ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, October 6, 2004 – The Diocese of Rockville Centre today announced plans to open a satellite branch of its Rockville Centre-based Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. Set to open October 8, 2004, the office will be located at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Southampton, N.Y. and will serve as a second base of operations for the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. All of the services available in Rockville Centre will be available at the Southampton office.
“This satellite office will increase our availability,” said Eileen Puglisi, director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. “It’s a struggle for some to come to Rockville Centre and so this office is more convenient to those in Eastern Suffolk and gives us additional flexibility in offering spiritual and pastoral services to those on Eastern Long Island.” It is also hoped the opening would spur victim survivors to come forward so the diocese can provide them pastoral and spiritual support.
“If a ministry to survivors is to be effective, it must be accessible. This office will give the People of God an additional point of contact when it comes to matters of abuse,” added Puglisi.
The special phone number to report abuse will remain the same: 516-594-9063. At the present time all phone calls will still continue to flow through the main office in Rockville Centre
(516-678-5800, ext. 573).
In addition to the opening of a satellite office, the Diocese of Rockville Centre recently announced the formation of a pastoral care team of priests and religious women to provide trained spiritual support to victim-survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. In August, a Safe Environment program called the “Talk 2 Us” Initiative was provided to all parishes, schools and religious education programs. This program encourages high school young people to take an active role in preventing abuse by becoming active, involved and informed members of their school.
The office oversees, among other things, criminal background investigations of all personnel and volunteers in the diocese, the “Protecting God’s Children” workshops to train all those working in the Church to recognize the warnings signs of potential problems and the writing and distribution of publications, including the diocesan Child Protection Policy manual detailing reporting procedures of allegations and ministering to survivors of abuse. The office recently organized a support group for those who survived abuse in the Church. Additional support groups are also under consideration for the North and South Forks of Long Island.
Diocesan efforts to assist survivors received a special commendation by auditors from the Gavin Group who found the Diocese of Rockville Centre to be in full compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People after the first on-site audit.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3 million). There are 134 parishes in 119 towns. Last year over 21,000 Baptisms, 18,000 Confirmations, 21,000 First Communions and 5,000 Marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,622 students in kindergarten, 26,738 in primary or elementary school, 11,979 in secondary school and 9,310 in higher institutions. There are 77 Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges/universities in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. These facilities served over 743,000 people last year. For more information visit www.drvc.org.
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625