As minors and vulnerable adults participate in activities within or sponsored by our diocese, it is our commitment to provide an environment which is safe and nurturing. Therefore, the mission of the Safe Environment Program is:

  • To provide required education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly involved with minors, and parents, as to the issue of abuse of children including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse.
  • To provide required training programs for children and young people in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. This includes age appropriate materials pertaining to personal safety and information about improper touching and relationships. Children are not expected to be fully knowledgeable about child abuse or of the laws governing care of children but they need to know when they should seek assistance from a trusted adult.
  • To thoroughly screen and evaluate the background of all diocesan employees – clergy, religious and laity – and those volunteers who work with children and young people.
  • To hold those who minister in the name of the Church of Venice – all diocesan employees (clergy, religious and laity) and those volunteers who work with children and young people – to Christ-centered and professional codes of conduct.

To report abuse, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at: 1-800-96-ABUSE.

To report abuse by Diocesan personnel or volunteers also call Susan Benton, Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, at 1-941-416-6114.

The Safe Environment Program consists of two core components that must be completed prior to beginning volunteering or working with the school. Safe Environment Training and Awareness and Fingerprinting/Background Checking which are arranged through the VIRTUS Online site.

Safe Environment Training

You will use VIRTUS Online to register for a 2-hour training offered continually around the diocese. Make sure to choose our school, Rhodora J. Donahue Academy, when prompted and not Ave Maria Parish.


You will use VIRTUS Online to register for fingerprinting. The cost is about $50 (usually results come back in 48 hours).

Get instructions on how to register and use the VIRTUS Online system here