respond to known abuse.  Protecting God's Children for Adults is offered to all adults working with children or vulnerable adults.  Circle of Grace was developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha and is a children's safety program which incorporates the core teachings of our Catholic faith: the belief and knowledge of God's Real Presence in our lives.  Awareness and incorporation of this knowledge can transform lives.  Children learn the importance and sacredness of relationships, how to protect the special person they are and how to be respectful of others.  Circle of Grace is offered to all children in grades K-12 in our Catholic schools and parish Faith Formation programs. 

Any content that addresses child sexual abuse and other types of abuse can be disturbing and challenging to experience for anyone, but especially for victim-survivors of child sexual abuse. If you are a victim-survivor with a desire to serve the Church in your community please contact Cathy Wiswell, Safe Environment Coordinator for the Archdiocese, to discuss what to expect and explore alternate training options.   

Virtus Online Logo

Visit VIRTUS Online



Parent and guardian resources

Report abuse: 1-800-446-7762 or

Reporting suspected abuse

Protect & Heal

Our commitment to transparency around abuse in the archdiocese.

Archdiocesan Review Board

Started in 1986, the Archdiocesan Review Board operates as an independent, confidential consultative body that advises the archbishop on issues related to sexual abuse of minors by clergy and assists him in assessing allegations and fitness for ministry.

Learn more

USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Learn more

Contact us

Safe Environment Program